Going through a divorce is an emotional, stressful process that many people struggle to manage. A divorce can affect your mental health, your relationship with your friends and family, and even your work performance.

Being proactive about addressing how stress will affect you during your divorce can help you minimize the secondary effects of divorce. Once you determine how significant your stress levels are, you can then take steps to engage in self-care and protect yourself.

Try to minimize the amount of stress you experience

Keeping conflict to a minimum is one way to help keep your stress levels low. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your ex, that document could mean that you will be able to file for a smooth and straightforward uncontested divorce.

If you don’t already have an agreement with your ex and things have become hostile, trying to minimize communication with them in the early days can reduce the impact of their feelings on your emotional state.

Find a healthy outlet for the feelings you experience

For many people, divorce is like a death that will require a complex emotional process for healing. Many people experience anger, denial, depression and a host of other intense emotions as they grieve their marriage and begin moving on with their life.

Creative outlets are often helpful for those going through a tumultuous time. Keeping a journal, buying some adult coloring books or taking a pottery class are all examples of ways that you could use art to manage your stress. Other people may find that exercise or taking time to get out in nature, such as a quiet hike in the desert, can do a lot to soothe them during a stressful time.

Consider counseling or even a support group

If you have intense feelings that you can’t seem to get under control, talking with someone can be beneficial. Since you can’t discuss things in depth with your children or your ex, finding a safe, neutral space to vent can be healthy. Going to see a counselor or joining a divorce support group can mean that you have both privacy and a safe space to process your feelings.

Finally, having the right help, such as an attorney who advocates for you, can make divorce less stressful, as your lawyer can manage communicating with your ex and negotiating for the best terms so that you can focus on moving on with your life.