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Coping with anxiety during separation

Tags: anxiety, stress, wellbeing
Content Types: Tips and Advice

Separating parents commonly fear what the future will hold for them and their children. Some worries may be where the children will live, how you will afford to care for the children on a single wage, or if your ex-partner is unpredictable in their behaviour, how they will act.

Anxiety is fairly common – 1 in 6 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem such as anxiety every year – so there’s no need to feel alone.

Therefore, it may be worth recognising the signs of anxiety and learning ways to cope with anxiety during – and after – the separation process.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

If you are feeling anxious, you may notice that your heartbeat is rapid or irregular, you breathe faster than usual, you sweat more, have a churning stomach, dry mouth and weakened muscles.

You may also have trouble sleeping, lose your concentration, feel more sensitive and lose your self-confidence.

How to deal with anxiety

Various sources recommend the following to help ease everyday bouts of anxiety:

  • Exercise. Small amounts of physical activity can help lift your mood and reduce stress levels.
  • Eat healthily. Avoid sugar and eat plenty of nutritious foods such as fruit and vegetables. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks as caffeine can increase your anxiety levels.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Some may rely on substances such as cigarettes or alcohol to calm them down in stressful situations. However, the effects of these substances are only temporary. When the alcohol leaves your system, you will return to feeling anxious.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques. Yoga and meditation can help – but if that’s not really your style, try some simple breathing techniques to calm yourself down or indulge in a massage.

Talking can help

You may feel embarrassed or afraid to talk to people about your anxieties. But remember, when you’re going through a separation, you need as much support as possible. Why not talk to one of our trained Listening Room helpers about what you’re going through? The helpers all come from counselling and mediation backgrounds and will be able to support you and signpost you to extra help. Learn more about the Listening Room.

Anxiety disorders

If you feel anxious about a wide range of issues (not just your separation), you may have something known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). People with GAD feel anxious most days and can find it hard to remember a time when they last felt relaxed. If you think this may be you, it may be worth speaking to your GP. Learn more about GAD on the NHS website.

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