BEST AD­VICE

Best Health - - CONTENTS - DR. VA­LERIE TAY­LOR is psy­chi­a­trist-in-chief at Women’s Col­lege Hos­pi­tal, wom­en­shealth­mat­ters.ca @WCHospi­tal

Ex­pert-led Q+As on deal­ing with di­vorce and anx­i­ety

THE DOC­TOR SAYS…

AIT’S EASY TO BE­COME stressed and an­gry dur­ing a di­vorce, re­gard­less of what caused the end of the mar­riage. There can be is­sues re­lated to child cus­tody, the pres­sure of en­sur­ing that your kids adapt as seam­lessly as pos­si­ble, unan­tic­i­pated fi­nan­cial re­al­i­ties, new liv­ing ar­range­ments and the chal­lenges of dat­ing.

In the new age of so­cial me­dia, there is the near-im­pos­si­ble task of pre­vent­ing sta­tus up­dates and pic­tures of so­cial events with shared friends that can set the tone of your day if you let it – and that’s for the re­motely am­i­ca­ble sep­a­ra­tions. Add in­fi­delity, abuse or fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment to the sit­u­a­tion and it’s easy to un­der­stand how quickly one can be­come over­whelmed.

The key to stay­ing grounded dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time is to make sure that you take care of your­self. It can be easy to lose sight of your own needs dur­ing an in­or­di­nate amount of change. Make sure to get enough rest, eat prop­erly, ex­er­cise reg­u­larly and build a good sup­port group- around you. This sup­port can come from friends and fam­ily, but if that isn’t an op­tion, look for sup­port groups or seek coun­selling.

As key as it is to find good cop­ing strate­gies, avoid­ing bad ones is equally im­por­tant. Drugs and al­co­hol can seem like quick fixes, but this type of be­hav­iour can spi­ral out of con­trol quite quickly. It’s also im­por­tant to avoid de­struc­tive in­ter­ac­tions with your ex – some­thing that can be­come easy to do on­line. Re­mem­ber that these in­ter­ac­tions live for­ever, and you don’t want a per­ma­nent me­mo­rial of what is usu­ally a tem­po­rary emo­tional state.

That doesn’t mean that you aren’t al­lowed to be an­gry, sad, jeal­ous or lonely. All of these emo­tions are per­fectly nor­mal, and it’s OK to feel out of con­trol and over­whelmed. Give your­self per­mis­sion to feel and per­haps even grieve. What isn’t pos­si­ble, though, is to con­trol an­other per­son’s be­hav­iour, and that may be some­thing you need to let go of to move on.

Even­tu­ally, you will achieve clo­sure and em­brace the changes in your life. If, af­ter some time, that isn’t hap­pen­ing, you may need to seek pro­fes­sional help, and it’s im­por­tant to not be afraid to ask for it. There isn’t a right way to ex­pe­ri­ence this type of up­heaval, but re­mem­ber to be kind to your­self, take time to have fun and em­brace a fu­ture full of pos­si­bil­i­ties.

AS KEY AS IT IS TO FIND GOOD COP­ING STRATE­GIES, AVOID­ING BAD ONES IS EQUALLY IM­POR­TANT.

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