Through the Challenges of Separation and Divorce
With the statistics stacked against lasting relationships, many people these days find themselves either contemplating divorce, or in the midst of feeling the emotional transitional effects of separation from a marriage or common-law partner.
Separation and divorce can create a variety of challenges and stresses for those involved, but one thing all share is a need to be nurtured through the experience. Transitioning out of a relationship can take a heavy toll on the mind, body, and spirit. Whether those splitting up are working toward an amicable resolution, or going through a contentious legal battle, whether they have children or are on their own, they need to give themselves the best of care to remain focused, to ease the stress, and to move forward positively. It is a must to nurture your body and your soul through such a trying time.
Here are some ways to nurture yourself through the process of separation and divorce.
Start with nourishment; eat and drink well. There will be many long hours of decision-making, working through financial statements and parenting plans, and facing mounds of legal paperwork. To keep your energy levels high, eat sufficient amounts of protein at every meal. Carry around with you healthy, protein-filled snacks to nourish you through mediations, long meetings with lawyers, and court appearances. And stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue, so increase your water intake; always carry a reusable water bottle, refill and sip from it often.
Involve yourself in activities that bring you strength and serenity. For some, that may include intense exercise such as regular tennis or biking, while for others it may come in the gentler form of yoga or a walk in the park with a friend. Nature therapy is gaining more respect from traditional doctors. Many studies show the benefits of a 20-minute walk in a park or other natural setting a few times a week, listening to the sounds of nature.
Volunteering is another free activity that offers many benefits. Studies have shown that altruistic people have more joy in their lives. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, find an organization that can benefit from your assistance. One easy method is to simply Google “volunteer opportunities” in your community.
Other activities that can keep you occupied at home range from knitting to baking, crafting to gardening, therapeutic body work (massage, reiki, craniosacral therapy), to long, hot baths. Whatever you choose, make sure to make time for activities that keep you grounded and lift your spirits.
Our grandmothers really did know something when they covered themselves with lavender oil. Essential oils offer healing smells that can help to soothe the soul. To find out which ones appeal to you, test the many offerings at a health food store. Add a few drops to your body cream, an infuser, or a hot bath (Epsom salts can also help to soothe sore muscles). Most health food stores carry a variety of products, have knowledgeable staff, and sometimes naturopathic doctors who can guide you to the best supports for mind and body.
It’s very important to surround yourself with people who can give you the support you need and deserve. Fill your days with trusted friends and family members. Recognize when and how they can be there for you, even if it is just to vent. At the same time, acknowledge that some people cannot offer what you need, and be prepared to let them go. As well, seek out the help of professionals. Find a family lawyer or mediator who is best suited for you. Interview several, and recognize that the appropriate person for you may not be the one your friend swears by. Many people are also finding support from divorce therapists, coaches, or doulas. Although they cannot provide legal advice, these professionals can share much-needed knowledge, strategies, and perspectives that are different from those of family and friends. They will be able to offer emotional support and assistance in how to protect yourself, both financially and logistically. Look for a professional who has training in family mediation, arbitration, and parenting coordination.