[S]teve Brown’s 2005 research on “The Worst Things in the World: Life Events Checklist” and even a basic Wiki Answers shows “divorce” to be one of the most stressful events of your life. How you choose to deal with one of life’s most complicated and trying issues could determine a pattern for the rest of your life. Make sure you develop healthy coping skills to help you deal with the stress — including divorce support groups or counseling — and do not turn to drugs or alcohol.
In stressful times such as divorce, people often downgrade their behavior. They over eat, drink more, some turn to drugs. What they should do is step back, take a deep breath, and seek some solid companionship, counseling and/or develop new healthy habits. While divorce almost always causes a major disruption in peoples’ lives, how you cope with that stress can go a long way in determining your future.
First, acknowledge that you will be going through a myriad of emotions that millions of people have dealt with, many of them successfully. Just knowing so many others are in a similar situation is a big stress reliever. But unless you take the next step, your healing will likely stagnate. You can only do so much alone.
Your next step: Get some support. Now your family (not your children) might offer some help, maybe a lot, but you probably need some professional counseling or at least a support group where you can vent and draw some solace in seeing so many others in your situation, struggling with the same issues.
Avoid picking up bad habits. Parties and social gatherings can help get your mind off your troubles, but they also offer opportunities to drink. Social drinking is fine, but when you use that drug-and alcohol is a drug, as an escape mechanism, that’s when problems start. And long-term, you won’t like the decisions you have made.
Here’s a good tip. If your doctor didn’t prescribe it, don’t take it.
Start an exercise program. Regular exercisers know the benefits of a workout program. They see and feel the difference every day. Those who don’t who often say they will start one, or intend to, or make excuses why they can’t right now, or they might just say, “The time just isn’t right.” Well, guess what? You’ll never see a better one.
Going through a divorce causes great distress in one’s life. Beginning an exercise program can help you get through it. You don’t have to go every day, or train for a marathon. You do need to get on a weekly routine. Your doctor can help you get started.
Divorce, especially when children are involved, is one of the biggest stressors in life. You can’t get through it alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Help is everywhere. But the help you seek must see you get through it, not run from it.
What have you done to overcome divorce stress in your life? What advice on divorce stress would you give to other parents going through a divorce?
Fred Campos is father to three and primary custodian to his daughter Caitlyn from a previous relationship. Image courtesy of phanlop88 & Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.