Health with Divorce

Keeping Healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit, After Divorce

photo-1498568715259-5c1dc96aa8e7 - CopyAnyone who has been through a divorce will easily understand why the process ranks second in the iconic Holmes and Rahe stress scale. Such a big change in one’s personal life has a significant impact on your financial situation, home stability, and, sometimes, social status. Living a happy, healthy life post-divorce can be challenging, but it can definitely be achieved by keeping your body and mind in optimal shape. In this post, we discuss the importance of approaching health in an integrated manner, during the post-divorce weeks and months.

What Happens to Your Body when You are Stressed?

Stress is more than a state of worry or anxiety; when present chronically, it can cause elevated blood pressure, digestive problems, and headaches, and it is linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. There are no big secrets when it comes to being physically fit. Daily exercise (aim for 30 to 40 minutes) and a sound, Mediterranean diet (comprising lean proteins, seasonal fruits and veggies, nuts, and healthy fats such as olive and flaxseed oil) are key.

Foods for Life and Adaptogens

Stressful times call for extra measures, and this means placing a bigger emphasis on life-enhancing superfoods such as apples (linked to a reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes), apricots (which are a known immunity booster) and blueberries (rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid thought to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes). These are just a few of a vast list of superfoods, so feel free to experiment with new ones depending on the results you wish to achieve.

Back these up if you are feeling low with amazing adaptogens. As noted by beauty guru, Leslie Kenton, these are herbs and roots that “improve your ability to adapt to all forms of stress, while at the same time helping to normalize its biochemical effects.”

Some of the best known adaptogens include Siberian ginseng (thought to promote better sleep, increased stamina, and clearer thinking), suma (a wild root said to raise energy levels and increase endurance), and echinacea (an excellent detoxifying supplement).

Making Room for Mindfulness

Mindfulness based activities such as yoga and meditation are currently used across the globe in top centers catering to a numerous conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Yoga is also recommended to deal with stress caused by diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and heart disease, with researchers strongly recommending this millenary practise as a complementary therapy following their successful findings.

Study after study has shown that yoga, meditation and even Tai Chi significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, and boost energy levels and mood. Scientists belief their success has to do with their emphasis on mind-body control and on pranayamic breathing (which is a powerful way to stop a panic attack in its tracks, as well as keep the mind ‘in the here and now’, instead of focused on the past or in a state of worry about the future).

When going through a divorce, it is vital to approach health and fitness from a multi-faceted perspective that encompasses both traditional healthy nutrition and exercise, as well as activities that work on a mental and spiritual plane. By committing to yourself and exercising self-compassion, health and wellbeing can be two core values that shape your life for the better.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

Having Happier, Healthier Post-Divorce Holidays

Weathering the holidays after a divorce can be difficult for a newly-single parent. You’re trying to make sure the season is a fun, festive time for kids whose family photos will likely look a lot different this year than last, while possibly balancing the wants and needs of the other parent.  

But, even with all of those demands, it’s critical to take care of your own physical and mental health, particularly if the despair of divorce left you depressed. Here are some suggestions that could help you and your loved ones have a happier holiday season. 

Share the Season 

Under most circumstances, both divorced parents should share the joys of the season with their children. To make that as painless as possible for everyone involved, it’s important to set a schedule you can agree on and communicate clearly. Rather than visiting one another’s new homes — which may well be decked with holiday decorations you once shared, or sadly under-adorned — consider dropping off and picking up the kids on some neutral ground that’s festively festooned for the season.   

If the kids are staying with your ex for a while, make plans to spend time with others rather than going it alone. You may also consider joining a support group or signing up for volunteer opportunities. Doing for others will help keep you from dwelling on your divorce, according to Divorce Magazine. Studies have also shown that volunteering can lower depression, increase people’s sense of well being, and even lead to a longer life span. Experts say the positive effects could come from the good feelings volunteering creates, the increased social connections, or the simple act of getting off the couch.   

In addition to making time for others, you should devote some days to self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating right, and exercising. Burning off some calories justifies some guilt-free holiday indulgences. Finding time during the hectic holiday season to work up a sweat and balancing good nutrition with an occasional slice of pie will also help boost your spirits without having the same effect on your weight.  

Watch the Weather 

If your mood declines with the temperature, don’t discount depression as a run-of-the-mill bout with the winter blues. It might be a case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For most, symptoms start in the fall, stretch into the winter months, and become more pronounced as the season continues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it’s less common, spring and summer bring on seasonal affective disorder for some. In either case, symptoms could include changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.   

Specifically, symptoms of fall- and winter-onset seasonal affective disorder could include:  

  • Oversleeping 
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates 
  • Weight gain 
  • Tiredness or low energy   

It’s normal to have some down days, especially after a life-changing event like divorce. But if you feel depressed for extended stretches and can’t get excited and motivated to participate in activities you typically enjoy, it might be time to seek help. This is especially true if your appetite and sleep habits have changed or if you indulge in alcohol to feel comfortable or relaxed. If you have persistent thoughts of death or suicide, it’s critical to call your doctor even if you haven’t experienced other signs of depression.    

After a divorce, you may feel as though you’re doing double duty as a parent during the holidays. But taking care of your own physical and mental well-being when you have so much to do for friends and family isn’t seasonal selfishness. Rather, it’s essential to helping everyone have a happier, healthier holiday season that will bring up warm memories for years to come. 

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website http://learnfit.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get in Shape for Free: A Fitness Guide for Single Parents

Engaging in regular exercise is one of the smartest investments anyone can make, especially if you’re a single parent who needs the energy to keep up with her kids. And when we say “investment” we’re talking about time and effort, not money. To show you what we mean, here are several free (or almost free) ways to get in shape. Use these tips to give you the guidance and motivation you need to achieve your fitness goals.

Stick With the Basics 

TV programs love to show images of people with big arms and sculpted abs. The purpose behind most of these promos is to sell you some kind of overpriced product, usually with the promise that it will turn you into a superhero. Sadly, the real world never works that way. Most home fitness machines end up as overpriced coat hangers or yard sale merchandise. So skip the gadgets and start with these four classic routines instead:

  1. Pushups. This one exercise can do you more good than all the fitness products on the market. It strengthens the arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and even the legs. Plus, it costs you nothing. You need only a small amount of space and the motivation to improve yourself. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do a standard push-up right away. There’s no shame in starting at the intermediate level by bending your knees. Soon you’ll be pumping them out with the best of ’em.
  2. Situps or leg raises. This exercise will bulk you up without draining your wallet. Some people have trouble doing sit-ups because of neck or back issues. If that sounds like you, then leg raises are a great alternative, according to the fitness experts at the New York Times.
  3. Squats/deep knee bends. Not only will this exercise give your legs a great workout, it’s a perfect way to get cardio benefits at the same time. The burpee is a more advanced variation of the squat, one that combines the benefits of squats and pushups while getting your heart going.
  4. Walking. Yep, you read that right. According to Mayo Clinic, you can enjoy fantastic health benefits simply by putting one foot in front of the other. Start by walking 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, then increase the intensity by picking up your pace or walking hills as time goes on. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and dress with the weather in mind.

Staying Motivated 

We all know that lack of motivation is the reason why most people fail to exercise. So don’t feel bad if your biggest challenge is summoning the willpower to succeed. You’re far from alone. Here are some proven ways to turn your lethargy into a lust for fitness:

  • Have a workout partner. The two of you can keep each other pumped as you sweat the pounds away. Your children can also accompany you in a stroller, on foot, or even a scooter or bike.
  • Give yourself positive feedback each time you complete a routine. For example, you may allow yourself a new workout shirt in return for week of cardio workouts.
  • Visualize the results. Picturing yourself as the person you want to be can inspire you to get off the couch and get moving. Try it.

After a few months of commitment to the above, you may consider expanding the workouts you try. You can add simple (and relatively cheap) items to your home gym to start incorporating more advanced exercises into your routine. By doing so, you’ll continue to see results month after month.

Get on the road to a new and better you starting today – you’ll look back on the decision as one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself.

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website http://learnfit.org/