Did you know that divorce is known as the 2nd most traumatic life event after the death of a loved one? So, it’s no surprise that a relationship breakdown will have a ripple effect across your whole life, including your work, parenting and friendships and also your health. 

During a divorce you will have to make life changing decisions about where you will live, financial issues, children, lifestyle, legal matters and much more – all this at a time when you are on an emotional rollercoaster coming to terms with the split. All this stress and tension can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health.

Feeling upset, overwhelmed and sad are all normal and a natural part of your healing process. You do need to grieve the end of a relationship and to bear in mind that this is all part of the healing process. Some people will try to avoid this by what I term “stuffing” their emotions. This is when you turn to other things to distract yourself so you don’t have to stop and think about the pain of the break-up. Some common methods of stuffing are:

  • Over eating
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Taking drugs
  • Excessive partying
  • Working all hours
  • Over exercising

These things can stop you from dealing with your break-up and will keep you stuck in an unhealthy cycle of avoidance. It’s important to allow yourself time to face your break-up head on and deal with any specific issues so that you don’t drag them forward into the future with you. It is also good to understand that it is part of the process and it will pass.

The 5 most common ways a break-up can affect you mental and physical health:

  1. Divorce can affect your sleep patterns and you may find it harder to sleep. This can cause problems when you need to be making big decisions about your future and can compound the stress you are under. 
  2. Your self-esteem is often low after a break-up, especially if it wasn’t your choice for it to end or if your partner cheated on you. This can cause you to feel less confident about your looks and body. 
  3. You may lose your appetite and stop eating (known as the ‘Divorce Diet’). It’s important to maintain a balanced diet as a strong body will help you keep a strong mind.
  4. You may start to over eat which can cause you to put on weight. When your confidence and self-esteem are already low this can be a damaging self-perpetuating circle.
  5. Conflict with your ex can be all consuming and cause huge amounts of anger. This can build up and cause you to overreact or take out your aggression in the wrong places.

There are lots of things you can do to keep yourself healthy after a break-up and to minimise the effects it has on you:

  • Don’t be afraid to cry and face those negative emotions head on
  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself
  • Reduce the time you spend talking about the past 
  • Refocus on the future and redesign your life just the way you want it
  • Plan in some fun to help you get your sparkle back
  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy balanced diet
  • Take small steps every day towards creating a compelling future you are excited to live
  • If you are struggling emotionally the get help from a professional 

A break-up is a golden opportunity to redesign your life just the way you want it – so it’s time to grab back your control and start getting excited about your future!