Separation is a life changing event. It’s a challenging time, even if you know it’s the best outcome for you and your family in the long term. There are so many considerations and decisions to make around property, the children, living arrangements and your future financial position (just to name a few). With all this going on, it’s easy to forget about YOU, your health and well being. Here are our five tips for better health during your separation.
1. Take some time each day to stop and breathe
If you’re into yoga or meditation you will know that this is not the time to stop practicing these techniques. Separation is stressful and overwhelming so taking the time to focus on the ‘now’ can help to ground you. If these activities are not your thing, that’s ok. You can still take some time each day to pause, draw a few deep breaths, recognise and acknowledge how you’re feeling and reset yourself, even if only for a few moments.
2. Get proper sleep
When you’re going through a stressful time it’s easy to lay awake at night thinking about 1,001 things and it’s not uncommon for a ticking mind to still be awake in the early hours of the morning. Lack of sleep (and proper sleep at that) has an affect on your ability to function properly the next day. Long-term lack of sleep is associated with a range of health problems, especially when combined with stress. After long periods of disrupted sleep you’ll need to teach your mind and body to be ready for good sleep again. Find a routine you enjoy to help you wind down at bedtime such as a warm shower or bath, calm music or aromatherapy using lavender. Avoid using electronic devices and bright lights in the lead up to bedtime to help your body’s natural rhythms kick in.
3. Try to maintain a healthy diet
Many people lose their appetite during traumatic events such as separation. On the flip side, it’s also common for some people to increase their intake of take away food as your normal routine isn’t happening. Try to keep up your nutrition by having at least one to two healthy meals a day. Focus on a good home made breakfast and snack on fruit, vegetables and nuts to keep your nutrients up. You’ll feel better for it in the short and long term.
4. Take the time to do the things you enjoy
Separation often brings on a change in your routine which can add more stress to an already challenging situation. Make an effort to stick to some of the things that you really enjoy, the things that make you happy. It can be as simple as curling up on the lounge to enjoy a coffee and read a book or heading outside for a walk while the kids ride their bikes. You may even want to consider trying something new that you’ve been wanting to do such as a cooking class or joining the gym.
5. Don’t stop moving your body!
You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Regular exercise will help clear your mind and keep your energy levels up. A brisk walk three to five days a week gets your muscles moving and gives you quality time with yourself. Resistance training, boot camp classes and boxing classes are also great ways to release some frustration and work up a sweat.
If you feel like you can’t cope it’s important to urgently seek help from a professional such as a Counsellor or Psychologist. You can also call Lifeline Australia for crisis support on 13 11 14.
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