In the event of a divorce, you are likely to face unforeseen mental health problems. This can be the case regardless of whether you are the initiator of the divorce or on the other side of the matter.
As we know, the major life changers (e.g. moving house, changing jobs, or spouse) can create anxiety, depression, and other problems. According to the Life Change Index scale or stress test, divorce is more overwhelming than any other life event than the death of a loved one.
Mental health problems and divorce
I see this stress in my clients every day in my role as a divorce attorney in Salt Lake City. I invite you to take a moment to proactively take care of your sanity, with the same intent and care with which you are managing your divorce. While we may not share time zones, I am confident that divorce in Utah and healthy living across North America will translate into it.
Mental and physical health influence each other
Since your mental health affects your physical health and vice versa, knowing how to deal with both of them is important to get the best result during your divorce and as you build your new life. Fortunately, there are several sources available to help you with this.
The professional element: a life aid, if not a lifesaver
Hiring the best Utah divorce attorney isn’t the only advice my Utah clients need. I always advise them to treat their mental health problems with the same severity.
Licensed, professional advice is also helpful in the case of divorces by mutual agreement. With the right therapist, you can discuss how you are feeling as you deal with the divorce and as you look to the future. Together, you and your therapist can find ways to properly manage your mental health.
Remember, if left untreated, depression is a major cause of suicide. If you feel suicidal, get help right away. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
The mind-body connection and divorce
It is no coincidence that DivorcedMoms contributors have more initials than “Esq” (a term for “esquire” which confirms legal eligibility). In addition to the “MSW” (Master in Social Work), the participants probably carry the important alphabet soup not only of therapeutic competence, but also of medical expertise.
Seek a real connection with your doctor at any point in the divorce cycle. In finding this real connection, I invite you to open your emotional kimono. Do this by letting your doctor know that you are either thinking about or actively going through life’s second greatest stressor. Your doctor can offer you several ways to improve your mental and physical health. A doctor can suggest ways to manage your depression and anxiety. Supplements can include what we perceive to be heavier tools like medication and psychotherapy, on more mundane matters like diet, exercise, and more.
With regards to diet and exercise, here are some thoughts worth mentioning.
In terms of nutrition? Eat well. Depression can affect appetite. As we know, this can be a festival or a famine in which some have no appetite and others cannot stop eating. Foods like whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, nuts, and dark chocolate all help fight depression and anxiety.
In terms of movement? Keep moving. Even if it’s just a little, keep moving. Do what you can. James Russell Lowell, the 19th century American poet, had the wise phrase “Onward and Upward” that went on for over 100 years. This has real value in this challenging time. Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that help you feel better mentally and physically. Keep moving!
Networks that work for you
We hear it all the time. “Get a good support network.”
But what does that really mean?
Surrounding yourself with trusted friends and family members is at the core of developing, trusting, and growing a support network.
Friends can be a shoulder to cry on, whether in person or with the harsh reality of the Covid climate, virtually. Friends can also offer a different perspective. Even answering the phone or answering social media posts or emails is nourishment for your deserved soul.
Sleep and the temptation of social media and high-tech tchotchkes for hours
Wake up moments can be tough enough. Make friends with sleep. Lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus and function effectively.
The key to keeping sleep sacred is practicing “sleep hygiene”. This means avoiding discussing the divorce with anyone right before bed. This includes following a schedule, turning off the electronics and waiting for the time.
While communication is important, reading an email when it’s too late in the day to contact your attorney with any questions or concerns can add stress. Ask your attorney to text you if you need to see a time sensitive email. Otherwise, it might be helpful to save your checking your email for the morning.
Your lawyer is part of your trust network
In addition to your support network, you have a professional network of medical, therapeutic and legal resources at your disposal.
Trust your lawyer. You hired a lawyer to solve the big problems. With this wise decision, you have someone on your team who will make sure that things are handled in the best possible way. Trust her that she knows what actions and options are required. If you have any questions about what to do next and what is required of you, don’t hesitate to ask.
Maintaining Your Mental Health While Managing Your Divorce
As a domestic violence attorney in Salt Lake City, I practice what I preach. The building I own for my company is with a group for psychotherapy. Divorce is our second most intense stressor. We need to manage our physical and mental health while carefully managing the front-end, middle-end, and back-end of our divorces.