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Coping in the early days after separation

Most parents feel a huge sense of shock in the early days of divorce or separation. - This is completely normal!! It’s really important that you allow yourself time to grieve during this period.

Coping with separation, divorce or other reasons, can be mentally and physically stressing. Sadness, anger, confusion and frustration are natural emotions linked to coping with any separation. Doctors and therapists recommend several coping methods to deal with the emotions associated with separation and loss. Maintaining your mental and physical health during your separation is essential to being able to move on with life. Use these tips to cope with separation.

1. Accept your emotions. Anger, exhaustion, despair, frustration and disbelief are common emotions experienced by people coping with separation issues. It's common to feel several of these emotions simultaneously. A variety of emotions is natural when experiencing loss.

2. Take a break. It may not be possible to take a leave of absence from work, but try to take a few days off. Take it easy for a day or two to regroup, heal and regain your focus.

3. Let others help.
* Spend time with and talk to friends and family members. Discuss your emotions and plans for the future. The support of loved ones can provide strength to move past a difficult situation.
* Join a support group. Talk with others who are in similar situations and may be experiencing similar emotions. Knowing that you're not alone in what you're feeling may help you deal with your recent separation.
* Seek professional help. Speak with a therapist or psychologist to sort out your feelings and get on the road to recovery.Watch out for depression. It is something that can sneak up on you, so make sure that you are aware of the signs that point to depression.
Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help if you think you need it.

4. Maintain your health in order to help achieve emotional balance. Neglecting your health during a separation may cause physical health problems later.
* Manage a healthy diet. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, along with getting a healthy serving of protein daily. Reduce fat and sodium intake. Control portion sizes.
* Exercise regularly. Experts suggest getting at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 times per week. Alternate between cardiovascular workouts and strength-training exercises.
* Refrain from engaging in unhealthy lifestyle options. Drug and alcohol use during a difficult emotional period can create long-term habits. Avoid using drugs or drinking alcohol excessively. Don’t depend on alcohol or drugs to make you feel better or go to sleep. If you do start worrying that you are drinking too much, seek help as soon as possible.

5. Avoid making major life-altering decisions. Decisions that may change your life should be left for when your judgment may not be clouded by emotions resulting from your recent separation. For example, do not attempt to make decisions that involve moving, making major purchases or changing career paths.

6. Stay away from stressful situations. If possible, avoid disagreements, dramatic people and uncomfortable conversations that may be stress-inducing. Focus on dealing with your current stress, not on adding more to it.

7. Concentrate on your interests. Spending time in other activities leaves you less time to dwell on your separation.
Establish a hobby. Take a class, join a club or association or rediscover a long-forgotten passion.
Volunteer for an organization or cause. Participate in volunteer projects that take the focus away from your own situation and focus it on helping others or improving your community.
Meet new people. Gaining new friends can give you a sense of confidence and pride that will help you overcome and cope with your separation.

8. Maintain a positive attitude. The battling emotions you experience during a separation even out over time. Remain positive and optimistic about the future.