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I hardly ever let anyone write a post for me – 99.9 per cent of the witterings you see here are mine alone. But I really liked this post by Carly Morson, suggesting clever ways of keeping yourself together during that whole splitting up/divorcing process. Hope you find it useful.
Staying sane through divorce by Carly Morson
It sounds flippant, but I’m only half-joking with this title. The stress of divorce can stretch your tolerance so thin that sometimes madness can seem just one more bureaucratic solicitor’s letter away. I became so tense during my divorce that I began snapping at everyone, and that really isn’t a good way to live for long. Amidst the stack of divorce advice you’re no doubt receiving from friends, family, and those late night scourings of the internet, the most important is to make time to relax.
If you’re constantly tense, you may have to teach yourself how to relax again, be it through deep breathing exercises, swimming, watching old favourite films… Whatever you choose, and however busy you feel, it’s essential that you make time to relax, regularly, because maintained stress physically stops your immune system from functioning properly, and makes it much harder to make intelligent decisions about anything.
Deep breathing exercises physically relax your diaphragm and get oxygen to the stressed-out parts of your brain that need to be fully functional right now. Two of my favourite tips:
– taking it slowly but not asphyxiating yourself, breathe in for a count of five, hold for five, then out for another five. Pause, and then repeat – five times! Do this every couple of hours, when on the loo, on the bus or whenever you remember.
– imagine that your chest is naturally filled with air. Push your breath out. Then feel your chest refill, like a sponge expanding again after you’ve squeezed it.
Meditation, or mindfulness
These are essentially the same thing, but meditation has a more spiritual reputation. Both are methods of letting your thoughts drift off while you stay still and grow calm as you watch them go. People talk about the benefits of bringing yourself into the moment – if this commonly spouted phrase means nothing to you, just know that the physical and psychological benefits are provably enormous. Find a guided meditation that doesn’t put you off with dolphin noises or talk of spirit guides, and give it 20 minutes once a week, until you’re hooked.
You may expect to struggle with friends who are also close to your ex, but I’ve found that most folk are amazingly tactful, with never more than a few seconds of awkwardness when names are mentioned. It’s probably best to avoid the topic of your ex if you can, for everyone’s sake, but it’s important that you spend time relaxing with friends. If you have maintained friendships that weren’t shared with your ex, all the better – make time for them, as they’re crucial to your sanity right now.
On stage, or on the telly – just because you’re going through a traumatic experience doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about laughing. I would tell you about its medicinal benefits, and all the neurochemicals it releases that improve your mood, reduce your stress levels and make it easier to handle life – but that might make it less funny.
Go out amongst nature
Nature is scientifically proven to be relaxing! Unless you’re very unlucky, there will be a little patch of it somewhere close by. I live in the city, but volunteer at the tropical conservatory in my local park. It’s only once a fortnight, and I only water the plants, but I get to spend an hour, all by myself, in a nice warm miniature jungle, so it’s perfect even on cold days.