Divorce, like all major life changes, is stressful. It has the ability to turn your world upside down, alter your routine, your normalcy, sometimes your sanity, and even your health. The ill effects of stress on your physical and mental wellbeing are well documented. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your mind and body healthy during this time of transition.
Attitude Is Everything
Attitude plays a critical role in tempering your stress. People who focus only on negative information to the exclusion of more positive information will perceive more stress, and therefore, suffer more serious consequences to their mental and physical health. That’s why it’s important to keep a balanced perspective on the events surrounding your divorce. Keep your eye on the big picture and long-term goal; don’t get stuck in the minutia of your divorce.
The feeling of being alone and isolated can be devastating. This is not the time to try and go it alone or “be strong.” Support from family, friends, and mental health professionals is crucial. Acknowledge you need help and accept the help that is offered.
A sympathetic ear can make all the difference when you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or angry and a professional can provide great assistance to you as you navigate the confusing waters of divorce.
The benefit of goal setting during a time of crisis can never be overstated. When you set goals for yourself you are creating a road map to follow. Goals force you to set priorities, therefore helping you limit your involvement in unnecessary, and often unhealthy, distractions. If setting a goal seems overwhelming, start small and work your way toward more long-term goals.
Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise decreases overall levels of tension, elevates and stabilizes mood, improves sleep, and improves self-esteem. Walk. Run. Skip. Jump. Play bocce ball. Do anything that requires your body to move, and commit to doing it for at least five minutes a day.
Despite how rotten you may feel, there are simple pleasures you can indulge in that will make you feel immediately better. Read a good book, take a long nap, step into a hot bath, develop a new hobby, go out with friends. Consider meditation or prayer. Clearing your mind has been proven to relieve stress and improve health.
Let it Go
All the could of, should of, would ofs keep you from moving forward. Accept the things you cannot change, and move on. Easier said than done? Then take it one day at a time—when you find yourself rehashing things over and over, gently remind yourself that you need to change focus and think of something positive. Forgive yourself and your spouse and don’t allow the issues from this marriage to follow you into new relationships.
Life in transition can be very stressful, but if you take time to care for yourself, emotional balance is possible!
Robin Perrigo-Mermans is the President and CEO of Road to Resolution Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Law. Her mission is to save people time, money, and unnecessary emotional turmoil, by providing individuals with the tools and the information they need to control the divorce process versus having the process control them.