November 30, 2015

How to survive divorce in seven steps

By Peter Jones, founder

Having worked with divorcing and separating couples for many years, I know that it is no cliché to describe the process as one of the most stressful in life – up there with bereavement and moving home.

This is understandable when you consider that they share many of the same downsides. Together with the sense of powerlessness, dislocation and loss that all three traumas bring, there is also uncertainty, financial impact, the uneasy experience of navigating legal and other complex issues and working with professional advisers.

As such, health and wellbeing are absolutely vital. It is so easy, when going through bad times, to neglect yourself – but this is precisely when you must be on tip-top form, physically and mentally, to get through it.

With that in mind, I have compiled a number of tips for looking after yourself.

Sleep. Sleep is vital to restore, repair and rejuvenate both mind and body. Without enough of it, we don’t fire on all cylinders, we feel awful and we can become ill. Get seven or eight hours a night  – and try to set yourself up for quality sleep by not watching anything too exciting or frightening on television immediately beforehand and switching off your tablet or laptop some time earlier.

Alcohol. Fine in moderation, but don’t rely on it. People often turn to drink in times of crisis, but if you ‘over medicate’, reliance builds up and it will impact on your ability to function normally, make good decisions and even understand what is going on in your life.

Nourishment. Eating and drinking healthily are, obviously, bedrocks to health; good diet provides the right amount of nutrients for metabolic rate, energy and protection from illness. There are many practical online guides and an example of efficient healthy intake is juicing, which can provide many of the vitamins and trace elements you need daily in five minutes.

Exercise. You don’t have to be a sporty type to benefit. A half-hour walk each day is enormously beneficial – lowering pulse rate and blood pressure – and has an inbuilt ‘feelgood factor’. Anybody, of any age and fitness level can do it – and it has been described as great for the heart, head and wallet alike. Of course, you can progress to longer distances, power walking, running or other exertions, but as in the other areas outlined, a sensible, moderate attitude works wonders.

Social interaction. Loneliness simply increases the depression, anxiety, loss and feeling of isolation that divorce can bring. Don’t isolate yourself – make an effort to socialise, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing initially. Avoid dropping hobbies that involve other people, make time for best friends, and see 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. This is a time when a little enjoyment can lift your mood and boost your wellbeing. Pamper yourself with a treat – not necessarily expensive, but something you enjoy and might 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 it and move on to the next stage of your life.

If you have any comments, queries or concerns on divorce related issues, leave a comment below, call the team at Jones Myers on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.