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Three Considerations For Women Early In Divorce

Written by: Mardi Winder-Adams, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Despite what many people assume, divorce rates in the United States are decreasing. According to the American Community Survey data published by the Census Bureau, the US divorce rate was at a 50-year low in 2019, sitting at 14.9 divorces per every 1000 marriages. The flip side of this coin is a trend towards fewer marriages, which means more people choose to remain single or enter into relationships without a formal marriage.

Another surprising fact is that 2020 (AKA the year of COVID-19 lockdowns and work-from-home) did not result in a dramatic increase in the divorce rate, at least not in 2021. However, the long-term impact is yet to be fully understood, as people may simply be waiting for the world to "normalize" before proceeding with a divorce.


While these trends are interesting, the individuals going through divorce still deal with a wide range of different types of pressures, expectations, and stressors. The Holmes-Rahe Scale, also known as The Stress Test, lists divorce as the second most stressful event in life, with the death of a spouse being the most stressful life event.


Professional women, including executives, leaders, and entrepreneurs, face challenges in their personal and professional lives when going through a divorce. The higher the levels of conflict, disagreement, and stress in the separation and divorce, the greater the challenges. Failing to recognize how the personal side of divorce impacts your professional life can have significant short and long-term effects.


Not Prioritizing Self-Care


Self-care is not indulgent and selfish. It is also not bubble baths and scented candles. Self-care is prioritizing your nutrition, exercise, and sleep habits to optimize your health and to manage the stress of the process.


A few key factors of self-care that are often overlooked during divorce include:

  • Healthy eating – it can be easy to fall into the trap of stress eating, emotional eating, or simply grabbing foods that are fast, convenient, and perhaps even comforting. Maintaining a healthy diet helps to have the energy needed to deal with increased stress and potential increasing demands on your time.

  • Sleep routines – 7 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended. Unfortunately, most people are sleep deprived, and getting a few extra hours in over the weekend does not make up for missing hours of sleep throughout the week.

  • Exercise – routine exercise is essential to maintain your energy levels, mental focus and to reduce stress levels. Exercise doesn't have to be at the gym; it can be playing with kids, walking at lunch, taking an online fitness class, or just dancing around the living room and having fun.


Having a self-care focus during stressful events in life increases resilience, reduces the risk of stress-related health issues, and assists in having the ability to continue to be effective in your personal and professional life.


Not Working with the Right Professionals


A common mistake is trying to manage too much on your own and assuming that business experience and expertise translates into dealing with highly emotional and deeply personal issues such as divorce. Divorce should not be a do-it-yourself process, and relying on friends and family is not always the ideal solution.


For professional women, working with a divorce coach, financial planner, accountant, and attorney provides a robust team to protect your best interests. The divorce lawyer represents your interests in the legal arena. The accountant and financial planner help with long and short-term money issues. The divorce coach supports you throughout the divorce. This includes support with problem-solving, decision making, and the practical problems that come up in your professional and personal life.


Addressing Divorce at Work


One of the big questions for women in leadership roles is the issue of how much to share with team members, colleagues, and others. A frequent error is to share too much information, which creates the potential for personal and private information to move into the public domain. This can include sharing information at work, online, or through social interactions. Assuming colleagues and friends will hold your personal information in confidence is always a concern.


The opposite is to keep the stress in your personal life completely separate from your professional life. Unfortunately, this is another problem, as there will be changes in all aspects of your life going through the divorce process. Your colleagues, team, clients, and others will notice these differences.


Divorce is never an easy process. As a woman in a leadership role, those in your professional circles will closely monitor how you handle the divorce. Ensuring you have the right professionals on your team to provide the support, information, and advice you need is the best way to move through this life transition with confidence, clarity, and a clear vision of the future to come.


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Mardi Winder-Adams, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Mardi Winder-Adams, M.Ed, is a Divorce Transition Coach, Credentialed Distinguished Mediator, and BCC and ACC Executive and Leadership Coach. Mardi has provided thousands of hours of divorce coaching, leadership and executive coaching, mediation, and coparenting facilitation and education. Her focus is on helping individuals achieve their personal and professional goals at a challenging time in life. She has worked with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals struggling with the challenges of divorce. Mardi specializes in working with women executives, entrepreneurs, and those in management positions.

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