Divorce is never an easy process to navigate, and there are certainly many emotions that come along with it. With the world in such a tenuous state, it can take a toll on the mental health of many fathers and prove to be a difficult time to remain positive. This is why self-care is so important, especially for men, who particularly struggle with putting themselves first.
Following is our self-care guide, featuring several tips to help divorced fathers feel their best, now and always:
Avoid Societal Stigmas
The first mental step after divorce is putting yourself in the right headspace and sorting out your emotions. An unfortunate stigma of society is that men should always be strong, masculine, grounded individuals and should never portray their feelings to the outside world. Unfortunately, this isn’t always feasible, and it is a cultural mentality you should avoid falling victim to as a divorced father.
Instead, you should put effort into channeling those emotions, being vulnerable, raw, and in touch with how you feel. This means being open to discussions and the transparency that comes with having conversations with those close to you. Therapists are a wonderful solution; but if you’re hesitant to explore this route, look to close family, friends, or similarly-situated people, and lean on them for support as you work through the process.
Nurture Your Relationship with Your Children
As a single dad, undoubtedly, the most important relationship you have is with your children. No matter their age, it’s important to hold them close to you and constantly work to further develop your interactions with them. Spending time together will go a long way in repairing those feelings of love, and reinforcing the bond that makes you feel worthy and proud to be a father.
This means getting to know them, making time to see them, inquiring about their lives and emotions, and providing them with unmatched love and attention. Father/child relationships are truly a unique dynamic, one that can ultimately turn you and your children into stronger people, especially after a divorce.
Focus on a Healthy Lifestyle
A huge portion of self-care that can easily be overlooked is the health and lifestyle choices you make. Studies have shown that physical and mental health are directly correlated, so being intelligent in the way you care for your physical wellbeing can ultimately impact how you feel and think. As it comes to self-care, this means starting with altering your diet and cutting back on unhealthy snacks. It can be easy for many fathers to attach to junk food to cope, but fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins are actually a much better alternative.
Another great self-care idea pertaining to health is returning to your exercise routine. Working out as a father can get your body back into the shape it deserves , while helping to take your mind off things. The key to exercise is finding the time to make it to the gym, and pinpointing a routine that works for you. Whether it be weight-lifting, cardio, or playing basketball, getting up and getting active can improve not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.
Prepare Yourself for a New Romance
Depending on your emotional state, and the rollout of your divorce, it might be in your best interest to start looking for something new. Dating after divorce is never easy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to better yourself in preparation for a fresh opportunity. A great place to begin is by taking care of your appearance.
Start with keeping up with your barber and having a hairstyle you’re proud of. Most initial sparks in new relationships start with physical chemistry, so think about how you want to look from a hairstyle perspective. The same goes for facial hair and skin health. Many dads pride themselves on their beards and mustaches, but consider how you may want to tame it going forward with potential new partners. If you want to reinvent yourself and shave it all off, look into electric shavers to clean it up. Or, if you’re simply looking to trim it up and shape to perfection, quality cartridge razors are probably the better solution. Finally, end your physical self-care regimen with a focus on perfecting your skincare routine. Finding time each day to remember to wash and moisturize your pores can be tough, but can be super rewarding and help maintain a youthful appearance.
Self-care during and after divorce can be tough, but it has the potential to make any father stronger. It truly comes down to prioritizing yourself, your wants, your needs, and your children. As the saying goes, 'what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,' so be sure to channel that love toward others and yourself—and to remaining positive.