During the early weeks and months of my separation, I needed exercise and movement like I needed air to breath. I had so much pent-up emotion. Anger and frustration are the hardest emotions for me to manage. Walking was my saving grace.
During my walks, I would work out emotions and plan for the future. My daughter was 1.5 years old at the time and she would fall asleep in her stroller during the walk, so when I got back home I would have about 30 minutes all to myself while she napped. It was a beautiful ritual that I'm sure helped me deal with my separation and divorce far more than I realized at the time.
To be honest, I have since fallen off the exercise wagon. Most days, I declare chasing my toddler around and wrangling her to brush her teeth and get ready for bed adequate exercise. I'm still feeling residual stress from the bouts of sickness we've had recently and my body is reminding me how important regular movement and exercise are for my well-being and health.
You probably know that exercise is important to help you deal with the stresses of daily living. And during a divorce, exercise becomes a downright necessity.
Why Regular Movement During Separation and Divorce is Important
I'm sure you know by now how important exercise is for your health and well-being. Regular exercise increases your metabolism and helps you sleep at night. Exercising also helps you burn off pent-up energy. And I'm just going to assume that for someone going through separation and divorce you have some pent-up energy. Am I right?
I personally do not deal well with anger and frustration. But during divorce it's impossible to not experience those emotions. I'm also not a very patient person and waiting for court dates and replies from my ex and my lawyer about the divorce agreement and other aspects of divorce was torture.
Exercising during divorce can help you in so many ways including:
helping you manage your stress
giving you an outlet for your anger and frustration
helping you feel accomplished
giving you something to have control over
helping you start to rebuild your confidence
How to Build Your Own Personal Exercise Routine
Step 1: Build your exercise library with exercises you like to do.
What types of exercises and routines are you most willing to do on a daily basis?
It doesn't help you to commit to a boot-camp routine if you don't like the intensity of a boot-camp style of exercise. Build your exercise library based on exercises that excite you and motivate you. Search on YouTube, at your local library, on Pinterest, and in other free places for different types of exercises. I find collecting a variety of exercises helps keep me motivated. It also allows me to choose which exercise I want to do based on my mood.
For a relaxing exercise, you might try yoga, Tai Chi, walking, or swimming.
For burning off energy, running, kick-boxing, dancing, Zumba class, or a HIIT workout might be more of what you need.
Need more exercise ideas? Check out my exercise Pinterest board.
Step 2: Optimize your exercise schedule.
When are you most likely to be able to exercise? And when do you have stressful divorce situations coming up?
Plan your exercises around your lifestyle. Do you have more time in the morning to exercise? Or right before dinner? Are there times when you can include your kids and other family into your workout routine?
You can also schedule workout sessions after a stressful divorce meeting. Do you have a court date coming up? Do you have a mediation appointment? Have you tried in vain to get a hold of your lawyer for the 100th time? I have been known to drink wine or eat chocolate after such stressful situations but exercising is probably healthier and more productive.
Step 3: Plan for pitfalls.
What has gotten in your way of sticking with an exercise routine in the past?
What pitfalls can you plan for in order to make sure you stay on track?
There are so many things that can get in the way of your exercise goals. However, you can make success inevitable if you plan for these pitfalls ahead of time and figure out how you can overcome them or avoid them all together. For example, if your kids seem to keep getting in your way while doing Downward-Facing Dog then you can join a gym that has a daycare or organize an exercise meetup with other mom friends so kids stay occupied. You can also wake up a little early to exercise during the calm before the child storm. With a little planning you can easily anticipate most every stumbling block to your new routine.
If all else fails, do some kickboxing and imagine your ex's face as the target. That always kept me motivated. But please don't actually punch your ex in real life, like I did. (link to punching your ex post)