One of these days I am really going to talk about Apple Cider Vinegar and the health benefits associated with adding it to your morning glass of water.
Today is not the day. It was going to be the day until I decided we needed to talk about something else entirely, something that is weighing on my mind and part of my daily life at the moment.
Over the weekend, one of my closest friends began the journey of divorce. We know that I am no stranger to the topic and watching someone close to you go through the process can be very emotional and challenging not just for your friend, but for yourself.
Even if you haven’t been through a divorce or you don’t know anyone going through the process, we all experience ups and downs in life and have times when we need to be there for our friends and loved ones.
Love this. Just love this.
But what do you do to help someone? What do you do if you can’t relate to what they are going through, or even worse, you relate all too much that it starts to hurt you or you fear projecting your situation into theirs? What do you do when you know you can’t solve their problems and really don’t know what to say in order to make them feel better?
I gave this all some thought over the last few days and came up with some of the ways I go about being a good friend:
1. SAY NOTHING:
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is listen. Sometimes, you can’t solve problems and most of the time, your friend isn’t looking for you to be the savior.
Being there for someone, just as a person who will listen and chime in with an “uh huh” to signal you are still on the line is often all you need to do.
While I went through my own divorce, my closest friends were always there for me just so I could vent. Not only could they not solve my problems, half the time they couldn’t even relate to what I was going through and you know what? Neither could I.
It was all so foreign to me that I didn’t understand anything that was happening and probably didn’t make much sense when I was speaking yet just talking through my confusion and sadness was enough to make me feel that much better.
My friends didn’t need to fix things. They didn’t need to relate or say anything. They just needed to be there for me.
2. ENCOURAGE EXERCISE:
Of course I would figure out a way to plug the value of exercise.
As we often talk about, not only will exercise help produce endorphins, help clear the mind and put you in a “happier” place, it also helps relieve stress, keep structure and routine to your life as well as put focus somewhere other than on the negative.
A daily exercise routine is something you do for yourself. When you focus on yourself, even if only for 30 minutes a day, you are building up your strength and confidence as well as doing something for YOU.
The strength and confidence you gain fitness-wise will absolutely carry over into the other areas of you life.
BONUS TIP: I advised my friend to price around for a gym that offers babysitting. This provides her with built-in childcare, the opportunity to exercise and her kids the opportunity to play. Getting a break from the kids is good for everyone involved, especially when you are dealing with rough emotional situations.
3. YOU NEED TO EAT:
Appetites are an interesting thing – some people overeat when struggling while some tend to lose their appetite during stressful times.
As shocking as it may sound, I used to be one of those people who lost their appetite and couldn’t eat.
Keywords: USED TO BE
I promised myself years ago that nothing and no one will ever upset me ever again to the point where my meals can’t be consumed.
We must eat. For several reasons.
We need to keep eating to function. To take care of our children. To keep with our routine. To be able to exercise in order to produce those endorphins to make us feel happy.
And, if you want to know the truth, my love for running helps me to keep this strong stance on food. Running is very important to me that no matter what goes on in my life, I will never let my emotions take over and upset me to the point where I can’t eat.
If I can’t eat, I can’t run. And that would be a sad day.
When my friend told me she couldn’t stomach food, I offered up a few suggestions that are easy to choke down, require little to no preparation and just enough calories for energy until an appetite returns:
- Orange Juice
- Pretzel rods
- Chocolate milk
- Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Soup – did you know I don’t like soup?
- Fudge brownies – Listen, the fudge brownie thing once worked for me so maybe it can work for someone else
I know I am a healthy living blogger but I would be lying to you if I pretended like I didn’t go to The Cheesecake Factory for dessert after several court dates or treat myself to my favorite Red Mango parfait at various emotional times during the process over the years.
This very picture is from one of those post-court dessert days.
There are times in life that call for a favorite treat to momentarily make you feel better.
Speaking of chocolate, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and so is The Healthy Maven’s Great Valentine Day Bake-Off.
Chocolate + Fruit = Delicious Antioxidant-Packed Happiness.
As much as I love my cake and ice cream sundaes, I really do have a thing for chocolate covered fruit.
Indulging with fruit that is dipped in chocolate satisfies both your cravings (emotional ones too) and daily fruit requirement.
Who needs to pay for an Edible Arrangement when you can easily make it yourself at home? Recipe to come tomorrow, I promise.
I do a lot of writing (and have an ebook soon to be released) on the topic of divorce, co-parenting and dealing with your emotions in a healthy way. Some links to additional posts and articles related to this topic can be found in the If You Missed It section at the top of the page.
Favorite comfort food? Dessert.
Favorite way to treat yourself without food? A Pedicure. Definitely a pedicure.
What’s your workout looking like today?