The process of divorce can present so much stress and so many new responsibilities. In this process, we can forget to take care of our personal needs. Life goes on—your children still need you, your professional responsibilities continue, and your personal life is changing. Legal demands and financial pressures are swirling around you. While it’s hard to prioritize yourself while you have so many other items on your to-do list, self-care is an important aspect of stress management.
How Self-Care Benefits You
When we’re depleted by physical and emotional exhaustion, we are less able to handle the stresses that come our way. Put another way, we are more resilient and better able to handle life’s stressors when we are feeling our best, both physically and emotionally. A massage, a hot bath, or another form of pampering revitalizes you inside and out. Taking time out to maintain self-care has many benefits.
May Boost Physical Health
While self-care doesn’t always lead to major improvements in overall health the way healthy diet and exercise do, the relaxation you get from it can trigger your mental and emotional relaxation response. In turn, this can prevent chronic stress from damaging your health. In a sense, self-care is good for you inside and out.
Can Improve Emotional Health
Taking time out to care for yourself during an especially draining time can remind you that your needs are important, too. Having a well-cared-for body can make you feel good about yourself and your life, and conveys to others that you value yourself. This can contribute to long-term health benefits and feelings of well-being.
“Taking time out to care for yourself during an especially draining time can remind you that your needs are important, too. Having a well-cared-for body can make you feel good about yourself and your life, and conveys to others that you value yourself.”Leah Hill | CEO and Owner, Divorce Strategies NW
Makes You a Better Parent and Friend
People who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves are at danger of deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem, feelings of resentment and depression. People who spend their time only taking care of others can be at risk of getting burned out, which makes it more difficult to care for others or themselves. Taking time to care for yourself regularly can make you a better caretaker for your family.
Self-Care for Stress Management
There are a variety of ways to focus on self-care. Many involve making time to get enough sleep, prioritizing healthy meals, ensuring a balance of leisure time in your schedule, and making time for friends.
A simple but often overlooked form of self-care is having a self-pampering experience on a regular basis in your own home. Taking a few hours for a spa experience is an effective way to manage stress.
Provide a Break from Stress
Taking a break in a tub of warm bubbles or under the warm hands of an experienced masseuse can help you feel like you’re escaping a stressful reality and taking a mental and emotional vacation. This triggers a relaxation response and allows you to come back to the reality of your situation feeling refreshed and revived.
Take Time Alone
While different people have varying degrees of introversion and extroversion, having some time alone is important for most people’s functioning. When you’re relaxing by yourself, it’s much easier to slip into a state of quiet meditation, enjoy some self-reflection, or let your problems work themselves out in the back of your mind without taking all of your focused concentration. The key is just being still, without any outside interruptions.
Generate Soothing Feelings
Giving your body special treatment is a natural way to relieve stress. Other than keeping your skin soft and your body in good repair, spa-related activities like massage and warm baths have been known to soothe a variety of ailments. Such activities continue to be effective tools for relaxation, but we can forget to utilize them.
Self-Care Strategies That Work
Once you’ve decided it’s time to start nurturing yourself and your body, intentionally plan some time for yourself (hint: book it on your calendar). Try to schedule a block of time when you won’t be interrupted.
Try a few of the following self-care strategies:
- Go for a brisk walk: Exercise can be just as good for your mind as it is for your body. Endorphins are a real thing! Although you might not always feel like you have time to hit the gym or to engage in an intense workout, a brisk walk can be an excellent self-care strategy to clear your head.
- Engage your senses: A good way to relax and find a sense of inner peace is to engage your senses. Consider taking a hot bath, light a scented candle, listen to soothing sounds, or drink some herbal tea.
- Get a massage: This can be an especially nice treat. If your budget doesn’t allow for regular massages with a professional, see if you can trade with a friend or family member.
- Take a bath: Get out the bubbles, oils, and scented soaps, and soak until you’re wrinkled. Listen to an amusing podcast or book on Audible, or select a relaxing musical playlist.
- Nourish your skin: Rich, luxurious creams smell wonderful and feel smooth, especially if you exfoliate your skin in the tub before putting them on.
- Schedule social time: An important part of self-care is maintaining your social connections. Make an effort to carve out time to see friends and family.
More substantial forms of self-care involving healthy lifestyle choices are important, too. Consuming a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and being sure you get enough sleep are all important for long-term health and stress management.
The process of dissolution is finite—it does not last forever. You will survive this! Modeling is an important part of parenting. Your children are watching how you handle stress and taking their cues from you. You being wiped out and depleted is not the role model you want for them.
The more you take care of yourself along the way, the more you will be able to handle the stressors of divorce. As you launch into your “new normal”, incorporate self-care strategies for yourself, and teach them to your children as well. Show yourself and the world that divorce is a part of your path; it does not define you.
Your Trusted Partner
Whether you’re contemplating a divorce, have already started the process, or are far into the proceedings, do you wish you had someone to share with you the inside scoop on how to save money, time and emotional energy on your divorce?
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