5 healthy habits for surviving divorce
During extreme times of stress in our lives such as divorce, we tend to default to our daily routines and habits.
But how do we know those habits are helping, and not harming us?
When we are in survival mode, our routine and habits provide comfort and consistency when everything else in the world seems to be falling apart.
If those habits are healthy, we thrive and overcome our challenges to move on to be happily, successfully divorced.
If those habits are unhealthy, we may find ourselves in a much worse condition than before the divorce or traumatic event.
Here are five healthy habits to practice to "survive" divorce.
Early bedtime and morning routine.
Sleep is restorative, it re-sets our bodies and heals the damage done the day before. When my clients are feeling run down, exhausted and lack hope for their future, I always ask about sleep habits. I urge my clients to go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up early before the kids. It can be tempting to stay up to watch a favorite show or enjoy "alone time" after bedtime but in the morning the effects are obvious. Waking up in the morning, having quiet time, exercising, having energy and a positive mood that lasts all day is way more valuable than the hour of scrolling in the dark.
Get into the habit of asking for help.
If you've never done something before, what gives you the confidence that you will succeed? Asking for help from a professional is the perfect way to keep on track with your goals and continue moving forward through the process. There's no "how to" manual for divorce. But thank goodness for therapists, coaches, attorneys and co-parenting specialists! Aligning ourselves with the right person at the right time to be a thinking partner, a sounding board and a "voice of reason" so to speak can make all the difference that trying to go it alone.
Learn grounding techniques to counteract anxiety and promote wellbeing.
When our bodies go into "fight or flight" mode, the amygdala takes over. Some experts call this the "Lizard brain" or the "amygdala hijack". During this extreme reaction to a real or perceived threat, we are less likely to react rationally to a situation or retain important information. Our adrenal glands release large amounts of cortisol and adrenaline. This can be problematic when sitting in mediation or an important custody hearing when it's imperative that we show up as our best selves. Fortunately, there are somatic exercises called "grounding techniques" that can counteract this reaction. These techniques can help calm the nerves and take the control back! These somatic exercises can be as simple as 3,6,9 breathing. Find a somatic grounding technique and practice it daily so that when you need to be present and show up as your best self, you know how to take the control back.
Don't skip the hard part, hold space for grief.
Grieving the loss of your marriage is a difficult but necessary step in the process. There's no magic pill to healing but there are ways to make it more tolerable. here are some important things to know about grief. People experience grief in their own unique ways. It may manifest as anger, depression or even a hyper focus on work. Grief has it's own timeline and can have triggers. Make sure you have the support of a therapist, close family and friends and the divorce professionals that can help lighten the workload of the divorce so you don't have to be overwhelmed during this difficult transition in your life. Keep a growth mindset during the times when you are feeling down and remember that this is temporary. It wont hurt forever.
Get outside and exercise.
Exercise is a great way to work through the stress that's caused by a major transition like divorce. It's okay to start small. A short walk around the neighborhood to get your body moving and fresh air in your lungs is a great place to get started. Try setting goals for yourself and increase those goals over time. If you start with a ten minute walk around the block twice a week, try increasing it to a 30 minute walk by the end of the month. Pretty soon, you'll see how easy it is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. having that time to yourself gives you the focus you need to think about the week's challenges and process the stress out of your body so that it doesn't lead to burnout or depression.