Stress Relief: Tips to Help after Separation
Mental Health: Overwhelmed by Changes in Household Routine. What Should I do?
Dear Susie: I have always been a highly competent person, the go-to person who will always get the job done. Lately, I feel so stressed. In our marriage, we shared responsibilities for the household, kids, and one another. Over time, as it became clear that we had different goals, our marriage could not survive. Though I know this decision is best for us all, I don’t think I realized how interdependent we were for everyday tasks. Can you offer some practical tips to help me to reduce stress during this transition?
A: Even the most diligent, efficient among us find reorganizing household life after divorce pretty stressful at first. Stress is Mother Nature’s signal that something needs to change, so it’s time to stop, reassess, and reprioritize. So here are some simple tips to help you to rebalance, and release some of that stress!
PRIORITIZE AND ORGANIZE
1. Set aside a Saturday this month to Regroup.
I know, you’re busy. But If you combined the minutes, hours and sleepless nights you’ve spent in feeling anxious, you would more than justify a couple of hours on a Saturday to create a helpful timeline or calendar or post-it system, and to explore what stress-relief strategies will work best for you.
2. Prioritize. Streamline. Delegate. Discard:
Is this really necessary today? Is there an easier way to get the job done? Who could help?
3. Remember: Not everything Important is Urgent.
When we summon our in-house stress-response team unnecessarily, we mobilize biochemical reactions releasing cortisol and other coping substances that over time, take a toll on our wellness, impact relationships and quality of life.
JUGGLE AND BALANCE
1. If diligent people are not careful, there can be a compulsive quality to getting the job done.
This can lead to system overload.
2. Commit yourself to a minimum of one non-essential pleasure every single day without exception.
Walk, swim, dance, laugh, create. Stumped? Ask friends what they do for fun.
3. Practice Mindfulness: Meditation, breathwork, guided imagery, walking, writing, even rocking a baby, can produce a meditative state.
Deep, mindful belly-breathing. oxygenates the body — deep, blissful belly-laughing nourishes the rest. Fatigue, headache, and irritability can also be signs of dehydration. Drink plenty of water to hydrate skin, flush toxins, aid digestion and circulation, and stay alert.
HARMONIZE AND HUMORIZE
1. Shakespeare said, ‘How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.’
Do something kind for someone else single day. There is a cumulative, positive transformation that takes place when it becomes second nature to think about creating joy. And build in healthy rewards for all you do. (e.g. Buy two bunches of flowers. Keep one, give one away.)
2. On busy days, sometimes we forget to smile.
Smiling sends an internal “All’s Well” message: ‘I must be okay – I’m smiling!’ Make a point of reading cartoons, seeing funny movies and finding laughter in everyday events.
3. Mental chatter and self-recriminations are distracting, distressing and demoralizing.
Never say to yourself anything you wouldn’t say to your dearest friend.