As we move into the final months of 2014, let’s talk about you. Specifically, your health and wellbeing as you navigate separation, co-parenting, or learning to live on your own again.

We all know divorce is stressful and research studies have given us an idea of just how much of an impact the process can have on our lives.

In 1967, psychiatrists Homes and Rahe studied medical records of more than 5,000 patients to determine if there was a link between stressful life events and illness. The feedback from patients and results were compiled into a survey called The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory. Divorce was listed as the second most stressful event, only behind the death of a spouse! 

And even with a follow-up study in 2001, researchers found that the results have shifted a bit for modern day to include things such as debt and unemployment, but divorce is still listed at number nine.

There’s no denying the impact divorce can have on your life, but there are ways to lessen your chances of letting this stress get you down.

It’s important to understand and recognize this reality, so you can take steps to stop stress in its tracks. 

So what can you do to ensure the stress doesn’t lead to illness in your own life?

1.      Stay physical

Get moving! Keep your body active not only for your overall health, but to release those feel-good endorphins that reduce your perception of pain. As a bonus, your confidence will improve as you feel better about doing something great for your body and you’ll notice you’re more comfortable in your own skin. Find an activity you love and enjoy this time to yourself.

2.      Maintain a healthy diet

Along with movement, your diet is an important component to warding off stress and illness. There’s a reason experts profess the need for a balanced diet – a balanced diet means a balanced you. There have been proven links between unhealthy meals lacking vital nutrients and the effect on your body and your stress levels. And you don’t have to jump on the green smoothie or juice bandwagon to benefit. There are numerous sites and articles devoted to sharing what foods to stay away from and what foods to include in your diet for maximum benefit. The short list to avoid includes caffeine, sugar, and fast food. Play around with new recipes proven to alleviate stress and see how your body reacts.

3.      Learn stress reducing techniques

The physical components to wellness help provide mental benefits as well, but don’t skip this one. You can start with just two minutes of focusing on your breath to bring awareness to the present and relax the tension in your body. Other practices include yoga, meditation, and journaling. You can take this step a bit further by investing the time to see a professional and ensure your mental health remains a priority in your life. When you’re centered and grounded, it’s easier to avoid letting stress take over your life and cause illness.

4.      Remain collaborative

Remaining collaborative with your ex throughout the separation process can ward off any extra legal related stress. Participating in mediation, rather than heading to court, saves time, money, and stress. Having the help and guidance throughout the process means you have clear expectations and won’t feel alone. You are empowered as you focus on solutions and your future. While the process can’t guarantee no stress, it can guarantee a less stressful environment than lengthy court battles.

Remember, this is a time to take care of you.

Spending extra time devoted to your health and wellbeing will help prevent a deluge of stress and possible illness. If you end up ill, it only expends more of your time and money.

It’s best to put these practices into place before it’s too late!