Taking Care of Yourself While Going Through a Divorce
Divorce can impact health and well being, increasing the risk of weight gain or loss, sleeplessness, cardiac issues, depression and more. So how you can take control of your health during this tumultuous time? Obviously, this is not a medical guide; check with your doctor before changing anything about your diet, exercise or supplemental routine. But consider at least researching the following ideas:
- Reduce the amount of refined sugar and refined white flour that you consume. The “ideal” diet is obviously a subject of hot debate. But almost all standard diets, whether vegan, paleo, macrobiotic or other, restrict these non-nutritive sources of calories, especially soda and other forms of liquid sugar. Conversely, make sure to get adequate nutrition, including healthy fats and proteins and green vegetables.
- Find an exercise program that works well for you. Powerful research suggests that safe, slow resistance training may be useful at improving insulin sensitivity, staving off osteoporosis, and building bone density. Exercise is also a good way to relieve stress.
- Get enough sunlight and fresh air. Especially if you live in New York City, odds are that you spend a lot of time indoors. Obviously, you don’t want to get too much sunlight and burn, but new research suggests that safe levels of sun exposure may improve vitamin D levels. Spending time outdoors can be obviously refreshing and perhaps physiologically necessary.
- Get enough rest. This is easier said than done, particularly if you face anxiety because of the divorce. Consider avoiding using your computer, your TV, your phone and other glowing rectangles hours before bed, so that your natural circadian rhythms and melatonin levels can help with the sleep process, and try to practice getting up at the same time every day.
- Find and cultivate social support. Now is absolutely the time to reach out to friends, family members and others who will lift you up spiritually and support you. Be choosy about the people you allow to influence your life. Some studies suggest that the five people around us most often have a profound influence on our personalities and our dispositions towards the world. Choose your close confidants well.
- Along those lines, it may be best to avoid diving too deeply into any new relationships. Doing so could be destabilizing; it could also make the divorce process harder. Clean up after the divorce, and get your life organized frst. There will be time to date and possibly repartner, but one thing at a time!
- Step outside of your comfort zone and ask for help. Do you need assistance with child care, a shoulder to cry on, or just a few meals delivered to your house so that you don’t have to slave over a stove? Don’t be shy. Ask for help!
Consider engaging in introspection, such as meditation, yoga or prayer. Some research suggests that people who engage in regular mindful meditation practice (15 to 45 minutes a day) enjoy benefits ranging from reduced stress to better health markers to more empathy and concentration. Research also suggests that meditation might actually be able boost to boost what’s known as the “hedonic set point” – your baseline level of happiness. In any event: something to consider.