Protect Your Own Well Being. Part 2
Let’s talk about your physical well-being. It’s been proven that stress can do very serious, long term harm to your body over time, and there is probably not many things more stressful than going through a divorce. But I absolutely believe that one of the things that helped me the most during my own divorce was my own renewed commitment to get myself into the best shape I could. Being in good shape is it’s own reward, you’ll have more energy, the exercise will help to offset the negative affects of the stress you’re going through, and you’ll feel better about yourself which can only help you move on faster to life beyond this divorce. I also believe that there is no better road map for getting yourself into the best shape you can be than Body For Life. But whatever plan you follow, you will benefit both in the short and the long term by getting or keeping yourself in good physical shape. Now I must issue the standard warning here, if you haven’t exercised regularly, please consult your doctor for a checkup before you head off to the gym.
Before we move on to the mental fitness part of this section, let’s talk more about physical fitness. I’m talking about getting yourself on a serious, consistent workout plan. I’m talking about getting yourself into the habit of exercising regularly. I can almost guarantee that you will feel better, look better and have a better attitude if you’ll get off your butt and get some exercise. How much you get is up to you, but believe me, the most benefits will come if you push yourself a little. There are two things that happen here, if you really get focused on getting yourself into shape. First of all, your body responds by burning off fat, cranking up your metabolism and flushing out some of the toxins that have built up. Secondly, as you body begins to transform into one even mildly better conditioned than it was, your mental outlook can’t help but transform along with it. I promise you, if you get yourself to the point where you like what you see in the mirror, you are well on the way to a full recovery. If you don’t exercise, particularly as you go through something as negative as a divorce, the cumulative affects of the stress will add up and continue to send you on a downward spiral in terms of your own self-image. Understand this, everyone feels rejected during a divorce. It’s nearly impossible not to worry that you’re not attractive enough, and that being unattractive, your hopes of ever finding love again are dismal. The most powerful way to fight this negative belief is to build up your own self image by improving the way you look and feel.
Mental fitness might be the harder part of the good health equation as your work your way through this life altering event. At first, your emotions will be all over the board, you may feel anguish one moment and relief the next. But most likely, you’ll be suffering mentally through a series of normal grief related feelings. You will probably feel anger at times, sorrow, fear and sadness. These feelings are completely normal, even if you are the one who chose to end the marriage. You’ll need to allow yourself some time to feel each of these emotions if you’re going to grieve normally, and ultimately to recover completely. But as you are going through this process, you can also help yourself to stay mentally healthy by making a commitment to yourself to stay as positive as possible. It’s easy to sink into a deep well of self-pity when a relationship breaks up, and the deeper you go into this well, the harder it will be to pull yourself out of it. This is not the time to try to be totally self-reliant either. Seek out friends who can provide comfort and company, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Many times, spending a little time with a qualified professional counselor or therapist can help you tremendously as you struggle to deal with the flood of negative emotions that are trying to drag you down.
There doesn’t need to be any stigma attached to getting some professional help with your emotional well being as you go through a divorce, any more that there would be in going to a doctor for help with healing a broken bone. A therapist or counselor will be able to help you understand and navigate through the grieving process, without getting stuck in it. And if you allow yourself to grieve normally, you will get through the process and find yourself capable of loving again at some point in the not too distant future. If you try to go it alone, you may find that you move on too fast, or for the wrong reasons, or you may simply repeat the mistakes that were made in your first marriage. Another very good book we’ve come across on this topic is “Mars & Venus, starting over.” Keeping with the popular “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” vein, this book explores the different ways that men and women react to divorce, and can be helpful in guiding you through your own grieving process.