Are you struggling with staying active after divorce? Is your health deteriorating?
Divorce brings about many changes in an individual’s life. Financial matters, upheaval to routines, a different plan for the future, and changes to insurance plans and beneficiaries are just a few of the many changes an individual may experience.
Going through a divorce can also wreak havoc on our health. It can affect our physical, emotional, and mental health. Investing in your health is one of the most important things you can do during and after a divorce.
Here are healthy eating and physical activity tips to improve physical, mental, and emotional health during and after a divorce.
Tips for Healthy Eating and Staying Active During Divorce
If You Are Overeating
Divorce can impact our eating habits and can be a trigger for emotional eating. One step to prevent overeating is to keep treats and less healthy snacks out of the house. If the temptation is not there, you will not be able to overeat. Keep healthy options around such as cut fruit and vegetables.
Plan healthy meals ahead of time or meal prep one or two days of the week. This will keep you on track to plan and cook healthy meals for you and your family.
Lean protein, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products are healthy options that have lots of nutrients for good health. One other tip is to allow yourself one small indulgence daily like a piece of dark chocolate or one small cookie. Better yet, eat a piece of fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Overeating can lead to weight gain, which can affect self-esteem and put you at higher risk for many chronic health conditions. Keep your overeating and overall weight in check by managing your diet and staying active during divorce, even when it may seem difficult to do so.
If You are Undereating
While some may overeat during times of stress and anxiety, others might find their appetite disappearing. You may find yourself with a lack of hunger and appetite which can cause you to undereat and miss out on important nutrients for energy and body functioning.
If this is the case, there are a few tips on how to at least get some important nutrients despite not being in the mood to eat.
Make sure you get enough protein daily. A pre-made protein shake is an easy option to grab for a meal if you find yourself not in the mood to cook or plan a meal. Smoothies or protein shakes are also a great idea. Add some fruit, juice, protein powder, milk or yogurt, and even spinach or kale to get a variety of nutrients in a convenient and quick option.
Simple meals like soup and salad can be nutritious, convenient, and easy to eat when you are not hungry. Consider adding a daily multivitamin to supplement your diet with some nutrients and minerals you are probably lacking due to undereating.
Meet a friend or family member for a meal out. Sometimes the social nature of catching up with loved ones while enjoying a meal can help encourage you to eat a meal.
If You Lack Motivation to Stay Active
It is also possible that your motivation to keep up with your normal exercise routine is waning due to all the other pressures in your life.
Plan a daily walk into your schedule. Just try to go for a 10 to 15-minute walk every day to see if it helps you feel better. If you have dogs, commit to walking them at least once a day. They need exercise, too, and it’s a way to get yourself moving at the same time.
Invite a friend, family member, or neighbor to join you for a daily walk or for your exercise session to catch up and socialize. This could be the motivation you need that helps you stay accountable.
If you were a regular exerciser before your divorce, keeping up with your routine will help you feel accomplished, relieve stress, have a social outlet, and make you feel better both physically and mentally.
Find a beginner exercise program online to follow or try a yoga video on YouTube. There are also streaming services that have coached runs, walks, and a variety of exercise routines. Refer to this time block of physical activity as your “me” time. Commit to an exercise routine that will help you feel like the best “you” that you can be.
If You are Having Sleeping Problems
Insomnia, sleeplessness, and trouble sleeping are common issues when working through a divorce. Sleeping is not always just related to physical activity and healthy eating, but there are ways these two habits can improve sleep.
There is evidence that magnesium helps with sleep. Research shows that diets low in magnesium may result in trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Foods high in magnesium include nuts, spinach, cereal, beans, soy milk, and peanut butter.
Melatonin helps regulate your Circadian rhythm, which is what helps regulate your sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin is found in a variety of foods, and there are numerous melatonin supplements available.
Some foods that help with sleep include cherries, turkey, nuts, tea, or dairy products. Cherries include melatonin, and nuts have magnesium. Turkey and dairy products have tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that relates to relaxation. Decaffeinated tea also helps with relaxation.
Exercise also helps improve your sleep. Keeping up with your exercise routine helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and sleep deeper. There is no magic number, but some evidence points to around 30 minutes daily of aerobic exercise means improved sleep that same night.
Take Care of Yourself
Outside of exercise and nutrition, get into a good bedtime routine. Maybe that means taking a relaxing bath, reading a calming book, implementing a meditation or prayer practice, journaling, or other calming techniques.
Most of all, take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. Self-care is one of the most important things you can do to come out on the other side of divorce. Taking care of yourself will help you feel your best after a divorce.
Also, things like journaling, seeing a therapist or counselor, and being social are also important. When it comes to health, physical health is important, but so is emotional and mental health.
Things like meal planning, meal prepping, going out to eat with friends, being physically active, and setting goals are all ways to keep yourself busy. Staying busy helps keep your thoughts away from the stress of a divorce, and all of these activities will help you stay healthy in the middle of such a high-stress situation.
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