Like all good plans, this one is extremely simple and effective.
Divorce really takes it out of you. It’s an f-ing life changing event that’s thrown unexpectedly your way by the one person who promised to love you for the rest of your life. But…Surprise! (in a really horrible way) They don’t love you anymore.
You’ve spent years of your life investing in them and a marriage that didn’t work out. You can’t help looking at those years as wasted. And it’s this perspective, this view of your life that allows the situational depression of divorce to take root deeply and invade not only your life, but your soul.
I know you know you need to get this weed out of your life and yet the depression itself makes it difficult to do much about it.
But don’t worry. You can conquer the depression. You will feel happy again. And you can do it very simply. (Simply, yes. Easily, not necessarily.)
- Breathe – Yes, I know you’re already breathing but hear me out for a minute.
Our breathing changes when we’re feeling depressed. We breathe more shallowly and hold our breath.
To compensate for the lack of oxygen, we sigh or yawn frequently which both trigger us to remain in a depressed state.
Instead of sticking with the same old breathing, change things up and take breathing breaks throughout the day. Sit or stand tall and take in as much air as you can. Then, exhale forcefully. I mean I want everyone within 10 feet of you to know you’re exhaling. Take 3-5 of these deep breaths each time you take a breathing break. (Ideally, you’ll take a breathing break 4-8 times a day.)
And if you really want to up the ante on using breathing to help you conquer your situational depression post-divorce try this: Put your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height with the back of your hands together. As you breathe in, raise your arms (with the back of your hands still touching) until they’re directly overhead. Then, as you exhale, make fists and pull your arms down until your upper arms are level with your shoulders. (Yeah, you’ll look like you’re posing for a body building contest.)
The beauty about moving your arms around like this as you breathe is that you’ll release some of the tension in your shoulders and upper back. (I do this move just about every day.)
- Walk – Take at least one break every day to walk – ideally outside and without your phone. Pay attention to all that’s going on around you as you stroll. For most of us there’s something extremely healing about being outside and disconnected.
Besides the change of scenery, there are other benefits to walking. Getting your body in motion helps with digestion. Walking will also help you to maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mood and improve your balance and coordination. The Mayo Clinic even says that the faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits you’ll receive.
- Eat – Most people in the throes of divorce use food to help soothe their feelings. Some over eat while others under eat. (I was definitely an under eater when I was going through my divorce depression.)
However, by succumbing to the different and, frankly, bad eating habits you’ve developed to soothe yourself for the long term you maintain an environment for your post-divorce depression to thrive in. If you’re not feeding yourself well, you mess with your ability to think clearly which means that you’ll continue thinking the same depressing thoughts.
So choose to eat better for at least one meal each day. Maybe better means adding some more vegetables to your plate. Maybe better just means eating something. Whatever it means to you, do it.
Admittedly, these 3 tips are just the beginning for moving fully out of your post-divorce depression. But they’re a critical starting point for sustained changed because they are so achievable. And once you have success with these, you’ll be able to move on to more success in conquering your post-divorce depression.
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce coach and personal life coach helping people just like you who want to survive and thrive after divorce. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you're ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.
Looking for more support as you navigate life after divorce? Read more advice about Healing After Divorce.
This article was originally published on DivorceForce.