This week is women’s health week. We are not like a lot of other law firms that just file motions and meet for 10 minutes before court. We try to guide our clients down a road in which their best interests are at heart by providing them with not only legal advice, but with resources and referrals to help them along the way. With a whopping 50 percent of American marriages ending in divorce, there are a lot of women suffering through this immense change. And while divorce can be devastating both physically and emotionally, a revolutionary 2019 study says the physical consequences generally last longer.
Like death, loss of employment, or relocation, a divorce is a major upheaval in a person’s life. It is finality that a person may or may not be ready for but is forced to deal with regardless. Stress on the body and mind during the divorce process is inevitable. Therefore, how a person manages his or her stress is crucial to weathering the process with a positive outlook towards the future. Below are valuable tips for staying healthy and mindful during the divorce process.
Don’t fall into an isolated rut.
Going through a divorce can make you feel lonely, and you may even feel like you’re losing friendships since your partner’s friends may be taking their side. Focus on reaching out to your closest friends so you have a support group. They’ll let you vent, help you with your kids, and may even distract you from your problems. It’s also a good idea to talk to other women who have been through a divorce and re-created a good life. Or seek help and healing from a local support group. This will give you hope — and, my goodness, hope is essential and healthy.
Take care of your needs.
When you’re in the midst of a divorce, it’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself. If you’re a mom, your kids need you be at your best so you can take care of them too. Make sure to eat healthy and get enough sleep. You don’t want to become sick or even more irritated. We all know that being tired and hungry always make a bad mood worse!
Hire a reliable and trustworthy babysitter and go do something that lifts your spirits and clears your mind. Take a walk, hit the gym, go for a mani or pedi — whatever it is that makes you feel like you again. You should also provide more structure in your life. Set up a daily plan so your life doesn’t feel so overwhelming. And remember to pencil in some fun! We all feel better when we have something to look forward to.
Try to see the lighter side of the situation.
It’s important to allow yourself some time to feel badly, but you don’t want sadness to be your default emotion. If you’re a “Debbie Downer” all of the time, your friends and co-workers may actually start to avoid you. Attempt to find humor in life. Sure, this may be hard but think of the best comediennes; they take some of life’s worst problems and put a funny spin on them. Keep in mind that things will get better with the passage of time. Once you get through the initial stages of the divorce you might actually find comfort in being free from your marriage.
Whether you already workout on a consistent basis or deem yourself to be a “coach potato”, moving your body releases endorphins and serotonin. As Julie Warren writes in her article published on PT LIVESTRONG.com, “Endorphin effects include decreased stress, euphoric feelings often referred to as a post-exercise high, decreased appetite and improved immune response. Serotonin is a natural mood enhancer. When levels of serotonin are increased, symptoms of depression can be decreased.”
People often associate comfort with food. When going through an uncomfortable life event such as a divorce, it is easy to abuse food, whether that is by overconsumption or starvation. Be good to yourself during this process – eat whole foods and avoid processed junk. Schedule meals with family and friends and do not eat in front of the television, ipad or iphone. Drink lots of water. Dehydration will undoubtedly result in lack of energy, lack of concentration and overconsumption of food. Indulge in alcohol on limited occasions.
Humans are creatures of habit. A divorce rocks your routine. Don’t become paralyzed, instead take control. If finances are causing you stress, hire a financial planner. Often times banks offer this service dependent on the type of client status. If you are moving from your current residence and are overwhelmed with the process of organizing your personal property, tackle only one room each weekend, enlist a friend to help pack, or if financially viable, hire an organizational company to help you objectively sort through and organize what will be moving with you to your new home.
Tune in to Your Children
So many clients spend thousands of dollars fighting their spouse that they become consumed by the fight and forget to feed the relationship with their child(ren) during the divorce process. Quality or quantity—repeat it over and over to yourself. It means nothing if your daughter is with you for eight hours and she spends the duration of time watching television while you are texting on your phone. Put away the devices. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from the most precious people you and your spouse have created. You can never recreate the time you have missed with your kids. Your divorce is not their problem.
Say No to New Romantic Relationships
Most people crave human companionship, especially when they are feeling lonely or disappointed, but taking a girlfriend or boyfriend during your divorce process is not the answer. You are already dealing with the many changes associated with the dissolution of your marriage, why add another log to the fire? You are only complicating things for yourself emotionally and potentially financially as well. Acknowledge the relationship that is presently ending. Take time to reflect on your marriage and after your divorce is final, approach the dating world cautiously and for the right reasons.
You must laugh at yourself….at least once a day. Usually the divorce process is serious, sad and downright painful for the average person. That’s why it’s important to create experiences for yourself that lighten your mood. Build a snowman with your kids, ride go carts, see a comedy show, paint your fireplace pink, watch a really funny movie. And remember, this too shall pass. I promise.