Tips For Dealing with the Stress of a Divorce
It is highly unlikely anyone would find going through a divorce to be relatively stress-free. In fact, going through a divorce is usually extremely stressful, often resulting in sleepless nights, weight loss, emotional outbursts, feeling of abandonment, and a sense of loss, particularly loss of self-esteem. While there is no magic pill or potion one can take to eliminate stress, there are a number of ways to combat the stress and often take stress down to a reasonable level. Here are ten suggestions that may help you:
- Try to work your marital issues out in mediation and create a marital agreement which will result in less time (family courts are backed up for months) and money (less attorney fees) to end a difficult situation. Additionally, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you and your spouse decided your own outcome and post-divorce future rather than allowing a judge to make life-altering decisions for you.
- Keep busy: Continue doing the job and extracurricular activities you have been doing but keep away from situations you and your spouse shared. You usually don’t need to change jobs but often finding new activities to enjoy helps.
- Make new friends: All too often, former friends take sides, and you can find yourself feeling abandoned and alone. There are lots of new people to meet. The pandemic has made finding new friends more difficult, but groups are beginning to meet again. Think about your interests and hobbies, and go online to research groups meeting in your area.
- Have fun: related to the above thought to make new friends is the idea of having fun. You can have fun with adults or children or both together. A trip to the zoo, a home-movie night complete with popcorn, a weekend mini-vacation, a walk on the beach are just a few ideas. You will have many more.
- Listen to calming music: Music is a great way to soothe stress. However, try to stay away from music with sad or angry lyrics, as those words can actually make stress worse.
- Exercise inside and out: Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress. You can do regulated exercises inside or, better yet, go outside and enjoy nature as well as exercise. Walking or running are stress reducers as well as provide many health benefits.
- Water: Water has the ability to reduce stress by the fact it is soothing on the skin and the motion is calming. Swimming is known to reduce stress. However, sometimes swimming isn’t possible (in winter, for example), so a hot bath or shower will still work wonders.
- Prayer, meditation, deep breathing: Any or all of these techniques reduce stress. Take some time each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and think of the good things in your life and the people who love you. Spiritual insights can be a significant help in reducing stress.
- Think positive: There is so much about a divorce that brings out negative and hurtful thoughts. When you can, think good thoughts and find the good in each day and each person you meet. Try to remember you choose if your cup is half full or half empty.
- Be good to yourself: Treat yourself with love and respect. Find ways to pamper yourself with little extras such as a special meal, a new piece of clothing, renting a special movie you’ve wanted to watch, or trying a new hairdo. Money can be an issue, but there are many ways to pamper yourself for little money, such as a thrift store or discount market.
Each person will have ideas that will work best for them in getting a handle on stress. The most important thing is to recognize stress will be part of a divorce and then make a conscious effort to combat it. Hopefully, you have family and friends who will help, but even alone, you can try most of the above suggestions. And, if you are alone and can have a pet, the presence of a loving pet will go a long way to making divorce less stressful, and your furry friend can follow with you into your future.