The divorce process often creates much uncertainty that can manifest itself as stress. When a couple divorces, many changes occur that require action of both spouses. The changes are often seen as the sources of stress that one must find workable coping skills to use through the divorce process.
Learning to recognize that stress is a common occurrence when facing divorce often helps reduce the feeling of alienation.
Divorce changes that may be associated with stress are:
- Acquiring different parenting roles and responsibilities
- Changes in financial income
- Acquiring different marital status, thus changing identity
- Changes in household chores
- Announcing the divorce to family, friends and co-workers
- Changes of employment
- Lack of decision making skills
- Loss of the family unit
There are a myriad of factors that can add to uncertainty that manifest stress during the divorce process. We are all unique; therefore, stress affects individuals differently.
The Mayo Clinic reports that stress can affect the body in the form of many physical symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, etc. The clinic also reports that stress affects an individual’s thoughts and feelings. This may result in anxiety, anger, depression, lack of focus, etc. Lastly, the Mayo Clinic also suggests that stress contributes to an individual’s behavior. Stress affects behavior in the form of overeating, under eating, anger outbursts, withdrawal from society, etc.
When an individual is undergoing stress, he is requiring his body to make adjustments necessary to cope. In order to handle stress, there needs to be proper stress management. If stress management is effective, feelings and behaviors will usually reflect positive changes.
How does an individual lessen stress in any circumstance, especially when experiencing divorce?The first step in any circumstance is accepting that there are going to be challenges and changes that will be experienced. Acknowledging that changes are ahead and there will be challenges to face will often give someone the mental ability to accept upcoming challenges.
Listed below are stress management suggestions:
- Take care of yourself by allowing time for plenty of rest. Rest allows time for your body to heal and repair itself.
- Take care of emotional needs. Emotions are at an all - time high during the divorce process. It may be beneficial to utilize a third party to help during this time. A counselor that is knowledgeable about divorce may be better than your best friend. Being impartial and helping you set goals may be the answer for lowering your stress level.
- Keep yourself physically fit by utilizing an exercise program. Stress relieving exercises may include walking or jogging on a scenic route, swimming, and light aerobics. Exercise could become a family activity for all family members thus aiding stress reduction for every family member.
- Perform activities to nurture relaxation for your body and mind. Activities such as deep breathing, prayer, yoga, sitting or lying in a quite area, and listening to soothing sounds.
- Give your body proper nutrition to cope with stress. Noted earlier, Individuals may over or under eat. A balance of eating nutritious foods may help reduce your stress level. Suggestions may be to reduce fast foods, increase vegetables, fruits and create a well-balanced diet from the four food groups. You may find pre-planned menus on the internet to aid when creating dinner plans for the week.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors. During a time of increased concerns, some individuals resort to excessive drinking of alcohol and tobacco usage. Become aware of how much of these products that you are using and be responsible.
- Be aware of your expectations. You can only control your thoughts and actions and not that of your ex-spouse. You cannot control your ex-spouse and the actions that they choose. Accept that you cannot control the outcomes that arise and learn to only accept responsibility for yourself. Also set goals that are attainable to enhance realistic expectations.
- Accept your new identity with a positive flair. The decision to divorce may not have been your decision, but learning to accept what life offers and learn to live again may lower your stress level. Do you remember any activities or associations that you desired to join but did not have the time needed when married? This might be the perfect time to explore those activities and associations again. Learn who you are again, treat yourself with love and regain yourself identity.
Divorce is stressful – Handle yourself with care. Divorce Tool Box is aware of how stressful the divorce process can be. View our website @www.divorcetoolbox.com to discover ways that we can assist you through this stressful process.