Going through the divorce process can put stress on multiple areas in a man’s life – but you wouldn’t always assume your work life would be affected, too. After all, keeping the personal and the professional separate is what we’ve always been told to do. But if the divorce is one that looks to drag out for a long time, then it’s understandable that stress can bleed over into one’s work life as well. Unfortunately, being mentally preoccupied and emotionally exhausted can have a detrimental effect on your professional tasks. Here are a few ways you can deal with divorce stress while working at the same time.
To Discuss or Not to Discuss
The first thing to determine is whether or not you wish to tell your colleagues or your boss about your divorce. The idea behind this is not to use it as an excuse to wave off any strange behavior or lack of focus, but rather to seek understanding and flexibility as you go through the process. Many managers and coworkers can be supportive and sympathetic, and some workplaces even offer free counseling services.
Depending on your comfort level and need for privacy, you might not want to mention it to anyone in your workplace, and that’s acceptable as well. You can’t assume that anything you say to anyone at work will remain a secret – keep in mind that anything you say to a coworker will likely be shared with others. If it’s looking like the courts may be involved with your divorce, you may want to consider keeping information to yourself, lest it be used against you in legal filings.
Keep Things Stable
Another good practice is to maintain stability in your working life. With so much upheaval happening when you’re off the clock, you’re going to want to have a place of normalcy and routine that you can come to, in order to take your mind off the divorce. Also, the feeling of productivity and accomplishment can help if you’re feeling down on yourself in the wake of the separation.
You might not initially consider how your divorce might affect your attention span at work, but it can cause a lack of focus, which can potentially have a long-term impact. Instead, know when to step away and give yourself a moment of composure in order to refocus on the task at hand. Having a regular routine to follow in the workplace — or simply setting an agenda every day and sticking to it — can help as well.
Give Yourself Time
It’s not healthy to simply bottle up all your emotions surrounding your divorce and move on as if nothing is happening; rather, you need to allow yourself to go through the entire spectrum of feelings you might be having about the end of your marriage.
So, although it’s smart to focus on your job, you don’t need to put yourself in a place of denial as soon as you step into the workplace. Instead, allow yourself to take a mental break whenever you need one. As mentioned earlier, see if your workplace offers free counseling, or if you have the option to work from home or take a “health day.” Know that what you’re going through isn’t unusual, and that you shouldn’t feel ashamed to be upset about your divorce, even if you’re at work. If the stress becomes unbearable to the point where it’s interfering with your job, that’s when you ought to step back and look for your support options. Battling divorce stress might be a struggle, but it can be beaten, and you don’t have to go it alone if you don’t want to.
Have you ever dealt with personal stress interfering with your work? What were some of your coping methods? Let us know in the comments.