Stress Going Through The Divorce Process
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The idea of looking after yourself and reducing stress is not new. But for single parents it can be hugely difficult. You need to realise you can’t afford not to look after your health – for your children’s sake at the very least.
Constant low-level stress affects the immune system and can be the underlying cause of a staggering list of health problems: headaches, fatigue, pelvic pain, frequent colds, hair and skin problems, and stomach upsets to name just a few. In my case high blood pressure and mouth ulcers. Stress is nearly always the reason for headaches and feeling tired.
The problem with single parents is they put themselves way down on their own priority lists and are often not consciously aware of how much stress they’re under.
The answer lies in the basics. Strategies include: Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, and (here’s a concept)…relax.
- Work out some quick meals which are really healthy – things you can throw together at the last minute instead of toasted sandwiches. My standby is frozen chicken and frozen peas or broccoli. It’s fast and healthy and my son loves it.
- When you do cook, make large quantities and freeze it. Think about the week’s meals before grocery shopping. Sounds very old-fashioned but it’s cheaper and less stressful than constantly wondering what to have for dinner.
- This site helped me lose weight and eat great: http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/recipes-index/
- If you can afford it, buy a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. Even the best diets can be mineral-deficient due to vegetables being grown in depleted soil.
- Take extra vitamin C and B-complex to help the body cope with stress. Both are available on prescription.
For two years, I told myself joining the gym was out of the question – too expensive and no creche. But no matter how much I promised myself I’d go walking or jogging, I never did.
So I saved up, waited for a special promotion, and organised people to look after the two-year-old. Between my mother, my neighbours and a home-based caregiver, it works.
Complicated? You bet. Impossible? No. And the benefits are as much mental as they are physical.
Waking in the early hours of the morning is a classic sign of stress. One of the reasons for it is too much adrenaline in the body; but the good news is, you can ‘manage’ your own adrenaline levels.
Dr Archibald Hart, an expert on adrenaline and stress, says the key is to choose to do things in a more relaxed way. For example, if you’re folding a huge pile of washing, don’t do it in a tense, irritated way. If tackling some paperwork is going to make you resentful and uptight, do it another time.
Take ‘mini-holidays’. Every day do something you find enjoyable. It might be chatting to a friend or listening to music for 15 minutes once the kids are in bed. Reducing day-time stress levels will help you sleep better – which is crucial for your physical and mental health.
And go to bed earlier, despite the overwhelming to-do list. Sleep is cheap medicine.
Lastly, try to live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow (anyone who knows me is hooting with laughter at this point as I’m a classic worry-wort).
And don’t fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself. As my married friends are always telling me, having a wife can be stressful too!