Nurturing Healthy Habits During Unbalanced Family Situations

If you are going through a divorce, your stress levels are already high, and it’s even worse if there are children involved. When you’re in the middle of a custody battle, each side’s emotions are running hot because parental instincts are kicking in for both you and your ex.

Usually, both people want what’s best for the child, but they can’t agree on what exactly that means. With whom should the child live? Who can provide the best environment for them to grow? The best education? The most stable home?

These are the questions that both parents should be asking before hiring costly child custody lawyers, but when two people are going through a divorce, they don’t always behave rationally. The stress gets to them, and they begin to put their feet down on issues they may have been willing to compromise on otherwise.

Stick to a healthy diet.

A healthy diet is often one of the first things to go out the window when a couple enters divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, that only serves to make things worse. If your body doesn’t receive the nutrition it requires, then it can suffer from negative effects like weight gain or loss, high blood pressure, or other problems.

Often, when people are in a stressful situation, they turn to comfort foods, which are often unhealthy. While an occasional indulgence can actually serve to make things better, letting emotional binging become a habit will only make things worse in the end. Instead of overindulging on high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar foods, keep a few healthy options that you enjoy on hand. Keep a variety to satisfy specific cravings—peanuts, if you like salty foods, a small amount of cheese if you need protein, or even a small piece of chocolate, if you’re craving something with sugar. The key is moderation—you can have a treat, just don’t have too much of it all at once. At the same time, make sure that you’re getting all the vital nutrients you need so that you’re thinking clearly. Consider snacking on some fresh vegetables from time to time.

Develop healthy sleeping habits.

While getting any sleep when you’re going through a divorce or custody battle may be a tall order, it’s a vital part of surviving during a stressful time. When you lose sleep, your body stops functioning properly and impacts your mental functions. This leads to confusion and completely out-of-control emotions, which only serve to worsen your stress. In one 2013 study, 80 percent of respondents said that a lack of sleep made it more difficult to concentrated and increased their stress levels.

While sleeping may be difficult, there are a few tips you can keep in mind as you try to get some rest. Give yourself some time to wind down before you go to bed. Turn off all of your electronics an hour or two before you go to bed for the night. Take a warm bath if you can, and consider adding some soothing essential oils. Try taking a walk after dinner. It can stimulate your body and help you to burn off some extra energy before bedtime.

Write your thoughts down.

Keeping a journal can help you to keep your thoughts sorted and serve as an outlet for your emotions. Getting those feelings down on paper is often just just what you need to allow them to dissipate.

Take a few minutes every day to write in your journal. It doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just give yourself  the opportunity to record your thoughts, observations, and the way you’re feeling. Hopefully, as time passes, you’ll be able to return to that book and take note of how far you’ve come.

Take a break from social media.

Social media can be a fun way to stay in touch with friends, but it can also be a source of stress. You may not even recognize the effect it has on you, because it comes so gradually. It might be tempting to write a post that lists out everything awful your ex ever did to you, or you might be tempted to leave subtle jabs at him or her. The problem is that, while you may feel validated for a brief moment, that feeling dissipates quickly.

Even if you don’t post anything, you’re subjecting yourself to everyone else’s posts, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re positive or negative. Positive posts can leave you depressed, comparing your life to others, while negative posts never make anyone feel better over the long term. Instead of spending all your time looking at idealized versions of other people’s lives, reach out to your friends and make a connection with them in person.

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