What we can learn from Jon and Kate's split.
Dr. Janet Taylor: Wow, ten million viewers tuned in Monday evening to see a real couple with real, multiple children self-destruct in real time (okay, taped). Although the "big announcement" was not a surprise, the breakup of the Gosselin family struck a chord among coworkers, friends, and families, men and women. America's fascination with the Gosselin's marital woes is frankly hard to understand. People have marital "problems" or threaten to get divorced every day. What gives? What is the big fascination with Kate and Jon, and more importantly, what can we learn from their current situation? Maybe Kate and Jon should check out these tips. And the rest of us should focus on our own lives.
9 Tips for Living Happily Ever After ... After Divorce:
1. Congratulate yourself. Listen, low-quality, unhappy marriages can be toxic to your physical health and psychological well-being. There will be hard times, guilt, and self-doubt -- work your way through those feelings by celebrating what's to come.
2. Continue to communicate. If you have kids, especially young ones, it will be difficult to stop talking to your ex. Deal with communication conflicts by staying focused on the issue at hand. Keep emotions and old baggage at bay by not allowing yourself to be derailed by intensely expressed emotion.
3. Don't take your divorce personally. Your life achievements, fears, hopes, and future dreams did not stop with the dissolution of your marriage. You have a new opportunity to redefine and rediscover who you are. Being divorced is not a moral failure.
4. Monitor your stress levels. A divorce is ranked as one of life's most stressful events. Pay attention to how you are feeling (body sensations) and your thoughts. Identify your habits and practice healthy coping habits.
5. Make your health a priority. Be selfish with your me-time. Make an appointment for a yearly physical and be diligent about following up with screening tests and laboratory evaluations. Overall health can be negatively impacted by a divorce. Beat the odds by putting yourself first.
6. Be realistic about your financial situation. Financial resources may be compromised after a divorce. Educate yourself on what you can afford and what may have to be sacrificed. Organize yourself by utilizing a budget or obtaining financial advice.
7. Be mindful of healthy behaviors. Focus on foods that are good for you. Make time for cardio workouts. Engage friends to walk with you or remind you of what you are trying to achieve. Remember: you are worth it.
8. Get spine-tingling sleep! A good night's sleep can help with mood, memory, and concentration, and physical outcomes. Use your bedroom and bed as a sanctuary. Watch your caffeine intake and avoid drinking too much alcohol around bedtime.
9. Find time for fun. Don't punish yourself. Figure out one thing that you'd like to do that is absent from your life. Focus on making it happen. Laugh along the way. A good sense of humor can work wonders.
|Dr. Janet Taylor is a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Columbia University at Harlem Hospital, and is a consumer health strategist and certified life coach. Her company, Mind Projects, Inc., specializes in corporate stress management and consumer health strategies. She practices in Chelsea and lives with her husband and four daughters in New York.|