5 Tips to Help Cope With the Stress of Divorce

02/15/2017 11:25 am ET Updated Feb 16, 2017

If you are in the midst of a divorce, you know how stressful life can be, perhaps even more stressful than it was in the days, months, or years before your marriage officially dissolved. Discord between you and your spouse, financial pressure, and changes to your family dynamic among other issues can make youfeel anywhere from uneasy to anxious and can negatively affect your health long after you finalize your divorce. The good news is you can reduce your stress by doing each of the following.

1. Eat. Ever hear the phrase “divorce diet”? Divorce stress often serves as the catalyst for weight loss. Though you may suddenly fit into those jeans from five years ago, losing weight too quickly can be harmful to your health. On the flip side, if you tend to be an emotional eater, be conscious of the food you put into your body. Soothing yourself with empty calories is a surefire way to pack on the pounds, causing you to have less energy during the time when you need it most. Indulging in whole foods not only regulates your weight but can also affect your mood. According to a study published during 2009 in the “British Journal of Psychiatry,” those who ate a diet rich in whole foods as opposed to a diet filled with refined and fried foods were less depressed. An apple a day…

2. Exercise. The last thing you may feel like doing is hitting the gym. But working out will do more than help your waistline; you will feel happier, too. According to WebMD, during exercise endorphins – chemicals that trigger positive feelings – are released, as well as serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for sending messages from one cell to another, causing people to feel calmer. Don’t fret if a gym membership is no longer in your budget. All you need is some pavement and a pair of sneakers.

3. Talk. Do your best to stay in contact with friends and family who can offer you moral support during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to cut out toxic people in your life either, or to tell friends that you would like them only to listen, not advise, if that’s what you desire. Those who care about you will understand and appreciate your need for a friendly ear and will be happy to aid you in this way. If you feel that you would further benefit from speaking to a professional such as a therapist, psychologist, or psychologist, don’t hesitate to reach out and find one. Many times the costs of these services, or at least a portion of them, are covered by your health insurance. Your community may also offer free resources in this regard. For guidance in a less clinical setting, try reaching out to your clergy.

4. Love. Though you may feel bitter as the relationship with your spouse comes to a close, it’s important to welcome love into your life. Love doesn’t have to mean romantic love if you are not ready for that experience. Love can come from your children, parents, siblings, friends, pets, and even strangers. But you need to be open to receiving it first. Since the best way to receive love is first to give it, you can seek out love by making time for those closest to you in your life. Take a break from the craziness around you. Enjoy a day trip with your friends or family. Schedule a family dinner or movie night. Volunteer in your community. You won’t believe the benefits that can come from giving your time – and yourself – to others. Even if you think you have nothing left to give, you do. A few minutes each day is all it takes. We all have that.

5. Sleep. The world is a much different place when you don’t get enough sleep. Divorce requires stamina. It also requires having a clear head to make decisions that can impact the rest of your life and your children’s, and you need to be alert. According to Health.com, getting a good night’s sleep can boost your energy, memory, and creativity. Sleeping at least five or six hours nightly can also extend your life, which is good news since your divorce has just given you a new lease on it. So rest up.

Image courtesy of Diann Bayes Yogurt, Fruit, and Granola via photopin (license).

Vikki Ziegler is the star of Bravo TV’s Untying the Knot, the founder and CEO of DivorceDating, Author of The Pre-Marital Planner: Your Complete Legal Guide to a Perfect Marriage, and a co-founder of and partner at Ziegler & Zemsky, LLC. To learn more about Vikki, visit www.vikkiziegler.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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