Radical Self Care During Divorce
6 Proven Strategies for Self Care During Divorce
If you’re going through a divorce, you may need some self-care during this emotional process. They’re good tips at any time, but especially necessary now.
I just saw a little magazine clip that says “Be sweet to yourself.” One of the things most of us are really bad at, whether we’re divorcing or not, is taking care of ourselves. When we’re divorcing we need an even higher level of “being sweet to ourselves.” I call it radical self-care. And I’m not just talking about women. I've known plenty of men who cope with divorce by working wayyyy too much, and often drinking more than they should too.
So what does radical self-care mean? It depends on what you need. Here are a few ideas for radically self- care during your divorce.
- Have you been waking up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning? This is common for the grieving brain. One of the things you can do to help that is to let go of the stimulants. Coffee? Sugar? Green tea? Alcohol affects blood sugar, too. Alcohol may help you get to sleep sometimes but as the it metabolizes it, too, will wake you up in the wee hours. If you tap out your adrenal glands by over stimulation you will have less emotional reserve.
- Exercise is a veritable panacea for the ills of divorce. You don’t have to climb a mountain or run a marathon to get the benefits. 30 minutes of brisk walking will do you wonders. We store a lot of emotions in our bodies. You can do a lot of get it out of there by lifting weights, getting your heart rate up, and working up a sweat. Pay particular attention to your gluteals (our emotional suitcases) and your shoulders (anger and burdens like to hang out there).
- Eating better is such a common suggestion for nearly everything that we hardly notice it any more, and yet eating wholesome foods is vital while your system is on overload. A combination of B vitamins (nutritional yeast is an excellent natural source) and protein help stabilize blood sugar providing consistent energy through the day without the peaks and valleys you will experience otherwise. A combination of calcium and magnesium may help you sleep more peacefully through the night.
- Alternative therapies such as acupuncture are a quick way to balance the flow of vital energy throughout your body. My most recent discovery is pulsed electro-magnetic therapy (PEMT). It is mostly known to improve physical ailments but I've been finding it to help me feel fantastic emotionally.
- Touch is so important. Sometimes I enjoy a massage just because I need the touch and personal attention. The benefits of deep-tissue massage include releasing the emotional knots in a more specific way than exercise. Recently my massage therapist hit a spot just above my shoulder blades that about sent me through the roof. “That’s the grief point.” Well no wonder!
- Journal writing. Your journal can be a place to vent, a record of your journey, and a trusted friend who is always there to listen.
Nature. For me nature is The cure-all. There’s something about a cool breeze on my face that lifts the heaviness from my heart and blows them away. There’s such freedom in it. Pay attention to the smells, sights, and sounds.
Music. Special arrangements and pin-pointed words help me both identify what I’m feeling and soothe it at the same time. My soul identifies with lyrics helping me understand the stages of my journey.
Meditation. If you can get to the quiet place inside it’s like tapping into still water that lies beneath the choppy waves of your circumstances. Once you find it you won’t want to leave.
So are you being sweet to yourself? Radical self-care means taking these ideas to the extreme. It means being self-indulgent. It means being gentle with yourself. You have special needs right now and you are the most appropriate person to see that they are met.
How will you take special care of you this week?
I have triple certifications as a life, relationship and grief recovery coach, with extensive training as a relationship systems coach, mediator and collaborative divorce facilitator. I know the heartache of leaving a life you love, and leaving a family without its container. I am divorced, just like you. My divorce came after 30 years of marriage. I was “in it” (the pain, turmoil, confusion, blame, guilt, etc) for a number of years, since it took us nearly 5 years to get divorced. (It was a big decision that I didn't take lightly.) One of the remarkable surprises, and one that I totally did not expect, was who I became through the process. Pain changes us. It makes us kinder and gentler and more aware. I became all those things. I love the person I have become, and you can love the new you, too. I can help with that. I fully believe in your ability to get through and get better. You can lean on my faith in you, and my faith in the process, until you find your own.