Since 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce, “till death do us part” may be wishful thinking. The problem is that no one thinks their marriage could end in divorce, so the end is always painful, and even a little surprising.
There’s a line in the 1985 movie, “St. Elmo’s Fire,” that helps to sum up marriage and the likelihood of it ending badly: “Marriage is a concept invented by people who were lucky to make it to 20 without being eaten by dinosaurs.”
Yes, people and dinosaurs never roamed the earth at the same time, unless you count “The Flintstones.” But this quote brings up something else, beyond new hobbies, that may help you during this troubling time: laughter. As in, the best medicine.
Life doesn’t end with divorce. In fact, it could be viewed as a beginning — though, finding a positive spin on anything while going through a divorce could be challenging. This is why we’re sharing new and fun activities you can try to help take your mind off things for a while and relieve some of that stress you’re experiencing.
Activities That Will Distract You From the Stress of Divorce
Exercise Away Those Divorce Woes
If you’re feeling particularly stressed out, exercise may be exactly what you need. The problem with stress is that it wasn’t meant to be constant, as in chronic, stress. Your fight-or-flight response mechanism is a function of having to outrun a saber-toothed tiger or for lifting a car off your foot.
That function wasn’t meant to be triggered during a divorce, when no bodily threats may exist. Exercise is the perfect way to quiet the fight-or-flight response and thus relieve some of that chronic stress.
Besides relieving stress, exercise releases endorphins — those brain chemicals that act as mood enhancers. Exercise also normalizes your circadian rhythms, which helps to improve sleep. And better sleep will do much to improve mood and relieve stress.
What do you enjoy doing? If you’re not sure how to answer this question, think about when you were a child. What did you most enjoy doing then?
If you’re looking for an activity you can enjoy with others, consider sports leagues. Even in the winter, you can probably find a few. And while bowling may not be considered exercise, it could help take your mind off of — well, you know.
Hockey, ice fishing, and downhill or cross-country skiing are all excellent wintertime options. And if you’re opposed to doing anything in freezing temperatures, consider some indoor pursuits, like joining a gym.
There’s always a gym close by, regardless of where you live. All of them will have cardio equipment and weights. And many will have basketball and racquetball courts, along with classes you can join. How about boxing? What better way to relieve stress? And infinitely safer than punching a wall.
Whether you want the company of others or you want to exercise alone, there are dozens of options available to you. If nothing else, the pain and exhaustion you’ll experience from a rigorous workout will occupy your mind for a bit.
Body and Mind for the Whole You
Since divorce can be an emotional, mental, and spiritual gut punch, why not try some activities that are especially suited to improving the whole you? Yoga, tai chi, and meditation are all excellent options. And if you haven’t tried yoga before, it’s not nearly as easy as it looks.
Yoga is a combination of mind, body, and breathing, as it helps to stabilize you in all three areas. Quieting the mind during a divorce can be difficult. And there’s an interesting connection between breathing and stress that could benefit you during this trying time.
When you’re feeling stressed, your breath naturally becomes shallower. To reverse this, breathe deeply, and watch that stress melt away.
Meditation is another great stress reliever and will do wonders for your mental and emotional health. You don’t need any equipment, and it only takes 10-15 minutes a day to experience the benefits, which have been shown to include relief from anxiety and worry.
If you’re the type of person whose brain is too active for meditation, give guided meditation a try. Some programs even include binaural beats which help put your mind into the right brainwave state, which in this case is theta.
Other Great Hobbies to Pursue
Finding an activity that’s right for you is the goal, whether it involves physicality or not. The important thing is to find something you enjoy doing and something that will get your mind off your divorce-related troubles for a while.
OK, so maybe ice fishing sounds horrible. But there are other options, as there are warmer climates. Why not take a little winter vacation down south and do some charter fishing? At the very least, you’ll get a tan and have an excuse to crack open a few beers.
Get out in nature. Go for a walk. Get some binoculars and take up birdwatching. Being alone in nature and surrounded by more trees than people has a way of reminding us that there’s something bigger than ourselves. And when you’re out there, breathe deeply, and combine those stress-relief benefits with the benefits of breathing in cleaner air.
How about journaling? Something magical happens when we write down our innermost thoughts. Writing down our troubles has a way of making them less powerful. Perhaps it’s because journaling is like talking to a friend who only listens.
If you’re the artistic sort, there are dozens of new hobbies you can pursue. From glassblowing to macrame to woodworking, there’s something for everyone when it comes to making and creating things from scratch. Even cooking; after all, everyone has to eat.
When going through a divorce, you may be tempted to shut yourself in more. This would be a mistake. Get out!
Take some college courses. Consider putting your years of experience and know-how to use in the classroom as a teacher.
How about drone piloting? It’s the perfect activity to do with your kids. The important thing is to get out, try new things, and find joy again, even if that doesn’t seem possible in the moment.
The author and philosopher Joseph Campbell once famously wrote, “The warrior’s approach is to say ‘yes’ to life: ‘yes’ to it all. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”
Many years after his death, this say-yes movement has gained in popularity and has been responsible for improving the lives and happiness of many people. And it’s easy to do; all you have to do is stop saying, No. And say, Yes, instead!