Counting the cost of divorce is not just restricted to the financial aspects – and much research is being devoted to the adverse effect that divorce and separation can have on our health.
According to doctors and therapists, marital break-up, also described as ‘Divorce Stress Syndrome’, manifests itself both emotionally and physically – sparking symptoms including stress, insomnia, depression, eczema and muscle pain.
With a recent study highlighting that people who divorce experience a more rapid decline in their health compared to those who remain married, it is critical to make the time to adopt a holistic approach to look after yourself through a difficult and distressful period.
In the analogy that airline passengers are instructed to put on their own oxygen masks before attending to their children in an emergency, neglecting yourself may hamper your ability to care for your offspring who need you to be strong and healthy in such turbulent times.
There are seven sensible steps for looking after yourself.
Sleep. Sleep is vital to restore, repair and rejuvenate both mind and body. Without enough, we don’t fire on all cylinders, feel awful and can become ill. Get what you need to feel rested and try to set yourself up for quality sleep by winding down before bed.
Alcohol. People often turn to drink in times of crisis, but you should not become reliant, as alcohol exaggerates moods – so if you are feeling down or sad, drinking will make you feel even worse. It can also affect your ability to function normally, make good decisions and even understand what’s going on.
Nourishment. Good diet provides the right amount of nutrients for metabolic rate, energy and protection from illness and guidance is available from many practical websites.
Exercise. Just a daily half-hour walk is enormously beneficial – lowering pulse rate and blood pressure – with an inbuilt ‘feelgood factor’ that anybody of any fitness level can enjoy.
Social interaction. Loneliness increases the depression, anxiety, loss and feeling of isolation that divorce can bring. Don’t isolate yourself – make an effort to socialise and make time for best friends and family members who can give support, advice and empathy.
Alternative therapies. Look into massage, acupuncture and osteopathy, for example, to ease tension and iron out niggling aches and pains.
Go easy on yourself. A little enjoyment can lift your mood and boost your wellbeing, so pamper yourself with a treat – perhaps something you may not have made time for recently.
Remember, divorce is one of the most traumatic experiences you will go through – and it will take time to get over before you can move on. Taking care of yourself is absolutely vital to survive and embark on the next stage of your life.
If you have any comments, queries or concerns on any divorce related issue, leave a comment below, call the Jones Myers team on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.