It goes without saying that divorce is a stressful time for anyone going through it. What people often don't realize is that it's exactly that stress that makes it the right time to examine your wellness plan. I know: you probably don't have one, and, being so stressed out, you think you don't have time to create one. But in fact, it's times like these that you absolutely, positively must make time to take care of yourself. And it can take surprisingly little time to up your wellness quotient just a bit.
The first thing to consider is what wellness means to you. I suggest a three-pronged approach in which you think about your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. I'm not a purist as to how you might define each. What's important is that you spend a little time on each area, assessing how you're doing, what's going well and what's not going so well.
Many of my clients look at their physical status once the divorce dust settles. When you're thinking of dating again, it's hard not to think about what shape you're in. Clients frequently decide it's time to join a gym — a choice that has the added benefit of providing opportunities to meet new people. A change in how they eat is another common area of attack. You may have an opportunity to return to a style that fits you better than the one you compromised on with a spouse. A great physical wellness goal to begin with is waking each day with the energy to do the things you feel are important.
The emotional arena is one many people tackle in therapy or coaching, which has often been occurring well before the divorce finalized. Reading articles like this one is another approach to examining and tweaking your emotional well-being. Sharing emotions with friends, going to divorce adjustment groups, journaling about your feelings and insights are other ways to address the post-divorce emotional doldrums. And please, try not to take yourself too seriously. Have fun and laugh often with the people you want to have around you. If you don't have these people in your support system, make it a priority to seek them out. This is imperative to your emotional wellness. You ought to be aiming to feel confident and enthusiastic about your new life.
Spirituality is such an individual matter I hesitate to include it, but at the same time it's so important to address. By spirituality, I mean anything from religion to belief in the goodness of people to save-the-seals-activities to a love of music. Everything about one's spiritual wellbeing can be shaken by divorce. Why did my god allow this to happen? If someone I trusted so much can be so untrustworthy, how will I ever believe in anyone again? What's the point of meditating or volunteering if I feel terrible most of the time? You'll ask yourself questions like these, and it's important to take time to seek out the answers. When you can face each day knowing you are in a space to make the choices you must make to get what you need, then your spirit (or soul, or whatever you call it) is in a good place.
You may find that you're doing just fine on one or more of these wellness dimensions, with another area needing some work. Perhaps they all need work, and your task is to figure out where you want to begin. What's important is that you devote some energy to a wellness activity that's meaningful to you. Your wellness plan can be simply to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day to work on the one or two things you've decided need your attention right now. Write them down and look at them every day. It might be just the thing to ease your stress.
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