How to Get Through a Divorce: Use These Self-Care Tips


Getting through divorce takes intentional effort, time, and patience.

I mean, let’s be honest, it’s exhausting. We’re dealing with lawyers, co-parenting, figuring out finances, and learning how to be alone again. We’re bombarded with fluctuating emotions — anger, remorse, sadness, despair.

It’s challenging to figure out our next steps when we’re still struggling to get through the nights.

We know we can’t stay here. We want to get ourselves back to good — but how?

In the beginning, I was my worst enemy.

My mind kept replaying what I could’ve done better. I took his blame and isolated myself — I didn’t want anyone to know. Daily tasks felt impossible.

I went through the motions, but I was broken inside.

After twenty-two years of marriage, I thought we could’ve gotten through anything. But when trust is shattered and basic respect is gone, it’s hard to make it work. And when it’s no longer healthy to stay, there’s not much choice.

It’s funny, though. Even if we can’t see it at the moment, life is usually leading us exactly where we need to be.

Once my initial shock wore down, I knew I couldn’t stay stuck in pain. My kids needed me to be strong — they were hurting too. I had no idea where to begin, but I knew if I wanted a change, I needed to do something different.

So, I started reading. A lot.

I wanted to understand my role in the breakdown. I’d invested everything into our family and marriage. Was there something I could’ve done differently?

I needed answers.

I began learning more about narcissism and the need for power and control, which brought much awareness. I started to understand perhaps the blame wasn’t all mine to carry.

There’s nothing more sobering than the truth before our eyes.

I continued learning. I wanted guidance from those who’d come out stronger on the other side.

Some people seem to stay resentful and bitter after their divorce. I knew with certainty I didn’t want that. I also understood I needed to find forgiveness — both for myself and for him.

Forgiving him was not excusing his behavior but allowing me to have peace. Forgiving myself was letting go of shame and his blame. It wasn’t easy, but I put in the work. I understood it was a necessary part of moving forward.

Carole Pertofsky, MEd, explains, “Shame is often secret, buried deep and leads us to feel very isolated and separate from others.”

It’s well worth putting in the time and effort to heal. To find closure. Resentments take over our lives if we let them.

Now that I’m on the other side, I see my divorce was a true blessing in an incredibly well-designed disguise.

Hindsight offers much clarity.

We all have our own methods of navigating difficult times. In the beginning, it’s simply about getting through the day.

But there are clear patterns to successfully move through a divorce.

The part I want to focus on is self-care. As cliché as it sounds, it’s important to incorporate daily, especially now.

I understand how busy life gets. And you’re probably not going to feel like doing it. Nurturing ourselves is the last thing on our minds when our world is falling apart.

But committing to even a bit of time will build up your strength, resilience, and confidence.

When we keep our promises to ourselves, we feel good. When we feel good, we want to do more. When we do more, we’re able to give to others. And giving to others makes us feel even better.

Self-care has a compound effect — it’s the first step in getting yourself back to good.

Getting through divorce — finding your balance

Self-care looks a little different for all of us.

There’s no right or wrong, but there’s an art to finding a balance.

Too much Netflix, compared to a few shows, can make or break how we feel about ourselves. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes, we need a binge day.

But if it’s happening on a daily basis, it’s probably not helping.

Likewise, if our normal eating pattern is mostly healthy foods and we’re eating nothing but takeout, it weighs on us. Too much of anything isn’t a great thing.

We feel good about ourselves when we live up to our standards.

There’s nothing wrong with Netflix or takeout; in fact, sometimes, it’s the perfect solution. It’s not about perfection but doing the best we can each day.

Our bodies tend to show us what we need. If you’re run down, don’t fight it; rest and recuperate. The same goes when you’re feeling restless; take action and move.

Find your healthy balance; it’s how we stay grounded.

Creating movement

My consistent go-to has been yoga throughout the years.

It’s self-care that makes me feel good. Though, when everything got hard, I let it go, little by little. It felt like too much effort. But it was the one thing I should’ve held on to as it grounds me every time.

We often don’t feel like exercising when we’re down, but it’s when we need it most.

To get back into yoga, I committed myself to a 30-day challenge. At first, it was only 10 minutes each morning — I had no motivation. But I knew I needed to take some type of action to create momentum.

So for the first few days, I simply went through the motions. But by the third day, I was feeling much better. And by the end of the week, I was all in.

When we keep commitments to ourselves, we build self-esteem.

When we move our bodies, our energy changes. Our feel-good endorphins kick in. We have a goal and purpose bringing us toward something better. Feelings of hope and possibilities emerge from seemingly nowhere.

It wasn’t specifically yoga that made the difference. It was the decision to commit and take action.

Just a small amount of time each day creates momentum — this can change everything.

Choose movement that appeals to you.

What brings you a sense of joy? Walking, hiking, biking, swimming, weightlifting, running?

Challenge yourself to commit at least 10 minutes each morning — it’s well worth your time and effort.

Nourishing your body

Right now, food is likely the last thing on your mind.

Or, depending on how you handle stress, it might be the only thing that brings comfort. We all process emotions differently.

But especially right now, it matters how you nourish your body. When we’re under prolonged stress, our adrenal glands produce more cortisol. Cortisol contributes to inflammation, which can create health issues.

Our bodies are natural healers, but we need to do our part. Finding ways to manage/reduce stress and nourishing your body matters.

You’ll want to focus on whole foods as much as possible.

Spending time in the kitchen and creating meals may be therapeutic if you like to cook. The kitchen has always been a source of joy for me. But I took it one day at a time — each day was different. Sometimes it was a peanut butter sandwich and a smoothie.

On days that were especially hard, Uber Eats was my go-to.

Have healthy options on hand. Think easy, simple, and doable. Fresh juice and a bowl of oatmeal. Sandwiches, soups, salads, fruits, hummus.

Strive for the best you can for each meal.

Food fills us in many ways, and sometimes a big bowl of mac and cheese is just what we need. But try adding some healthy nutrients each day.

I also challenged myself to 30 days of having a smoothie and salad at some point every day.

Though there isn’t an absolute time frame for habit building, thirty days seems to work well for me. We’re all different, and it’s worth tracking your habits as you’ll gain insight into what works best for you.

For breakfast, I typically made a green smoothie. Sometimes they were peanut butter and chocolate. For lunch or dinner, I’d either have a stand-alone large salad or include a smaller one with my meal.

Even when I had a bad eating day, this ensured my body was still getting some nutrients.

It’s worth noting our body craves more of what we’re eating. When we eat junk, our body wants more. Likewise, when we eat healthier foods, our bodies want more.

I made many not-so-great choices, but overall I kept coming back to my center.

So, if you need to take a late-night trip to Taco Bell, then by all means, do. It’s not about perfection; it’s about doing the best you can each day.

Write it down

When we’re going through a divorce, we tend to overthink and overprocess thoughts.

It’s easy to get stuck in a nonstop loop.

Lean on family, friends, coaches, and/or therapists — an extra bit of support helps us in many ways.

It also helps to get our thoughts down on paper — out of our minds. You might naturally be inclined to journal; if so, keep at it. It’s a wonderful tool for processing pain.

It allows us to see positive and negative patterns. It’s also an incredible tool to look back on and see how much we’ve grown.

If you’re not someone who journals, now is the perfect time to start. Consider it a note to yourself for the day. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few minutes. A recap of the day and what’s on your mind.

When we write down our thoughts, our problems tend to look different. It also releases heavy burdens from our minds. Keeping it bottled up inside isn’t good for us.

I also committed to a 30-day challenge with journaling. I’m still amazed at how much it helped me work through my divorce.

The evidence of how much I belittled and shamed myself was right before my eyes.

In our marriage, I’d become an expert at minimalizing and rationalizing his behavior. I thought if I could just do a little better — try a little harder, everything might be okay.

But it’s hard to ignore the reality of harsh words on paper.

Journaling is powerful and life-changing in the best of ways.

I was able to work through denial, anger, and find forgiveness through my written words.

Back to good

Divorce is exhausting and painful.

We want clarity about our future — answers from the past. But it’s a process. Time has a way of revealing our truth and healing our pain. Yet, we must do the work, and taking care of ourselves is essential.

Read books, lean on family and friends, and be easy on yourself. Find your healthy balance to get through the divorce.

Implement self-care — this is how to move forward in a healthy way.

Create movement, nourish your body with healthy foods, and make sure to write your thoughts down each day. It’s the starting point for your healing journey and new beginning.

And remember, it’s never about being perfect, do the best you can today.

Bonus point good-for-you practices

  • Sleep enough each night to help regulate hormones
  • Hydrate with fresh water each day
  • Get a massage; touch is a powerful healer.
  • Incorporate calming and energizing deep breathing techniques. Here are a few of my favorites.
  • Listen to audiobooks or read daily — anything that appeals to you
  • Read inspirational words each day
  • Watch comedies — laughter is contagious
  • Keep everything simple and easy right now

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