How to protect your number one asset during divorce

 

What’s your top asset as you divorce? Your house? The pension fund? Business interests? No. Of course, all of these are important. But more important than any of it is your health. Don’t roll your eyes – it’s true! It’s a savvy financial decision to take care of your physical and mental health. It means you’re better equipped to go after the life you want, and seek a fair divorce settlement on your terms. It also means you can take care of your responsibilities more effectively, and provide stability for your family.  

 

So in this blog we’ll explore how the divorce process can threaten your health and well being, and how to protect this top asset.

 

Why health matters

Honestly, I hear you. You have a million things on the to-do list, you’re worried about your children and your soon-to-be-ex is tipping petrol onto the proverbial fire. The last thing you want to do is go for a run, make a salad or do a guided meditation. 

 

And I’m not here to add to your to do list or berate you for not doing your daily downward dogs. But this is your reminder that your health matters. If you keep on pushing without taking care of your own needs you will crash eventually. That might look like catching the flu, or the dreaded c-word. It might mean burnout, or overwhelm. Or there are a million other ways your body and mind will catch up with you. 

 

In terms of your divorce it might mean you make choices that are easier to deal with in the short term, because you don’t need the hassle. But those choices might leave you suffering in the longer term.

 

The good news is, prioritising your wellbeing doesn’t have to add stress to your life. It can simply involve some recalibration to get yourself onto a more sustainable footing. Which is good for you, those around you and your divorce.

 

Are you neglecting your health?

So, what are the signs you’re neglecting your health? Your body will let you know. Here are three signs to watch out for: 

Tiredness

Divorce is stressful, there’s no getting round that. But you don’t need to feel tired all the time. Divorce is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you’re flat on the floor you won’t have the resources to get the outcome you want and need. So if your body and mind constantly feel worn out, it’s time to pay yourself some attention.

 

Insomnia

Insomnia often accompanies times of stress. You’re desperate to sleep but can’t switch off. Unfortunately, sleep is absolutely critical for good health – most adults ideally need between seven to nine hours each night. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, focus and decision-making, and continued lack of sleep can contribute to serious ill health. So if you’re finding yourself awake in the middle of the night, it’s a wake up call (pun intended) to make some changes. 

 

Changes in your body

This is a big category, but each of us is different and our bodies will respond differently to stress. For some of us, our weight will fluctuate as we change our eating habits. For others, stress will show in our skin – perhaps will rashes or outbreaks of acne. And others may experience joint pain or digestion problems as our bodies try to deal with the stress. The main thing I invite you to do today is notice. Have you experienced changes in your body recently? What is it trying to tell you? 

 

Self care basics

First of all, spend some time thinking whether you need to get some professional support if you’ve realised your health is suffering.  Protect your number one asset during divorce by recognising you need support. If you’re experiencing new mental or physical symptoms that are worrying you, this is the time to get help. Book in with your GP as a starting point. I know it can be hard to find time to make the call. But schedule it in. It’s important. You’re important. 

 

Now, you’ve probably heard most of the advice out there for living more healthily. So I’m not going to repeat it all. What I’m focussing on here are suggestions for tiny changes you might make to put your own wellbeing at the heart of how you live. 

Sleep

Start with your sleep. What tiny changes can you make to make your sleep more restful? Do you need to be more disciplined about getting off the phone and getting to bed earlier? Is it worth keeping a notepad by your bedside so you can write down anything that worries you and get it out of your head? Can you lay off the caffeine and alcohol in the evening to give your body a better chance to switch off? 

 

Now turn to what you put in your body. This isn’t an invite to beat yourself up if you’re turning to convenience food rather than made-from-scratch smoothies at the moment. But it is a reminder that your food intake can affect your mood. What food can you eat that will genuinely nourish you? If you simply don’t have time to prepare food regularly during the week, can you batch cook or team up with a friend? And are there foods you are eating that you know are definitely not helping? Can you switch them for something else, at least occasionally? 

Exercise

Now think about movement. How much time are you able to be active, and get outdoors each day? Moving your body helps wake up your brain as well as helps your physical health. It doesn’t mean you have to join a gym, or start running, if you don’t want to. Simply setting a timer on your phone so that every 30 minutes you stand up, stretch and have a walk around will help. Take your cup of tea to your garden and spend a few minutes in the fresh air rather than on the sofa. 

Develop good habits

What else can you think of to switch out habits that aren’t serving your health for ones that do? You are the expert in you and your life, of course, and my ideas might have sparked many more that suit you better. Remember, the goal here isn’t to add to your to do list, unless you want to. This might be the perfect time for you to take up a new dance class, or go swimming with a friend each week. But if you simply start by deciding to eat a piece of fruit every day, that’s a positive change too. 

 

Take advantage of the new season

This is a great time of year to recalibrate. Autumn is easing its way in, new routines are upon us. As you start to look ahead to the colder months how can you change your habits to better serve you? 

 

It’s more important than ever to look after our health this year. For many of us, lockdowns and restrictions have knocked our mental health for six. And we’re not out of the woods yet. Think about the things that got you through last winter, and the lockdowns that went with it. When it came to it, what helped? Or what do you wish you’d done differently? 

 

Make a list now of the things you turn to when you’re feeling low – mentally or emotionally. They might be tiny things, like ensuring you drink a glass of water, or make a cup of tea. You might decide to buddy up with a friend who’ll be on the end of a phone, whatever the time of day. There might be books or films you turn to for comfort or inspiration. Have a list ready, so if the going does get tough, you’re prepared. 

 

You’re not alone

One of the things I’ve noticed over the past eighteen months is how important community is. Sometimes you can’t always have people with you physically. But to know there are people who get you, a place you can be yourself with no pretence – that’s gold dust. Protect your number one asset during divorce with community.

 

And that’s why so many women have joined The Absolute Academy over the past year. They want a safe place to be with others. To ask questions and get answers they can trust. To vent and rage. They can also be honest about when it’s all too much. And to celebrate the wins, big or small.

 

As we get set for autumn, come and join us. Know that you’ll have a band of women who’ve got your back. And you’ll have access to my knowledge and support to keep your divorce on track too. All members join for a minimum of four months, so you’ll know you’re in safe hands throughout the autumn and winter months. Remember that you and your health are your number one asset as you divorce – come and protect it today

About Emma

Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is the author of the Amazon best-selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self-study and group programmes. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. Emma is also the host of  The Six-Minute Divorce Podcast. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com

 

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