Stress. Just the word can make your blood pressure go up. But science has proven that stress isn’t always a bad thing. In emergency situations your body’s stress response can actually save your life. In small doses, it can even help a person to perform under pressure and meet difficult challenges. But too much stress is unhealthy, and can have disastrous results if not managed properly, which is usually the case when it comes to divorce.
Divorce is a very stressful time, that goes without saying. But it doesn’t have to cost you your health and well being. Stress overload can manifest as physical, emotional, cognitive or behavioral symptoms, or a combination of them all. From irritability and anxiety, to depression and trouble sleeping, stress can negatively impact your daily life if you don’t learn to manage it in a healthy way.
For this reason, we’ve put together a list for our readers of a few simple things you can do to reduce stress while your divorce case is pending. This way, when the stress is unavoidable, you are better able to equip yourself to manage it.
Physical activity plays a huge role in how your body processes and combats stress. Setting aside time for regular trips to the gym can be difficult during life’s busy periods, but there are many other ways to be and stay active.
Spend your lunch hour walking, or take the dog for a short walk in the evening after dinner. Ask a friend to join you on a bike ride once or twice a week. Play ball in the driveway with your kids. If it’s not the right season for outdoor activities, there are lots of aerobic instruction videos available for free on the internet. But whatever you do, make a point of staying active – it will go a long way toward relieving tension and pent up anger.
A healthy diet has a huge impact on how well your body is able to cope with stress. It may be tempting to just grab a donut and a cup of coffee when you’re in a hurry, or even skip breakfast altogether, but studies has proven that a well-nourished body is better able to fight off illness during times of stress.
Also, reduce caffeine and sugar as much as possible, drink at least eight glasses of water every day, and try to cut back on alcohol. Drinking to relax may sound like a quick and easy solution, but in the long run you will do more harm than good. Also, using alcohol to relax during long periods of difficulty in life has been known to lead to addiction.
Sleep deprivation makes bad things worse. It aggravates an already difficult situation by slowing down your reaction times, making you irritable, and reducing your ability to think rationally. Getting a good night’s sleep is invaluable for bolstering your immune system and keeping you clear headed.
If your divorce is affecting your sleep, try some common methods for relaxing yourself before bed, like deep breathing exercises and drinking warm milk or chamomile tea. Also, be sure to stay away from TV or cell phones for an hour before bedtime. Studies have shown that exposure to artificial light from electronics before going to bed can disrupt your sleep patterns. If these things don’t work, talk to your doctor about possible medications to manage stress and insomnia.
Join us next time as we wrap up this two part segment on coping with stress during your divorce, and talk about some ways you can relax during this difficult time. It’ll be worth your time, we promise!