COVID-19 During a Divorce: How to Manage the Stress
Stress, Social Distancing, and Divorce Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
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No matter how well navigated, divorce places stress on all aspects of one’s life. Financially, tensions are high as each spouse determines how to make ends meet on their own and reorganize their income and expenses to support their new path. Mentally, the stress of having to hash out logistics involved in the divorce proceedings with an ex-partner – even if tensions don’t run high – can feel like a weight on the shoulders that is hard to bear. Emotionally, handling the grief of the death of a relationship, no matter how correct the move is, is a process that requires time and loving attention. And physically, all of those other stressors make their mark as insomnia kicks in, fatigue and irritability are the new normal, and coping mechanisms have their effect.
So what happens when, on top of all of this stress and weight, a pandemic sweeps the world, putting a freeze on life as we knew it and perhaps even trapping us in close quarters with the one from whom we are ready to distance ourselves? The effects of COVID-19 have, so far, meant a drastic shift in lives and perspectives. Hopefully, this time would inspire simple gratitude for the health and presence of your loved ones, even your ex-spouse. But the fear, stress, boredom, confusion, and personal upheaval that happen at this time only add insult to the injury of a divorce proceeding, especially when it is largely placed on pause.
How to Take Care of Yourself Mid-Divorce During COVID-19
Whether you are in the separation stages or deep into the divorce proceedings; whether you are parents of children or not; whether you live together or live separately, it is essential that you take extra time during the playing out of the pandemic to practice self-care and process your thoughts and feelings.
Self-care is essential at this time. It is not selfish to use this extra time at home to slow down and treat yourself to self-care rituals that make your body, mind, and spirit feel nourished. Especially as you transition to post-marriage life, recommitting to your health, your healing and your dreams is essential and a solid base from which you can move forward in your life. Consider practices such as meditation and yoga, which provide the inner space for you to process some of the difficult emotions and thoughts surrounding your divorce, as well as the fear and uncertainty that the pandemic brings up.
Communicate with Children and Ex
Be clear with your children (in an age-appropriate way) of what is happening, both in terms of the pandemic and in terms of the divorce. Remember that they are highly sensitive to energetic impressions that they feel without things necessarily be said, so acknowledge the fear and keep a positive tone of hope and appreciation for family at the center of every conversation, while remaining forthright.
If you are living under the same roof as your ex, keep the lines of communication open and amiable while respecting each other’s need for ample space. Consider yourselves partners in the strictest sense of the word at this time, responsible for doing your part to make the operation function efficiently and without stress. Remember you are humans first, and safe and healthy humans at that. If you are not under the same room, continue open communication regarding the to-dos of the divorce, keeping the momentum going behind the scenes if not in court.
If you have children and are living under the same roof as your ex, create a parenting time schedule that will be for on- and off-duty times of the day. Work together to create a schedule that meets the needs of the children and your need for quality time with them and your own space.
Stay In Touch with your Lawyer
Just because you are not able to physically meet does not mean that the process has to be frozen. Continue to be in contact with your lawyer and, as possible, scheduled joint meetings with your ex and their lawyer to keep the process moving forward.
Reach out to a therapist that can offer phone or video sessions to ensure that your psychological and emotional process is given oxygen. Even thirty minutes a week can provide a helpful perspective and insight for your journey, as well as nourish your commitment to your own mental health.
Take advantage of the quarantine time
Use this time to begin orienting and acting toward dreams that you wanted to do post-divorce. Consider yourself ready to begin the next phase of your life and within a germination phase in which you can envision and feel yourself there; then use the extra time and space from external obligations to begin to strategically make moves toward meeting those goals and making your dreams come true.
Seasoned Custody Attorney protecting the rights of you and your children
At Peter J. Bronzino, our divorce attorneys are committed to serving our clients across Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey in all matters of divorce and custody arrangement.