I frequently advise my clients going through a divorce or separation that self-care is so important. It comes as no surprise that divorce is stressful. Be it managing day-to-day life, worries about your children, fear of the future and resolving financial matters the process is full of complicated and emotional hot spots.
The role of a divorce lawyer is to support clients through clear and positive advice and to help find a resolution smoothly and swiftly. A good divorce lawyer will reassure you that you’re not alone and make the, sometimes, confusing legal language accessible and understandable.
We can certainly help to dial down the stress, but I cannot say enough about the importance of self-care. It is not selfish. It will help you to find the headspace you need to make well-informed and calm decisions about you and your family’s future.
The ‘wellness and mindfulness’ movement can feel intimidating at the start, but I always say to clients that the biggest impact is caused by small, simple changes.
Here are five of my favourites:
Move, we all know the benefits of exercise on our bodies and mind and I couldn’t agree more. Being active, in whatever way works for you, is such a vital tool in caring for yourself. Take a walk, jog or run in the fresh air. Try a yoga class. Go swimming.
Meditate, something I know that some clients have struggled with but if you find the right technique for you it really can make a positive difference in your stress levels. Apps such as Headspace and Calm are useful with lots of guided meditations. Or take your meditation outside and practise mindful walking; a simple technique of walking whilst being aware of every step and breath. It can be practised anywhere, country or city.
Switch off, we are so consumed by 24-hour information feeds on our tablets, TVs, phones etc. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly at a time of heightened anxiety and stress. A key piece of advice I give to my clients is to, where possible, take a break from social media. Not only can the information you share impact on your case outcome but looking at the fake world presented on the channels can add to unfounded feelings of failure.
Eat well, we all know the importance of nutrition and that a healthy diet means a healthy mind, but it is true. What we eat, and drink affects how we feel, act and behave. Some simple tips: reduce caffeine, alcohol, sugar and processed foods. Focus instead on fresh produce and fill your plate with colourful fruit and vegetables. Try nourishing and warming food that is easy on your digestion. Even a hot drink (caffeine-free) can help to calm your central nervous system.
Sleep, easier said than done when your mind is racing, and you are pacing at 2 am worrying about paying the mortgage but any sleep hygiene can help. I had one client that swore by a hot lavender bath every night. Another found setting a strict bedtime routine helped including no TV or device after 9 pm. Again, it’s a personal thing but getting your sleep back on track has a positive impact on your well-being.
Good common-sense advice but I often find my clients throughout their divorce or separation worry about how it will impact on everybody else and neglect themselves at a time when they need it the most. Small changes do make the biggest difference and keeping yourself healthy and rested will benefit you and all those around you.
Get in touch
Louise Chipchase is the Managing Partner of Stowe Family Law in Cheltenham. She has extensive experience in all aspects of family law including divorce, financial settlements, cohabitation and nuptial agreements.
If you would like any advice on divorce or separation please do contact her at [email protected] or on the numbers below.
You will find a list of useful support organisations to help you through any divorce or relationship issues here (Thanks to ITV This Morning).