Divorce is never easy, even when you choose it. It causes upheaval in your living arrangement, with your emotions and your normal routine. Self-care is critical after a divorce and maintaining good physical and mental health is a good place to focus. Too many people fall into negative or toxic patterns of over-eating, over-sleeping or other means of escape due to the grief and, sometimes, depression that can come from a marriage breakup.
Below are five ideas to keep you feeling well after a divorce.
It’s important not to isolate after your divorce. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of feeling like your married friends no longer want to socialize with you due to feeling like a “fifth wheel”. In many cases this simply isn’t true and they want to support you through a difficult time. Granted, in some cases certain friends may “take sides” after the divorce out of loyalty to your ex. However, it’s imperative you get out at least occasionally and be around people instead of sitting home alone brooding or ruminating about what happened.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself— anytime. Particularly after a divorce, regular exercise where you get your heart rate up through aerobic or other means, will allow your body to release endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in your brain. It will also help you to sleep better and actually reduce your appetite so that you don’t fall into the trap of eating “comfort” food.
Find an activity or hobby that you’re passionate about or at least diverts you from your thoughts. Getting involved in something that really interests you is a great way to stay busy and keep you from thinking about “what could have been”. I’m not advocating that you run from your feelings here. But getting involved in an activity that diverts you from the feelings and pain from time to time is a healthy way to allow you to heal. Time is ultimately the great healer unless there were deeper issues such as abuse or trauma associated with your marriage.
The old saying, “laughter is the best medicine” rings true here. Regular laughter to lighten your day is a great way to help you keep focused on the good in your life and not the past hurt. And there are many ways you can find ways to make you laugh. Comedy movies, sitcoms and even going to a local comedy club are great ways to look at the lighter side of life. You may even have a friend who has the ability to give you a good belly laugh a lot of the time too. Life is not a veil of tears, even though sad times hit all of us at one time or another. Laughter is a way to see the funny side of life and it has even been proven to have health benefits like boosting your immune system.
Getting enough sleep is something everyone needs. It can sometimes be a problem for recently divorced people as they may lay down to sleep and start thinking about what went wrong or have fear of the future. An average of seven hours of sleep per night is recommended by most doctors as being a good amount. Exercise, limiting your caffeine intake during the day, avoiding alcohol and high-fat foods before going to bed are all good ideas to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Learning to take care of yourself on your own may be a new to you but establishing new healthy habits is always a good thing in the long run. If you’re experiencing depression or turmoil because of a divorce, Lee Miller can help. She specializes in individual and couples therapy with divorce and relationship issues. Simply email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (310) 614-0323.