by Brie Reyes
There are few things in life more damaging than divorce. It’s financially draining, emotionally traumatic and can cause serious health effects. According to a 2009 study, recently separated or divorced adults have higher resting blood pressure and are more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, cancer or other chronic conditions. Last year, a German study found “divorce led to considerable weight gain over time, especially in men.”
Here are some ways you can mitigate the effects of divorce on your mental and physical health.
The quote “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.” by unknown is something I must remind myself daily. Self-care isn’t easy particularly during a troubling time but it’s an absolute necessity. Self-care can be a yoga class, an Epsom salt bath, dancing and movement, meditating in silence, or anything that helps you feel good and love yourself. It’s totally different for everyone, for example my sister loves a mani-pedi and I prefer an hour in a sensory deprivation float tank. Remember it’s about YOU and what makes YOU feel good.
Surround Yourself with Living Things
Plants and pets are good for our nervous system, calm us down and create a mini sanctuary for ourselves. Also having to take care of something else remind you to take care of yourself.
Notice the Noise
We have become such a busy, noisy world we don’t comprehend its impact on our adrenals and health. Silence is virtually extinct. We fall asleep to white noise (real or artificial) and wake up to alarm clocks. It follows us throughout our days. Even when we try to escape in nature, we hear people talking way to loud on their phones, listening to music and children screaming. Create space for yourself without noise, screens or music to just be with your thoughts. Let yourself fully relax and notice if anything comes up for you.
You Don’t Owe Anyone Your Life
Not your boss, your kids or your family. Revive hobbies and passions that made you feel most alive when you were younger. Travel the world, take a photography lesson, write a blog or learn to underwater basket weave. We are less prone to resentment, more recharged and a better parent when you prioritize yourself and your needs.
Talk to Someone
I’m a huge fan of therapy. I’ve learned so much about myself, how I internalize things and new coping skills for stress and anxiety, but I realize it’s not for everyone. Find someone or something (plant or pet) that you can vent to that isn’t your family or best friend. You want a neutral sounding board that will help you deal with the stress and won’t hold a grudge or judge you or the situation.
The most important thing to remember is your life matters as much as anyone.