It is easy to feel overwhelmed when stress and loss mounts up in divorce.
Going through monumental changes and downgrading one’s lifestyle can result in feeling blue. There may be financial worries and the realization hits that one will see the children only part-time.
If a person is prone to depression all of this turmoil can be a trigger that pushes one down that slippery slope.
One way to stop melancholy moods is with distraction. When sadness is like a DVD playing over and over in your head, substituted it with happier ones. The blues may hit unexpectedly like a huge wave, and that is when I mentally insert a DVD of fun times on holiday.
Sometimes I can banish morose feelings when looking at our holiday photos and reminiscing about our adventures.
Many people have expressed being in nature rejuvenates them. This is as simple as eating lunch outside or taking a stroll in a leafy area to lift one’s mood. There are hundreds of studies that back up the physical and mental health benefits of being out in nature.
A study out of The Netherlands analysed records of 195 doctors with the focus of seeing if living near a green space was beneficial to well-being. They found that there were less “disease clusters” for those who lived within 1 kilometre of a green space.
This particularly held true for those with depression and mental illness.
University of Washington has on their web site a result from a study where some participants took a walk inside and the others did out in nature. 71% of the ones taking a walk outside had a decrease in their depression as opposed to 45% who were inside.
Professor Jules Pretty from University of Essex and other researchers analysed data from ten studies. The common denominator was being out in nature improves “mental and physical health”. Even five minutes in the green is shown to improve health.
Do something special for yourself. One friend has a glass of her favourite pinot grigio wine and watches a classic movie. This week she laughed her way through “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall. Last week her treat was watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
A divorced acquaintance watches snooker when thoughts of his ex-wife occur. When I am feeling blue, I enjoy a hands on treatment, such as facial (Neal’s Yard) or a pedicure.
Get out of your flat. Moping inside only compounds the blues, so go to a coffee or tea shop. If you are feeling lonely, chatting with other at the community table may be just the ticket.
If not in a sociable mood, take your book or laptop and be surrounded by people, but not interacting with them. One elderly divorced woman made it to daily Mass with a treat afterwards. She was not auditioning for sainthood, but having somewhere to go every day was important to her emotional well-being.
Go to the cinema or theatre. Being engrossed in a thriller or comedy is a great temporary escape from the stress of divorce. Crying through a heart-breaking film releases pent up sadness and despondency and one can feel so much better afterwards. West End has so many choices for whatever mood you are in, and I feel comfortable going alone.
Be with animals. There is something about their unconditional love and acceptance that lifts one’s mood. Having someone whose existence is dependent upon you helps give meaning to your life. Volunteering takes the focus off you and puts it on to someone else.
I enjoy my morning each week helping out at a cat rescue charity, cuddling the kittens. Being appreciated by these homeless cats helps to banish the blues.
Take up a new hobby or get back to an old one. One acquaintance got back into riding again and opened up a small sanctuary for horses. This twice divorced women barely has time to be sad with operating an equine charity. Others started dabbling with painting or enrolled in dance classes and other fun pursuits. Some have used interests or hobbies as a springboard for new careers.
Take a fitness class. Exercise increases endorphins which helps one to feel better. Endorphins also act as analgesics which dampens perception of pain in the body.
Exercise is a release for anxiety and studies have indicated that it decreases depression. Regular exercise aids is getting better sleep and diminishes insomnia. Get your body moving whether in the gym or outdoors.
If you are feeling depressed and cannot snap out of this, consider going to a divorce or life coach. They will help you gain insight into your situations and strategies with how to deal with it.
Short-term therapy can be beneficial in helping you gain clarity and move on with your life.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 100 published articles.
Her other book is The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce. Web site is globalguidetodivorce.com.