Going through a divorce or romantic breakup of any kind is traumatic. Your hopes and dreams of a future together vanish, leaving you bewildered, dumbfounded, and emotionally gutted. It’s as if your world has just turned upside down, and you’re free-floating without an anchor. The emotional devastation you experience during separation shock is phase one of the grief process; shock and denial. And there are 3 things you can do right now to get over your separation shock.
Separation shock is a severe condition. The trauma you experience during divorce and heartbreak is as devastating as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). We readily attribute PTSD to war veterans, but experts now use this designation for the experience we have during a divorce. And to make matters worse, divorce is one of the top life stresses most likely to lead to serious illness, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Test.
Learning to cope, avoiding a major illness, and getting on with life during your divorce is no small feat. But when you focus on healing your heart and adding these 3 things you can do right now to get over separation shock, you will have a higher chance of a quick recovery.
GET YOUR SLEEP
Sleep is essential for healing your body. Getting good quality sleep at the right time is critical for your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. It’s essential for the brain as it prepares for the next day to form new neural pathways for you to process further information effectively.
If you are sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. All of the things you are going through right now during your breakup.
This is why sleeping is so important:
– Sleep affects how your body reacts to insulin. Sleep deprivation will lead to higher blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetes.
– Sleep supports your immune system to stay healthy. When sleep-deprived, we are more susceptible to illness and infection.
– Sleep promotes healthy brain function. Sleep deprivation will result in slower reaction time, causing accidents.
– Sleep helps to heal and repair the heart. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
In fact, if you have a few nights of missing a couple of hours of sleep, it’s as if you haven’t slept for one or two nights. So, make sleep the highest of priorities.
DEVELOP SELF COMPASSION
Pema Chodron tells us to “begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself.”
It all begins with loving-kindness for yourself, which eventually becomes loving-kindness for others. What does it mean to have self-compassion?
Start by being kind and practice forgiveness with yourself. Picture yourself as a small child who is hurting, sad, and lonely. As an adult, when you see your child suffering, the first thing you want to do is to console the child, listen to the child’s pain story, do anything that the child needs to feel loved and safe.
It can be a challenge at first, but if you ask yourself this one key question, the process will become easier.
“What do I need at this moment to feel better?”
Sometimes, when we are hurt, we challenge others to see if they still love us by showing them our ugly side. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
It is common to lash out, but if you can work through these feelings of hurt rather than struggling against them, you will be able to learn from them. Then extend the same loving kindness to others in the same condition.
PULL YOURSELF BACK TOGETHER
After looking at yourself with fresh eyes and having extended loving kindness to yourself, now you can ask:
Who am I now?
Your label of yourself is changing. Now you can get back to your core beliefs of who you truly are. Rediscovering your fundamental belief system will reveal the person you have lost and will soon regain.
Who are my friends?
As you transition in this gray area of life, your friends and family will also transition and shift. This is an opportunity to see who you want to have in your life going forward.
Where am I?
How are you doing physically and emotionally is the question you can now ask yourself.
Do I need help to regain my mental and physical well-being?
Do I need massage therapy, meditation or yoga, or all three?
Do I need to see a therapist to help me through this emotional roller coaster ride?
Do I need more nutritious food to give me the energy I need?
No matter what, separation shock will turn your world upside down. You have the choice to move through this quickly or linger in pain. And you get to decide how long you stay in pain.
Although it may not seem like it now, this place of transition will end. By having these three practices that you can do right now to get over separation shock, you will be able to heal your heart. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And you will be a better, stronger person on the other side.