Going through a divorce is a difficult and stressful process. Both divorcing spouses are likely to suffer symptoms of emotional and psychological stress, from sleeplessness to depression to back pain, panic attacks and overwhelming fears. Divorce stress can affect your physical health as well, according to a 2012 study by scientists at Michigan State University that found that divorced people suffer more declining health than those who have not experienced divorce.
Some expert coined the phrase “divorce stress syndrome” as a name for the mental, emotional and physical distress that can accompany and follow a traumatic divorce. The Daily Mail reported, “Other studies have found that while men suffer more long-term health problems after divorce if they don’t remarry, women tend to suffer more seriously in the short term because of the sudden loss of status, financial support and the emotional safety net provided by marriage.”
What can you do to cope with the stress of divorce? First of all, there’s no shame in getting relief through antidepressant medications for a time during your divorce if they relieve your emotional distress. You can also take advantage of several tried-and-true, natural stress reduction techniques that have become increasingly popular in recent years:
- Exercise: Be sure to get enough exercise, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and get enough sleep. Staying active and taking good care of your body will go a long way toward relieving stressful feelings and avoiding illness.
Deep breathing: taking a few slow, long, breaths can be remarkably calming. Breathing deeply also gives you a little quiet time to think about how you want to react to negative feelings. Conscious breathing and mindfulness meditation can help you clear your mind and realize that you don’t need to stay busy all the time. Give yourself time to reflect on how you want to live your new life in the future.
- Focus on your kids: Remembering that your children feel hurt and angry too can help you control your anger and frustration to help all of you feel calmer.
- Have some fun! Take a break, get out of the house, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Watch comedies and play games with your children. Humor relaxes people, and can be a powerful healing force against illness.
- Pamper yourself: A massage, a nap, a swim, or a manicure/pedicure will cheer you and soothe you.
- Take it easy at work, and give yourself breaks. Your divorce process can be exhausting, emotionally and mentally. It’s a good time to step back and remember that you don’t have to give 100 percent all the time, every day.
- Spend time with friends, and develop new friendships. John T. Chirban, lecturer in psychology at Harvard Medical School, reminds us, “A friend doubles your joys and divides your sorrows.”
The seasoned family law and divorce lawyers at the McGrath Law Firm, founded by attorney Peter McGrath, will walk you through every step of the challenging divorce process to address your concerns and achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. From spousal support, child support, fault, and equitable division of property and debt to valuations, pre-nuptial agreements, annulments, and restraining orders, the experienced attorneys at McGrath Law Firm have a successful track record in all aspects of divorce law. Call us to schedule your consultation at (800) 283-1380.