LIVING: Attending to physical and emotional health after divorce plays important role in adjustment for parents and children.
With Stephanie Holland, Psy.D.
– Divorce is one of the most stressful events that can occur in life. It often represents the loss of hopes and dreams, not only for you, but for your children as well.
Give yourself permission to take care of yourself; take a bath, go for a run or a hike, go out to lunch with friends, go to a movie… relax. This will benefit you, as well, as your children.
Your children take their cues on how to respond to the divorce from you; if you accept this change, they will too. If, however, you are sad and sorrowful, they will follow your lead. Your kids will feel a lot more relaxed if they see that you are relaxed and in good spirits.
Here are a couple of things you can do to help minimize your stress and help you cope:
Eating a healthy diet helps you maintain a positive outlook. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. Multivitamins, especially vitamin B, can help you combat the effects of the additional stress you are facing. A vitamin B complex is important for maintaining your energy level, reducing stress and boosting your immune system.
Stay physically active. Exercise makes you feel great and helps to eliminate stress, anger, frustration and anxiety. If you don’t exercise regularly, this is a great time to start to get in the habit; join a club to make re-make yourself and get to know people who have a healthy lifestyle and will be a great cheering team for you.
Be sure to schedule some fun into your daily life. Make time for fun and do things that you love! Spend time with friends and family who support and love you. Take a bath, read a book, have a nap, watch your favorite movie and indulge yourself. Avoid negative people and search for friends who have similar interests. It’s important to have a support group and surround yourself with positive people.
Journaling is a great way to explore your feelings and work through problems. When your ex does something frustrating, journal about it and explore your feelings. If you’re angry about something, remember that anger usually comes from a sad place, not a bad place – we usually get angry because we are hurt, frustrated, or sad. It’s normal to experience highs and lows when you are going through a divorce and letting yourself experience the grief will actually help you heal and move forward.
When anxiety starts to overtake you, close your eyes and relax from your head to your toes. Allow each part of your body to relax, beginning with your eyes, your jaw, your shoulders, your arms, and working down to your toes. Don’t let anger overcome you – allowing your ex to “make” you angry allows your ex to control your life. Decide to be the master of your own destiny.
Sleep is rejuvenating. Getting enough sleep helps us emotionally and physically and dreams are an important part of working through our feelings. As you lie in bed at night, think about the beginnings in your life. Don’t dwell on the past, look to the future.
Most people who are going through a divorce are leaving behind a negative relationship. Some actually may not realize it at the time, having gotten comfortable even in a routine that was dragging them down.
We often mourn the loss of our DREAM of a perfect marriage, rather than the relationship we actually had. You can still have your dreams if you stay focused, take care of yourself, and prepare yourself for the new life ahead of you. Don’t let your ex hold you back from enjoying your future; you deserve all that life has to offer. | iH
Margaret Pickard is a Family law attorney, author, and educator, serves as an Outsource Mediator and Parent Coordinator for the Las Vegas Family Courts. Recognized as 2011 Peacemaker of the Year and named among the 2014 Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in Nevada, she has also taught at numerous universities and is the author of The Unbroken Circle of Love and Proof-Positive Parenting: What Social Science Research Tells Us About Raising Responsible Kids.
Stephanie Holland, Psy.D. is currently in private practice, working with children to overcome psychological challenges and assisting families in with post divorce issues. She also currently works as an Outsource Provider for the Las Vegas Family Courts as a Special Master/Parenting Coordinator and custody evaluator.