Follow the simple steps below to learn how to stay healthy during and after divorce.
You will need a lawyer when you’re going through a divorce, but you may need to call a doctor as well. The end of your marriage can be incredibly stressful, which can affect both your mental and physical health.
Divorce can wreak havoc on a person psychologically and physically. This increases the risk for mobility issues such as trouble walking short distances or climbing stairs, and chronic conditions including heart disease, cancer and diabetes for both men and women, according to a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Each individual experiences divorce differently. You might feel overwhelmed by emotional and financial issues, or you might find yourself thriving and enjoying life more.
Regardless of your situation, the end of a marriage is a challenging transition. Take some time to work on personal growth and well-being by finding ways to keep strong and healthy.
Protecting your physical health during divorce
- Schedule screenings – The stress of a divorce can affect your immune system and make you more vulnerable to many serious health conditions. Be proactive, discuss the situation with your doctor and follow their recommendations for preventive care and recommended screenings.
- Keep a journal – Divorce often disrupts your daily routines, everything changes. Old habits return, or we develop new ones depending on how we handle stress. A journal can help you track your activities and develop constructive patterns to guide you in your new life.
- Watch your weight – Intense emotions and feeling stressed may stimulate your appetite, or make it disappear. Follow a balanced diet based on nutritious whole foods including plenty of vegetables and fruits, and limit your consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates. You need to eat properly to keep your energy levels up and your hormone levels balanced.
- Exercise regularly – Working out is a great way to release tension and burn calories, and you may even make some new friends while you’re hanging out at the gym or yoga studio. You do not need to pump iron or run a marathon, something as simple as walking your dog around your neighborhood is beneficial as well.
- Sleep well – Negotiating custody and support arrangements is incredibly stressful and can trigger insomnia. In addition to sticking to a regular bedtime, create a dark and quiet environment that will help you to fall asleep. Do not check your phone or laptop in bed, put all electronics away at least an hour before bedtime.
- Manage stress – Take time for yourself to rest and relax. Do breathing exercises or get a massage. Make sure you talk with your doctor if you find yourself engaged in self-soothing behaviors that may backfire, such as excessive drinking, sleeping pills, smoking, or consuming gallons of ice cream.
Protecting Your Mental Health During A Divorce
- Accept your feelings – Your thoughts and emotions may feel uncomfortable. The first step in healing is letting go of judgements, validating your experience, and accepting the feelings associated with them.
- Think positive – Try to look on the bright side and find reasons to laugh. You’ll make life more joyful and less stressful for you and your children, if you’re a parent.
- Seek support – When a couple splits up, friends sometimes choose sides or drift away. Surround yourself with loved ones who care about you and give you constructive feedback. Join a divorce support group in your neighborhood or online if you want to talk with others dealing with similar issues.
- Meditation and prayer – Your spiritual faith can provide your with comfort and strength. Attend worship services, read inspiring books, and practice mediation to release stress and anxiety.
- Find a hobby – Finding a hobby creates an opportunity for you to develop new interests and interaction with others to help fight loneliness and move on with your new life. Pick something that sparks joy in your heart, something that excites you!
- Create a budget – Lost income and additional expenses can cause a lot of pressure and stress. Consult a financial advisor or browse online for free budgeting websites such as Intuit Mint.
- Consider counseling – Studies suggest that symptoms of depression and anxiety are usually temporary following a divorce, about two years on average. However, any relationship troubles and stressful situations could aggravate preexisting conditions. Help is available. Talk with a life coach to learn ways to cope with the grief and pain, or a therapist if you’re concerned about your state of mind.
Even if you’re at peace with the end of your marriage, a divorce can have a long-term impact on your mental and physical health. Take extra care to safeguard your wellbeing so you can make the next stage in your life happy, healthy, and satisfying!