No matter where you are in the divorce process, anxiety is unavoidable. You know the feeling all too well. Stress and fear of the unknown. The loss of control of the life we thought we knew.
It’s normal to panic, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through your days worried that you’re doing something wrong in your divorce, or that you’re going to screw something up.
Here’s the thing that cripples us during divorce. When we’re going through a new and unfamiliar experience, we think that for some reason we won’t be good at it and that we’ll completely fail at it.
The same irrational thinking is applicable to the divorce process. Most of the time, we’re panicking because we have no idea what the heck is going to happen from one day to the next.
“Will I have enough money to retire?”
“Oh god. What if this divorce drags out? Am I going to be broke?”
“I haven’t worked outside the home for years. Where on earth will I even start?”
“Am I ever going to get over this anger I have?”
“Will I ever find love again?”
We don’t know the answers to these questions or the myriad others invading our thoughts at all hours of the day, and those unanswered questions make us anxious.
Anxiety preys on our insecurities, and for some reason, we have been conditioned to think that the unknown is always something completely horrible – which is more than irrational.
We fear the unknown, without fully grasping that it may hold a ton of amazing things for us. Our anxiety paralyzes us. It has hijacked our unknown future, and has put dibs on it, saying, “Oh, because you are unsure of what will happen, that means it must automatically be something horrible.”
And you know what, Anxiety? That’s just BS. Just because we don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future doesn’t mean we’re going to be held hostage anymore, lying awake at night, worried sick about what the future has in store for us.
We’re going to do thing differently. You already have all the tools you need to kick your anxiety to the curb. And with the exercise below, you’ll learn how to do just that.
This exercise is really easy and a lot of fun. Chances are, you have been through other stressful situations in your life. And I know for a fact that you were able to get through those situations, plan them out, and navigate with grace.
You can do the same thing with your divorce anxiety in a few easy steps.
Here are 4 steps you can take to deal with divorce anxiety.
Take a few minutes and think about some of the past stressful situations in your life. What is common about them? Why did they stress you out?
Write down how you dealt with those situations. What did you do, exactly? What fears did you have that you were able to work through? What steps did you take?
For example: I was laid off unexpectedly last year. I totally didn’t see it coming, and I wasn’t prepared to look for another job. After initially freaking out, I knew that I had to get busy and that I didn’t have time to sit and be upset.
I updated my resume and subscribed to job alerts on several job sites. I started attending as many career fairs as I could find. I started reaching out to former colleagues to see if they knew of any openings.
I also applied for unemployment compensation and re-tooled my budget because I knew things would be tight until I found new work.
After you are finished examining a few past stressful events in your life, list the things in your divorce that are causing you anxiety. Be honest and thorough. You’ll find that getting it all off your chest will make you feel better.
Finally, consider how you can apply some of the things that you did in other stressful situations of your life to your current divorce anxiety. The connections are there, and they are strong.
Example: I am anxious about the divorce because I don’t know what to do. But I remember feeling that way when I was laid off.
Plan for resolution: Much like when I was laid off, the only way to change the way I feel now is to take action. I feel anxious because I am unsure, but I won’t feel unsure if I start to plan. My plan is to research and list everything I can do during the divorce, and then take action.
If I am worried about money, I will look at my budget, and if necessary, I will research possible income sources or speak with a financial advisor. If I need help trying to figure this all out, I will reach out for further guidance.
Repeat this step with all the things that are giving you anxiety and stress, and you’ll start to realize that there is so much you can control. This is your life. You own it. And the anxiety that holds you hostage is something you can kick to the curb.
What do you worry about when it comes to divorce at 50, 60, and beyond? What positive steps have you taken to overcome divorce anxiety? Please share what has worked for you.
Tags Divorce After 60