Whatever your situation, divorce is never easy. Your clients are likely to be experiencing a range of emotions during this time, from anger, to guilt and regret.
So, as professionals, it’s crucial that we support clients through this time.
Our colleague, Mike, works closely with many clients going through a separation. Here are five tips that could help your clients to navigate this difficult period.
Over to you, Mike!
Divorce can leave a client struggling with all aspects of their life
I recently spoke with a new client who is part way through a particularly contentious divorce. As he unburdened himself, he shared how he had lost contact with his children, family, friends, and is struggling with work and general life as a result. In short, he was in crisis.
Divorce is never easy, even if both parties have the best of intentions, a deep reservoir of patience, and a fantastic support network. During this period of change, clients must relearn how to live without their former spouse or partner.
Understandably, divorce can affect people in different ways.
It is typical for clients to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, at a time when they are being asked to make decisions that are likely to have ramifications on their life for many years to come.
In order to navigate this as professionals supporting our clients, it is crucial we are mindful of an individual’s emotional and physical health during this period of upheaval. Here are five tips that you can share with your clients that may help – and this is by no means an exhaustive list.
1. Allow yourself to feel and express a range of emotions
If you are feeling exhausted, angry, sad, or confused, this is perfectly normal. You are experiencing a bereavement and allowing yourself to grieve is a crucial step in the process.
Change is never easy. It’s OK to allow yourself to feel these emotions, and this can help you process what is happening and make decisions with a clearer mind.
2. Don’t keep things bottled up
It is perfectly fine to open up about what you are feeling. Appreciate your support network, reach out to friends or family, explore joining a support group or approach your local GP for counselling services.
Think about how you can make new connections to help you move forward.
3. Be mindful of your behavioural health
If you have persistent thoughts of irritability, hopelessness, guilt, sleepless nights, or a general loss of interest in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed, consider reaching out to talking therapies through your GP surgery, or other support groups.
This is not a burden to carry, it’s an injury to heal. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call Samaritans on 116 123. The world is a much more interesting place with you in it.
4. Consider who you are as an individual
Divorce can make you feel as if you’ve lost your identity. Remember you have other important roles in life besides husband or wife (mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, friend, colleague, mentor, gym spotter, etc.).
Invest your time in hobbies, activities or skill building. Seek a way of expressing yourself creatively. It all helps.
5. Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have
Your physical health is intrinsically linked to your mental health. Physical activity can boost your confidence, and improve your brain chemistry, helping to alleviate feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Pay attention to your diet and look at eating healthily. We are learning more every day about how your gut health can improve your mental health, increase your energy and, hopefully, put you in a better frame of mind.
Alcohol and other substances are rarely a good answer. Never be afraid to reach out for help if you find yourself down a rabbit hole.
Making informed decisions during divorce is better than making rushed ones
As a society, we are making tremendous strides in removing the stigma around poor mental health. During the divorce process, it’s important to remember that you clients don’t have to make rushed decisions – they have to make informed ones, with a clear head.
I usually suggest a dog walk to think through any major decisions, but your clients will know what works for them!
If you have clients going through a divorce that would benefit from specialist financial advice from Resolution-accredited experts, we can help.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0118 987 6655.