According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, divorce is the second-most stressful life event, just after the death of a spouse; separation is the third-most stressful event. This means that separation and divorce can actually lead to illness if you do not take care of yourself. It is very important that, along with protecting your financial assets, you protect your most important asset: your health.
What Can I Do To Stay Healthy During a Divorce?
It is easy to let yourself become stressed and run down during a divorce proceeding, but there are things you can do to counter this tendency. Here are some tips to keep yourself healthy throughout your divorce proceedings.
- Eat properly. During a separation, many people experience what is referred to as the “separation diet.” It is not unusual for a person to drop 20 pounds or more within a few weeks of a separation simply due to lack of appetite. If you cannot force yourself to eat, try to substitute some nutritional shakes for meals. Alternatively, if you find yourself binge-eating, keep healthy snacks on hand to counteract this tendency.
- Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which makes you feel better and elevate your mood. Gentle, mild exercise such as a brisk walk or a circuit workout at the health club can raise your spirits and help you clear the “brain fog” that can set in during separation. Joining an exercise class also gives you a reason to get out of the house and be around other people.
- Lean on support of family and friends. Many men have trouble asking for help. During this time, do not be afraid to call on family or trusted friends if you are lonely or feeling blue. On the other hand, do not make family and friends a wailing wall; tell them up front that you may need “tough love” to pull you out of your depression and let them encourage you with positive, uplifting words.
- Visit your doctor. Trying to fight depression or stress-induced illness alone is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. You do not have to go on antidepressants if you do not want to, but your doctor may have some good advice in addition to pharmaceuticals to help you overcome the worst of your struggles.
Finally, hiring a good divorce lawyer can lower your stress levels considerably. Talk to the attorneys at the Men’s Legal Center about the best way to handle your divorce.