If you’re in the midst of divorce, you understand the emotional toll it can take on you. Depression, anxiety, and feelings of failure or shame are common experiences after a marriage ends. Even if you’re ultimately relieved to finalize the divorce, it’s not uncommon to experience grief or heartbreak over the loss.

It’s important to address any mental health struggles as soon as possible, making it a priority to protect your well-being just as you would any physical ailments. This step could even protect you during the legal divorce process itself.

Here are three reasons you should put mental health maintenance at the top of your priorities list:

  1. Decision-making: you’ll be more present to make decisions during your divorce that could affect you over the long term. Emotional disruptions can impact our ability to make rational, informed decisions, and you might have difficulty standing up for and asserting yourself, or even having the capacity to make certain important decisions.
  2. Divorce outcomes: emotional struggles can disrupt your life and make it extremely difficult to function day to day, and it can interfere with your job, other relationships, and physical health. For example, if you’re engaged in a custody battle, and a judge observes that you’re unable to keep yourself healthily functioning when circumstances get challenging, it could potentially affect the custody decision. Issues like substance abuse can also become a factor.
  3. Moving on: the harder you’re hit by issues like depression and anxiety, the more difficult it can be to move on from the pain of your divorce and build a new life for yourself. It’s important to make space for the tough emotions, but they can begin to disrupt your daily life significantly if you aren’t receiving any help managing them. This can draw out the post-divorce adjustment period and make it more difficult to regain your sense of self.

If you find yourself struggling with mental health issues during or after a divorce, it’s important to acknowledge them and seek help for them. The best approach, however, is preventative: build a strong network of friends and family to support you, find a therapist to work through your challenges, and learn healthy self-care and coping strategies to make sure you’re living a lifestyle that’s conducive to healing.0