The second-highest stressor in an adult’s life, according to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, is divorce. We have heard this news all around us, in social media, news pipelines, and from neighbors: stress kills. Virginia men are strong, no doubt, but stress from divorce can seriously affect your mental and physical well-being. Here’s how to stay focused, healthy and happy through tough times like going through a divorce.
What’s the Risk?
Divorce carries with it a lot of distractions, one-time challenges, and episodes that put you on an emotional roller coaster. Stress from divorce can affect:
- Your mental health
- Your body’s immune system
- Your finances
- Your thought processes
- Your ability to get work done
According to Psychology Today, those are just the “known” stressors. You also have to factor in the stream of unknowns:
- “Will I get a fair settlement?”
- “How will we split debt?”
- “Where will I live?”
- “What will the kids think of me?”
The voices in your head will never stop tossing out the What Ifs and the I Wonder Whys. And that can go on for months. Finding ways to overcome stress is essential.
You may wonder what the risk really is. Consider all these symptoms and signs of stress, from experts at Healthline:
- Chronic pain
- Frequent sickness
- Decreased energy
- Changes in libido
- Digestive issues
- Changes in appetite
- Rapid heartbeat
You may be surprised by how quickly even low amounts of stress can affect you. Your instinctive reactions are fueled by stress: fight, flight, or freeze. With our sophisticated society, outright fighting is frowned upon (and usually illegal). You cannot flee the reality of your life. Often, we become immobilized with fear and worry, say experts at Coach.
Cortisol, the flight, flight or freeze hormone, courses through our bloodstream and takes a toll on organ health, tissues, joints and wake/sleep cycles.
Whatever your triumphs or ills, this too shall pass. If you keep your eye on your goal, you can often overlook the momentary inconveniences and setbacks you experience every day. With divorce, the end of the process is a clean break with the past. Keep a sense of that destiny and you can often reduce the stress another legal paper brings, or the nerve-wracking effects of another telephone call from your wife.
Take Care of Your Emotional Needs
Experts at Live About suggest finding an emotional support group, a gathering of people who will avoid judging and be good listeners. Talk therapy, including one-on-one sessions with a psychologist or social worker, can also help.
Without allowing for emotional space, you can find yourself using displaced aggression in inappropriate (and potentially career-ending) settings. You want to lash out at your wife, but instead blow up at the kids. You wish you could scream at her attorney, but you scream at your boss instead.
Having a good, realistic view of your emotional state can save you from feeling increased stress. Without that outside viewpoint, you may not recognize how your emotional fragility could add to your stress levels.
Manage Your Physical Fitness
It is by now a truism: physical exertion helps dissipate stress. With the cortisol festering in your system, your joints ache, your muscles tighten and do not release, and your body stiffens.
A gym visit, a brisk walk, a bike ride or a recreational sport can do wonders for keeping your body loose. Not only will your musculoskeletal structure get some kinks out, your digestive system will thank you, too. Being “regular” and keeping plenty of liquids moving through your body will help minimize stress’s effects.
Tap into Your Spiritual Side
Whatever your belief system, rediscover it during divorce. Many people find solace (and reduce stress) by turning to a religious advisor; rejoining a welcoming temple, church or mosque; or seeking out spiritual texts.
A walk in the woods, meditation, gazing at sunsets over the Shenandoah Mountains can do wonders to whittle away worry.
Experts at VeryWell Mind say that prayer and spirituality have been connected to:
- Improved overall health
- Reduced hypertension
- Less depression
- Lowering stress levels
- Resilience in handling new stressors
Nurture Your Whole Being
Whatever your stress from divorce, remember to address your whole being. Your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs must all be met. Expect to face periods of lows and moments of heightened excitement. Expect to be in the process for about a year, perhaps longer.
Talk honestly with your attorney about the stress you are feeling. Accept suggestions from your attorney; other clients have been in your shoes before.
Call The Firm For Men’s Family Lawyers
If the stress and heartache of a messy divorce is affecting you, please contact us at The Firm For Men. Often, poor representation adds to your worries. We are family lawyers for Virginia’s men. It is all we do, so we are very, very good at it. Turn your divorce case over to us and feel some the stress melt away almost immediately. We will work with you, with your wife’s attorney, and with the courts to help you find your way through the tangles and tribulations. We can also provide more ideas on beating the stress that divorce brings. Contact us online today or stop by our office in Virginia Beach.