Divorce is an experience that affects nearly half of all marriages in the United Kingdom.
For nearly every man and woman who goes through this experience, this distress an take a heavy toll not just on your emotions but also on your physical health.
When Kate Flounders, a solicitor, found herself facing the end of her 12-year marriage in 2022, she didn’t anticipate the profound impact it would have on her well-being, reported The Telegraph. “I felt as though I’d been hit by a bus,” she says. “Everything I was going through emotionally, I felt in my body, too.”
Research has shown that divorce ranks as one of the most stressful life events, second only to the death of a spouse. This stress triggers physical changes in our bodies, which can lead to a range of symptoms, from cognitive problems and poor sleep to increased susceptibility to illness.
The journey to surviving divorce with your health intact can be challenging, but there are practical steps you can take to navigate it successfully.
1. Acknowledge the Emotional Rollercoaster:
Understand that it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions during divorce. Seek support from friends, family, or counseling to process your feelings and build resilience.
2. Prioritise Sleep:
Divorce often disrupts sleep patterns. Accept that your sleep may be affected temporarily and avoid resorting to sleeping pills, which can lead to poor-quality sleep. Instead, practice relaxation techniques and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
3. Maintain Healthy Eating Habits:
Divorce can lead to changes in appetite, but turning to unhealthy comfort foods can worsen your physical well-being. Try to maintain a balanced diet, even when your appetite is diminished.
4. Watch Alcohol Consumption:
Be mindful of alcohol intake, as it can increase during divorce. Men, in particular, are at risk of developing alcohol problems during this time.
5. Give Yourself Time:
Healing from divorce takes time. Embrace the grieving process and allow yourself to go through the emotional stages of grief. As the trauma fades, so will the physical effects.
Flounders found solace in time, rest, and spending quality moments with her beloved pets. It’s essential to remember that divorce is a major life adjustment, but with self-compassion and the right support, you can gradually rebuild your well-being.
Divorce is undeniably challenging, but by taking practical steps to prioritise your health, you can emerge from the experience stronger and better equipped for the future.