Statistics show that most divorced people experience depression. Depression takes away hope, self-drive and ambition. It’s hard to fight it alone but not impossible when you embrace help from friends, family, a professional counsellor and support groups. Learn to reward yourself, even if it’s for a minimal accomplishment to keep yourself motivated. Remember, moving on after divorce is possible if you take one day at a time.
When you get depression after divorce, some of the symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, loss of interest in hobbies, impaired judgement, and development of suicidal thoughts. In addition, you may also experience unbalanced emotions, poor performance at the workplace, anxiety, weight loss or weight gain, among other symptoms.
Here are eight ways you can avoid depression after divorce:
1. Exercise Daily
Exercising is the last thing you will feel like doing during the post-divorce period, but it’s a powerful tool for avoiding depression. It produces chemicals known as endorphins in the brain, which act as natural painkillers. Research shows exercise is an antidepressant that raises energy levels in your body, and reduces stress and anxiety levels, giving you control and confidence over your body.
Find a routine and be consistent. It doesn’t need to be a 12 hours gym fitness routine; just simple 10-20 minutes exercises are enough. Daily exercises reduce the risk of depression by 26%, according to Harvard T.H. School of public health.
When it comes to depression after divorce, isolation is your adversary. It can lead to negative behaviours such as taking alcohol and drugs after divorce, and the only remedy is reconnecting with people. It’s easy to feel homesick after going through the complications of family law, so make plans with family and friends, and join support groups. This will keep you occupied, and give you a meaningful purpose to life and self-worth.
Try to expand your social network as a protective instrument against suicidal thoughts. Research shows socializing helps boost mental and physical health and reduces the likelihood of suffering from dementia.
3. Explore New Interests
Once divorced, you tend to lose interest in hobbies. This creates a gap in your life, leads to negative patterns, and lowers your level of productivity, which are classic symptoms of depression. Keep your mind busy and boost your self-esteem by adopting new interests. These activities may include working on projects, engaging in skillful hobbies, and volunteering in charity work to add value to yourself and the people around you.
Sleep has a significant impact on your moods. Most people undergoing depression after divorce also suffer from insomnia. They find it hard to sleep adequately, while some experience hypersomnia, which is sleeping too much. You can prevent this by adopting a healthy bedtime routine, limiting consumption of caffeine during night hours, and keeping off electronics such as television during night hours.
5. Accept and Seek Help
It’s challenging to maintain a positive attitude and habits after a divorce. Nothing is wrong with accepting help from friends and family when offered. They may try to help by keeping in touch or by helping you with chores that need to be done. This makes you feel loved and cared for.
One can also seek help by confiding in a counsellor, a therapist or close friends to help them cope with negative feelings. There are supplements and medication for treating depression, but you should seek a doctor’s advice before you start on a medication plan.
6. Avoid Negative Thinking
Divorce can alter the way you think about yourself, and cause you to be emotionally imbalanced. Don’t be too hard on yourself; start thinking positively. Be optimistic that good things will happen by changing the patterns of your thinking. You can achieve this by tracking your thoughts in a journal and then work on turning the negative ones into positives.
7. Eat Healthily
Your diet and moods are closely interrelated. Take carbohydrates like legumes that boost serotonin levels in your body and are rich in vitamins. For instance, bananas contain amino acids and tryptophan, which release ‘happy’ hormones.
Also take foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids that aid with depressive disorders, and proteins for boosting your energy. Avoid skipping meals and always eat a balanced diet. You should also minimize the intake of sugary foods, saturated fats, and Omega 6 fatty acids.
8. Coddle Yourself
It’s vital to regularly check in with yourself so you can readjust your action plan as necessary to keep off depression after divorce. Adopting healthy habits, scheduling exciting activities such as watching a movie, relaxing by meditation or joining yoga classes, and practicing self-hygiene, can make the post-divorce period a bit easier. Learn how to manage stress because when prolonged, it triggers depression.
Avoid work overloads and toxic relationships around you by handling the right amount of work in a day and cutting off wrong friends. Get a little sunlight every day to accelerate the brain’s ability to release the serotonin hormone. This will make you feel calm and focused. Listen to music; it’s a form of therapy that’s highly effective in healing your body and soul from physical and emotional trauma.