Divorce is a stressful time. It is a time of uncertainty, change, emotional challenges, upheaval, and is fraught with problems needing to be solved. While there are ways to reduce the stress by getting good guidance from the right professionals and choosing divorce mediation to remove the stress and uncertainty of the Courts from the equation, there remains all the stressors from the life changes that necessarily occur during divorce that make even the most amicable of divorces taxing. Add other stresses to the mix such as the upcoming holidays, challenges at work, difficulties with the children and any other naturally occurring obstacles and the stress can start to pile on. There are very important decisions that need to be made by couples going through divorce so it is imperative that we find ways to keep the stress in check so we are in a good place to make the best decisions.
I recently sat down with Thomas Padilla, fitness and nutrition coach with THP Fitness in Chula Vista. I asked him if he could provide any insights and pointers on how divorcing couples might best manage the stress that naturally arises from divorce. Thomas’ guidance is a great reminder of how important it is to take care of ourselves as we negotiate our busy lives. Here is what he had to say:
- Improve the quality of your foods. Improving the quality of your foods will help you feel better overall. More energy. More mental clarity. Less inflammation. Better mood. And an increased desire to want to exercise. Think lean proteins, colorful fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Minimally processed. Ideally, no processing
- Exercise. Engage in exercises meant to make your body feel GOOD. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. This could be taking a 10 to 15 minute walk. This could be doing the elliptical for 10 to 15 minutes. This could be a 20 minute strength training session. It’s a common misconception that you need to workout at a high intensity. It’s more about consistency really. Doing that will improve your overall mood and energy levels. It will decrease stress and allow you to cope in a healthy way.
- Get out in some fresh air and some sunshine. Being outside is stress relieving in and of itself. Being in nature. Feeling the sun warm up your skin. Breathing the fresh cool air. Getting outside of a stuffy home or office can be very beneficial. Exposing yourself to sunshine will also regulate your sleep patterns and help you sleep more soundly at night.
- Sleep 7 to 9 hours per night. Sleep is the most underused performance-enhancing drug there is. Sleep will regulate all of your hormones and keep them at healthy levels. It will keep your metabolism strong. Your immune system strong. And help you wake up with more energy and mental clarity. Getting 7 to 9 hours per night will keep your cortisol levels (a stress hormone) low.
- Take 10 deep breaths. Deep breathing will affect your nervous system in a positive way. It will help you switch from the “fight or flight“ to the “rest and digest“ nervous system. Shallow breathing and constantly thinking about stressful thoughts will elevate your cortisol levels. This will do a number on your metabolism and your immune system. Stop. Take some deep breaths. And clear your mind.
It seems that when we are experiencing the highest levels of stress and when we get the busiest in our lives that we don’t eat right, we don’t exercise, we don’t get the sleep we need, we don’t slow down in nature and we don’t take that step back to breath and quiet our minds. Taking just a little bit of time to take care of ourselves will place us in the optimum position to make good decisions and maintain our sanity through trying times.
For more tips from Thomas Padilla check out THP Fitness.