It’s normal to feel blue and stressed while dissolving a marriage, but your misery doesn’t have to last forever. Having trouble coping? In order to feel better, you need to change not just the way you think, but also your behaviors. Talk therapy and medication can help (and may be necessary if your daily functioning is seriously impaired), but there are plenty of other less expensive ways to snap out of your divorce funk. Try these action steps today:
Mindfulness: Cultivating a mindfulness practice will help you tolerate stress and regain equilibrium so you can make conscious choices instead of kneejerk responses that invite conflict. Wondering how to begin? Read this intro to mindfulness and download this meditation app on your Smartphone for starters.
Gratitude List: Depression and anxiety cause us to ruminate on our problems. But concentrating on what’s bad can prevent you from noticing what’s good. Think you have nothing to be grateful for? Keep a daily gratitude list and jot down anything that’s positive, no matter how (seemingly) small: ten toes and ten fingers; a roof over your head; indoor plumbing. Training yourself to focus on what you have instead of what you’ve lost will change the way you feel.
Service: Volunteer at a pet rescue. Hold NICU babies whose parents are unavailable. The pain and shame of divorce can cause people to isolate. What better antidote to despair than to connect with those more vulnerable than you? Helping others with bigger problems will make you feel better about yours.
Creative Endeavors: One reason people get stuck in a divorce funk is that they think about it 24/7. Doing something creative will help you shift your focus from your own personal apocalypse to something meaningful and life affirming. And, no, you don’t have to be an artistic genius to use your imagination. Paint. Take up the guitar. Write a blog. Plant a vegetable garden. The act of being creative will get you out of yourself and into the moment.
Exercise: Vigorous exercise boosts endorphins, naturally released brain chemicals that reduce pain and enhance mood. Because of this, psychiatrists often advise patients to do some form of exercise daily. So get on your bike, take a jog, swim laps, do sun salutations. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you move your body for at least 30 minutes.
Take a social media vacation: Spending hours scrolling down your Facebook feed is not only a time-suck, but also will make you feel that your life pales next to your friends’ carefully crafted moments of what appears to be perfection. Also be aware, of course, that if you vent on Facebook about your ex in anger, it could put your divorce or custody negotiations in jeopardy. Best bet: take the time you would normally waste on social media and read a book instead.
See friends: Talking on the phone is fine, but you need interaction with real live people to feel like part of the human race. Social engagements don’t need to cost a lot of money. Ask a friend to meet you for coffee or take a hike. And here’s a tip: if you want to enjoy yourself, don’t spend the whole time talking about your divorce!
If the legal side of your divorce is the source for your current funk, we can help! Please contact us today to schedule your INITIAL attorney consultation. Speak to one of our qualified family law attorneys and learn all your options for positively resolving your divorce.