When your spouse asks for a divorce, you instantly feel stressed. This isn’t what you planned on for 2019. It’s not what you thought you’d have to deal with, and it feels like a lot.

First and foremost, you’re not alone. Divorce can be stressful. Any life changes can be stressful. The key is not to avoid this stress, but to understand how to deal with it. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Understand that an emotional reaction is fine and even expected. You don’t have to feel the same way your spouse does about this. You don’t have to process these changes as quickly as they do.
  • Talk to people you can trust. Maybe it’s a sibling, a parent or a close friend. Do not try to do it all alone. Sometimes, just talking about things — even when there’s no “solution” — can make it easier to have a healthy perspective.
  • Take a break. Take some time to yourself. Focus on engaging in some relaxing activities that you enjoy.
  • Try not to argue with your spouse. Getting in fights and arguments only increases your stress. Take a more hands-off approach where you focus on yourself.
  • Don’t forget about your physical health. Get outside. Go for a jog. Ride your bike. Eat healthy meals. Do not get so sidetracked by the divorce that you neglect what your body needs and you make the stress worse.

Once you have a handle on your own stress, you can think clearly about what kinds of things you want to seek in your divorce and the steps you will need to take to protect your interests.