If you’ve ever grown a vegetable garden, adopted a pet, or owned a car, you know there’s work involved, including careful, consistent attention. You take time each day to water and fertilize your plants, feed and play with your pet, and fill your car up with gas (not to mention checking under the hood for oil and coolant levels, and making sure your tires have enough tread to safely get you where you need to go). Yet sometimes we neglect to give ourselves that same careful, consistent attention, also known as self-care.
The reality is if you’re not feeling well, it will be much more difficult to take care of anybody or anything else. And the process of divorce means you need to be as physically strong and healthy as you can when the going gets tough. The more time you can spend taking care of yourself, the better off you, and the people who depend on you, will be. Practicing good self-care is more than a cliché; it’s a requirement.
Focusing on self-care will help you to make better decisions in the long run, as it will contribute to your clarity and peace of mind. Your healthier self will be better able to manage the negative effects of stress, avoid burnout, and leave you feeling more worthy, with confidence to face the future.
Find some ways to do what rejuvenates you. Here are a few simple ideas:
Get enough sleep
Close your eyes and allow yourself a short period of rest, at any time of the day. There is no shame in napping.
Make healthy food choices, swap out the chips for nuts & sandwiches for salads.
Exercise—even a short walk can make a big difference
Block out some time in your schedule to meditate regularly
Listen to your favorite music while walking out in nature
Find a creative outlet and make no excuses to pursue every single day
Not everyone around you will understand your new effort to take good care of yourself. Giving yourself the time and attention you need to be healthy may be seen by others as acting selfish. You may be accustomed to sacrificing yourself to meet the needs of friends or family, but during this trying period it can be a recipe for burnout. Your mind, body, and spirit need–and deserve–continued care.
Sometimes it’s easier to meet the urgent needs of the person in front of you who is requesting (or demanding) your attention than it is to take care of yourself. You may face pressure to meet the expectations of the people around you at work, home, and in the community. These expectations can be unrealistic, especially when you are going through a divorce. Ultimately, the only one you’re accountable to is yourself. You are important, and so is your health and wellbeing. If you know your limitations, you can make the appropriate choices to stop and rest, or even retreat, whenever you need to. Empower yourself to do this.