It's hard for those who have not gone through a divorce to understand the magnitude of stress that individuals experience during this difficult time. From my personal experience as well as my experience working with numerous divorcing couples, I know it's important to have some strategies to help you get through it.
Here are 4 things that helped me relieve stress during my divorce and hopefully, they can help you, too.
1. Start a Gratitude Journal
I was first introduced to the idea of a gratitude journal when I was still married and unhappy. It was really easy to feel stuck and to feel sorry for myself. It was like pulling teeth for me to try to be grateful. Then I heard a speaker, Lisa Ryan from Grategy, and she pointed out how many simple things there were to be grateful for from the moment one gets up in the morning. For example, this morning, I woke up feeling rested and was grateful for a good night's sleep. I enjoyed the feel of the water on my skin when I got into the shower and I love the smell of the body wash I'm using. After getting out of the shower, I sat down and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee with a lovely creamer. I had time to prepare for my day and did not feel rushed. That's five things I was grateful for within one hour of waking up this morning.
2. Take a Nice Hot Bath
This was my go to when my ex-husband first started taking the kids and I would find myself home alone. I would fill the tub with warm water, put in some bubbles, pour a glass of wine, and relax while I listened to an audio book. I went through a ton of romance stories that all had a happy ending. It was not exactly intellectually stimulating but it helped me to keep my mind off the fact that my kids were not there, which was very stressful for me in those first six months after my ex moved out.
3. Try EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
I am an EFT practitioner and as part of my training to become a practitioner, I began my own daily EFT practice. It has been transformative for me. For those who are not familiar, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and is also sometimes referred to as tapping. It's referred to as tapping because part of the process includes tapping on nine different acupressure points. Just the tapping alone has been proven to lower cortisol levels, making you feel more relaxed. While tapping, you can explore feelings that might be bothering you. It is a tool that you can practice on your own or work with a practitioner. I recommend working with a practitioner when you are first starting out so you can make sure you are tapping in the right places and learn how to develop scripts to use with the tapping. Most practitioners that I know (including myself) conduct EFT sessions virtually so you can even do it from the comfort of your own home.
I don't know about you but when I went through my divorce, I felt like my head was spinning. I had so much fear - how would I handle being a single mom to three kids? Would I be able to maintain a job if I had to take off or work from home when they were sick or on school break? There were so many decisions that needed to be made and I found it all very overwhelming. Taking time to quiet your mind and breath deeply, even if only for a few minutes can really help you to get some clarity and relieve the tension in your body. I found the smell of lavender essential oils to be very soothing so I would diffuse the oil, turn the lights down and sit comfortably. I've always had a hard time sitting still but even ten minutes would help me stay grounded and clear headed.
Hopefully, one or more of these strategies will help take the edge off when things get tough. Many of us have been right where you are today. You are not alone.