I have been ill this past month, suffering with bouts of colds, flue and throat infections. Largely to blame on New York metro’s extended harsh winter with teasers of sprinkled warm days. Coupled with an uptick in work demands and the everyday chronicles of the co-parenting/ single-mom life and not-so-smooth path of dating…I will say my stress-levels have been elevated. Well given this trend…I decided to do some research on the overall status of divorcees health.
According to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index: American’s well-being differs largely by marital status.
- Americans that are married have the highest levels of well-being (68.8)
- Americans that are divorced have the second highest (59.7)
- Americans that are separated experience the lowest levels of well-being (55.9)
Upon doing further research, WebMD cited the following:
- Those who were divorced or widowed were 20% more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or another chronic condition.
- They were also 23% more likely to have mobility problems, such as difficulty climbing stairs or walking short distances.
- Those who were divorced or widowed but then remarried still had 12% more chronic health conditions and 19% more mobility problems than married people who had never experienced divorce or the death of a spouse; but they were only slightly more likely to report depression
Now these statistics are not alarming. Divorce has a negative connotation. When someone visualize divorce…they envision someone less happy, less healthy and with dire financial prosperity than an otherwise married or single person.
Based on empirical statistics, I have to re-evaluate my current lifestyle and priorities. Focus on me and my “happy”.
I don’t believe “divorce” or “separation” is the root of decreased well-being. I believe all stress factors takes its toll on your health. When divorce is imminent….it is all about the way you deal with divorce that deciphers whether you are a detriment to your overall well-being.
People are naturally healthier, happier and more prosperous when they feel secure, safe and have stability in life. So coincidentally, “married” people have a higher well-being percentage. Don’t let divorce impact your health. There is life– possibly a more fulfilling one post divorce.
Ensure your life has the five essential elements of well-being as defined by Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index:
» Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
Now if this doesn’t currently exist– get a hobby, find time to do what you love. Even if it is only ten minutes a day. Trust me….this will help your sanity…especially while you are in the trenches of the divorce process or adjusting to life post-divorce.
» Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
Lean on your friends and family if they are near. Now if you are like me….there aren’t many nearby, so make new friends, be social. However, be cautious of new friendships. Don’t be naive and too trusting. As a divorcee, you are vulnerable. I empathize with the need for companionship, but not everyone has your best interest at heart. Understand the limits of a friendship, don’t overuse your “friend” card. Don’t use your status as a crutch…don’t play the victim role.
» Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
This could be tough, in dealing with a divorce. Try to have your finances in order before you begin the divorce process. But life always throws a curve ball. Nothing goes as smoothly as you expect. Be prepared to tread water…surprises take a toll on your stress. If possible, try to have an emergency safety stash.
» Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
Now this is important to me. In my decision to get a divorce….I had to make sure I would live in a safe community as a single mother with children. A safe neighborhood gives me peace of mind.
» Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
This is imperative. Exercise, exercise and having a healthy diet is a necessity, despite what you are going through. Exercise is a positive outlet in coping with stress. See blog post The Gym: My Constant Friend
Ensuring you have these elements in your life…will enable you to reach your “Zen”!
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