If you were to take a poll of people on the street and the question was to ask what is the least healthy stage of a person's life that they can go through, I am confident that more than a handful of people would answer going through a divorce. Certainly, divorce has a reputation for being unpleasant and unhealthy to the person who was going through it. Sometimes we go through periods of our lives where we undergo unpleasant events to drive some benefit.
I can think back to the summer after I graduated from law school and spent the better part of three months studying for the Texas bar exam. Instead of being out and about going swimming, exercising like I normally would, and generally being upright rather than sedentary, I found myself sitting at a desk many hours every day of the week for almost 3 months. The results on my health were predictable: I ended up gaining weight. I never had any blood work or diagnostic testing done, but I'm sure that if I would have it would have shown that my overall health would have taken a hit, as well.
On the plus side, I managed to pass the bar on my first attempt and have been a practicing attorney ever since. So, the temporary hit to my health was overall worth it, in my opinion. At the time, I was in my 20s and could bounce back from a bit of a weight gain. It also taught me an important lesson about the importance of physical fitness and never letting my guard down when it came to my health. I look back on that summer of being extremely sedentary as a necessary evil but one that I would never want to duplicate.
Most of you reading this blog post are not interested in stories about a young lawyer and their experiences studying for the bar exam. I imagine that most of you are facing even more significant circumstances in your own life regarding a divorce. For that reason, I wanted to take an opportunity today to discuss what it means to get a divorce and the potential impact it can have on your health and well-being. The reality is that no two divorces are the same, then no two people going through a divorce will experience the same. You may experience the same set of circumstances in your divorce much differently than your Co-parent.
In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share my thoughts on some of the ways that a divorce can negatively impact your health. Once we have discussed those negative impacts divorce can have on your health, I would then like to shift 2, helping you figure out ways to balance those negative impacts with different steps you can take to offset those negatives with proper focus on your health and well-being during an otherwise difficult divorce. It is not easy to be health-conscious during a divorce, but if you can do so, it can benefit not only you but your family and also the divorce case itself.
A divorce can impact your diet.
I NEEDED TO SHARE before I offer my thoughts and opinions on any subject related to a divorce in your health, but I am not a doctor. For those of you that read our blog posts here regularly, that should not surprise you. None of what you read in this blog post should be construed as medical advice. I am offering you my opinions based on my observations and experiences regarding divorce cases I have been involved in during the past few years. If you have specific questions about your health or any aspect of your life regarding medical matters, you should consult a doctor.
With that said, I think that being involved in a divorce can negatively impact your health from the perspective of your diet changing as a result of the case. Bear in mind that it is challenging to outwork or out-exercise a bad diet. This is something that I have been guilty of in my past as well. I have tried to overcome a mediocre diet with lots of exercises to continue to eat the foods that I wanted without any regard for my health. Especially as I have gotten older, I have figured out that you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet.
With that said, you need to keep an eye on how you are eating and eating. On the one hand, if you were like many people going through a traumatic situation, you may seek out bad food for yourself and not even understand why. Think about when you go traveling. Normally, most of us would think twice about drinking alcohol at odd times in the day, like in the morning or even during a lunch period; however, when you travel, your schedule is off-kilter, and you are seeking something comforting amid all the tumult. Your body Clock is not fixed on his normal time; then, you may end up wanting to consume foods or beverages that are not the healthiest.
On top of that, we can justify our actions by telling ourselves that we're just doing this for a temporary period in that overall, the impacts will be negligible on our health. However, I think this is a dangerous precedent to set in that we have to be aware that the decisions we make regarding our health can be long-lasting even if we don't appreciate that at the moment. The more you engage in risky behavior with her diet, the more likely it may be that that becomes a habit rather than just a one-off situation during a stressful time in your life. Be aware of what you are eating, and do not allow yourself to justify potentially negative actions due to the inhospitable climate.
I have also worked with clients who have taken on added work responsibilities or even a second job to pay for their divorce. These folks will end up working more hours and leave themselves less time for things like meal planning. Although it can be tedious to plan meals around your divorce, I think it is important. Simply planning can help you avoid resorting to fast food or eating out or quick meals that may be less nutritious than a preplanned meal. Sometimes it is unavoidable to have to eat on the run, which does not mean that this will always be the case. Rather than resort to excuses as to why you cannot plan your meals, it is sometimes better to think ahead and do what you can to prepare meals in advance.
My wife and I will often utilize our crockpot to help us meal plan effectively in my own house. A basic crockpot is not expensive and can be purchased at any grocery store or a major retailer. Recipes from the Internet are plentiful for free. I have seen recipes specifically tailored to eating on a budget where you can make crockpot meals on a Sunday and then eat those meals throughout the week. This will save you money and save you time and stress when it comes to cooking. The trick is finding a groove when cooking and learning how to approach the subject from a health-conscious perspective.
On the flip side, many people can experience stress associated with their divorce that is so severe that they stop eating as they should and begin to lose weight. I'm sure that some of you experienced things like this when you were in school, especially during periods like finals. I can remember back in law school or college how people would study around the Clock and forget to even eat meals like lunch and dinner. This is different than overeating or eating the wrong foods too often. Jess is that eating too much food is good for your health; not eating enough food can be bad for your health. The key is choosing a balanced diet that allows your body to remain healthy and maintaining a good and healthy weight for you throughout your case.
Again, seeking the advice of professionals when it comes to your diet is smart, especially when you may not be able to choose for yourself what your schedule looks like during a divorce. You may even check with your health insurance provider to determine whether or not your health insurance covers visits with a dietitian. Any help you can get on this front during your divorce is positive. Diet is an important part of your overall health that you need to be aware of the challenges a divorce will have in this area of your life. Once you can anticipate these challenges, you can better prepare for them once they come your way.
Impacts of divorce on your mental health
On the other hand, your mental health may also be impacted by the filing of a divorce. There is a relationship between your mental health and your physical well-being. My observations are that you can be ready for a divorce as much as you think you can, but the emotional aspects of divorce can take a toll on even the most prepared person. There are so many aspects of a divorce from an emotional perspective that can impact your life. There are stresses associated with changing your family significantly, the fear over your financial future, and the worry that you suffer from your children's lives being upended for some time.
Whether you believe it or not, you will suffer some degree of worry over your family's changes due to the divorce. Or, as before, you were living in a home with your spouse, you will be losing your partner and developing a new set of expectations regarding what your family looks like. Many people who go through divorce expect that the divorce itself will be cathartic and beneficial in an immediate sense. What I have found is that even if the overall impact of a divorce will be positive in the long run, in the short run, a divorce can have serious negative impacts on your relationships.
One thing to look out for is that the basis of your family life was your marriage for a considerable length of time. Even if that marriage has been struggling and is now on the way out, it still represents the basis for your family structure. As such, you should not take lightly the changes that you are making to that unit. Consider that your household of two adults will now become one. It would be best to consider that you or your spouse will be moving out of the house and into separate locations. The finality of this type of event is enough to create some mental health problems for many people who go through a divorce.
Next, we need to consider the financial implications of a divorce and how they can negatively impact your mental health. A necessary part of losing your spouse is that you are also losing their income. Your family budget has likely gotten used to having two incomes over time, and you will now need to adjust your lifestyle to only having one income. This can be especially stressful given that your expenses will only increase during a divorce, and your income will have decreased. You will be under a crunch to make sure that your budget functions during this transition period and that you are prepared for your financial life after a divorce.
Many people expressed worrying concern over their ability to work in the period after their divorce. For example, imagine that you were a stay-at-home mother for many years while your husband was the primary breadwinner in the family. While you certainly did your share of hard work raising children, tending to the home in supporting your spouse. In contrast, he worked there is a difference between this type of work and immediately transition into the workforce after a divorce.
A couple of concerns like these: I need to be able to retire and retain some retirement savings for myself, and you have a potentially combustible situation when it comes to stress and worry. The stress and worry that you can experience due to financial problems can be enough to drive you towards making bad decisions when it comes to your health. People with addiction problems can, unfortunately, manifest those addictions during extremely stressful times like a divorce. Not having control over your diet can also mean that you allow your stresses into poor eating habits. My advice would be 2 looks at yourself honestly in these regards and determine whether or not you have this sort of self-control necessary to prevent a set of difficult circumstances from spiraling out of control and negatively impacting your overall health.
Finally, if you are a parent, you likely will have some degree of concern over how the case will impact your children and your relationship with them. Based on my experiences, parents typically believe their children to be much more resilient than they are or much less resilient. I tend to think the reality is somewhere in the middle period, and most children can take the changes inherent in divorce and handle them better than we might anticipate. However, the impact of a divorce can still harm them because they may feel like disability in their life has temporarily come to an end.
Meanwhile, your mental health may suffer due to worrying over your children regarding an uncertain future and the problems that your child might have in their life as a result of this case. The best advice that I can provide is 2 maintain an open line of communication with your children and help them on their level regarding the changes in their lives. 300 children, simply stressing over and over that you and your Co-parent are not going anywhere in their lives may be enough to keep their heads up during a difficult period for older children, you may need to provide additional context and information on a more mature level to help them, and you, maintain appropriate mental health during a divorce.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and learn more about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.