Divorce can wreak havoc on your health. From psychological stress to the development of physically-harmful habits, the health effects of divorce are rarely positive â€“ at least in the short term.
But being in an unhappy marriage isnâ€™t good for your health either, and there are ways to mitigate the most damaging divorce health problems. Here are five of them:
1. See change as an opportunity.
As someone who is recently divorced or separated, itâ€™s a given that your day-to-day routine is drastically different from what it once was. For some, this means more time to themselves. For others, it means more time with children and other family members.
Either way, donâ€™t let the change keep you from maintaining healthy habits. Divorce can actually be a great opportunity to begin a new routine â€“ a healthy one that keeps your body and mind in check.
Like what, you ask? Well, there are several to choose from: Start running. Meditate. Do yoga in the mornings. Ride your bike in the evenings. Eliminate fried foods from your diet. Using this transition period of your life to adopt a new habit or routine will help you stay healthy through a trying time period.
2. Tell loved ones how you feel.
It may be a clichÃ©, but donâ€™t keep your feelings bottled up inside. Find friends and family members whom you love and trust, and tell them how you feel.
â€œLetting it all out,â€ so to speak, is often the first step toward maintaining (or even rebuilding) your emotional health after a divorce or other traumatic event.
3. Seek out community support.
As wonderful as it is to have family members and friends who support you, many recent divorcees find even more comfort and solace from those with similar experiences. Seek out community support groups that cater to divorcees. It can be a great way not only to let off steam, but to find a common purpose and remind yourself that youâ€™re not alone.
Many religious institutions offer meetings for divorcees. If youâ€™re looking for a more secular support network, see whether civic institutions in your community host similar groups.
4. Be honest with your children.
Remember: Divorce is hard on your children, too. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to be honest with them during and after your divorce. Make sure they understand that the divorce had everything to do with Mom and Dad and nothing to do with them â€“ that theyâ€™re dearly loved and always will be.
Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you may want to use discretion when explaining to your children the exact reasons you and your former spouse decided to separate. Just donâ€™t try to pit children against your ex. Other than damaging their relationship with a parent, thereâ€™s nothing to gain from making your children take sides.
In the long run, you risk losing their respect.
5. Purchase health insurance and organize your finances.
The state of your finances can significantly impact your physical and emotional health.
If you depended on your former spouse for employer-supported health insurance, donâ€™t wait around to purchase a new policy. Being uninsured when you get sick can destroy your finances for the foreseeable future, and thatâ€™s something you never want to happen â€“ not for yourself and not for your children.
Be sure to organize other aspects of your financial life, too. If you shared expenses with your spouse, youâ€™ll have to account for the fact that thatâ€™s no longer an option. Taking the time to understand the financial implications of your divorce is always worth the effort.