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      The Women’s Guide to Divorce: How to Work Toward Acceptance and Happiness    Divorce is something no woman thinks will ever happen to her. I mean come on - all of our childhood movies ended with a royal couple riding off to the magical land of “happily ever after.” We never had The Princess and the Prenup or Ariel’s Alimony Adventure – we were shown that you find your soulmate, exchange some rings, and it’s all sunshine from there. So what happens when a woman’s lifelong view of marriage comes crashing down into the harsh reality of divorce?  The answer is that the emotional impact can feel devastating, and often makes a woman question her identity and self-worth. If you’re a woman struggling through divorce - there is hope. Try these tips to work toward a happy, accepting future:   1. Write a goodbye letter   The grief experienced during divorce can rival that of having a loved one pass away. Not only are you mourning the loss of your relationship, but you’re mourning the vision you had for your life story. Write a letter saying goodbye to each of the dreams and experiences that you expected out of your marriage. This will help you define exactly what you are grieving so that you can work toward acceptance.   2. Write a hello letter   Divorce is a beginning as well as an end. After you write your goodbye letter, write another letter saying hello to all of the things that you would never experience if you were still with your ex. Hello ballroom dancing lessons. Hello wine tasting trips with the girls. Hello rights to the remote control. Hello flirting with that ridiculously attractive cashier. Though nothing will eliminate the pain and process of grieving your losses, focusing on new hobbies and fun activities can add a silver lining in this difficult time.   3. Redefine your identity    Women often view themselves in terms of their caregiving roles to others. If most of your identity is wrapped up in being someone’s spouse, divorce can really throw a wrench in your self-worth. When you are feeling depressed or that you’ve failed, spend time thinking about your talents, character traits, and values that make you who you are. Remind yourself that divorce does not define who you are as an individual.   4. Find a supportive circle   Friendships can be a little tricky after divorce since many married couples hang out with other couples. When one duo splits up, it’s common for mutual friends to keep their distance, adding to the pain and isolation divorce can bring. The good news is, divorce can be a great catalyst to make new friends who understand what you’re going through. There are lots of online and in-person support groups for divorced women to discuss experiences and share coping techniques. Also, this can be a great opportunity to reconnect with family members or friends that you didn’t have as much time for during your marriage.   5. Take a break from social media    Resist the urge to cyber-stalk your ex. There’s no need to see the petty, “I’m doing great,” posts – they’ll just irritate you. It’s common for women to worry about what their ex and other people are thinking and saying about their divorce; to help avoid this, consider taking a break from social media for at least a few weeks to focus your mind on yourself and not the rest of the world.    For more tips to avoid comparing yourself to social media, click here      6. If you have kids, model emotional intelligence    While emotional intelligence is important for everyone, it is especially important if you have children and are helping them work through your divorce. Emotional intelligence is being able to identify and process your emotions in a healthy way. If you have kids, they might have a hard time expressing their feelings, but you have the power to show them how to acknowledge and work through the difficult emotions divorce brings.  Example: “This is a difficult time for our family. I have been feeling confused and lonely sometimes, but I know that these feelings are temporary. We are a strong family and we will get through this together.”    For more tips on fostering emotional intelligence in your children, click here      7. Work toward acceptance    While it’s healthy to be aware of all of the emotions that you experience through divorce, remember that your end-goal is to accept your divorce and move on with your life. Try not to wallow in feelings of bitterness and resentment – when they arise, acknowledge them, but remember that you will be happier once you can learn to move past them.   8. Keep your heels on the high ground    Taking the moral high ground in divorce can be tough, especially if your ex is petty-posting pics with their new love interest or writing derogatory tweets about you. No matter how awful your ex is being, remind yourself that no good will come from you retaliating. If you’re a mom, don’t badmouth your ex to your kids or try to make them spies. Don’t attempt to get your ex fired or ruin their friendships. As hard as it may be, keeping civil is best for your long-term mental health.   9. See a specialist    Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences a woman may face, challenging her identity, self-esteem, and emotional health. Many times, friends and family just don’t seem to get it and women can feel alone in their despair. Fortunately, there are many resources for women going through divorce and there’s no reason to go through it alone.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/life-after-divorce-3-survival-strategies#3  https://helpguide.org/articles/grief/dealing-with-a-breakup-or-divorce.htm  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/03/divorce-stress-_n_4175767.html  https://www.womansday.com/relationships/dating-marriage/advice/a6834/divorce-advice-women/  https://www.womanpulse.com/coping-dealing-divorce-guide/  http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/separation-and-divorce  https://www.womansdivorce.com/positive-side-of-divorce.html   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). The Women’s Guide to Divorce: How to Work Toward Acceptance and Happiness.    Psychologically Speaking .  [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-womens-guide-to-divorce-how-to-work-toward-acceptance-and-happiness

The Women’s Guide to Divorce:
How to Work Toward Acceptance and Happiness

Divorce is something no woman thinks will ever happen to her. I mean come on - all of our childhood movies ended with a royal couple riding off to the magical land of “happily ever after.” We never had The Princess and the Prenup or Ariel’s Alimony Adventure – we were shown that you find your soulmate, exchange some rings, and it’s all sunshine from there. So what happens when a woman’s lifelong view of marriage comes crashing down into the harsh reality of divorce?

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


         Menopause and Depression: How to Feel Yourself Again      Middle age isn’t what it was 50 years ago. Women like Jennifer Lopez, Cindy Crawford, and Halle Berry are all a testament that “50 is the new 20,” and that when it comes to living a full, vivacious life, age is just a number. For many women, their 40’s and 50’s are some of their most enjoyable years. They may have established careers, a strong sense of identity, and as their kids become more independent, they become freed up to take full advantage of life’s experiences. However, these joys are often dampened by a little thing called menopause and the rather unpleasant symptoms that come with it, such as depression.    Will menopause slow me down?   As with other forms of depression, depression related to menopause can affect your relationships, career, and quality of life; it can suck the joy out of fun experiences, cause terrible anxiety, and slow you down with fatigue - and who needs that?! The good news is, menopause is a normal life experience and by taking a few simple steps, you can overcome depression and get back to living your best life.    Doctor, am I going crazy!    Symptoms related to menopause can be similar to PMS – if you regularly find yourself blowing up at your family and then feeling like the worst person on earth 2 minutes later, there’s a clue. But if you feel like your symptoms are going beyond the periodic hot flash and meltdown because your kid threw his underwear in the sink, you may be experiencing menopausal depression. Symptoms include:    Lost interest in fun or pleasurable activities    Insomnia    Irritability    Anxiety    Fatigue    Suicidal thoughts    Feelings of guilt or worthlessness    Difficulty concentrating    Memory lapses     What is this, a second puberty?!   Before we delve into what you can do for relief, let’s talk about why these symptoms arise in the first place. Menopause is a natural occurrence that happens due to declining hormones as a woman approaches mid-life. A woman is considered to have experienced menopause after not having her period for one year. Depression often starts during the “perimenopausal period,” or the transitional time women go through before the actual onset of menopause. Perimenopause can begin in women  as young as 30  and can last for many years before a woman’s final period.    This was easier when I was 13…   Life events that are common during middle age can also exacerbate the effects of these hormone changes and impact a woman’s mental well-being. Experiencing a divorce, becoming empty-nesters, or struggling through the death of a parent all present enough challenges on their own; throwing a wrench in the gears of a woman’s endocrine system makes those events significantly harder to manage.    Ain't nobody got time for that!   While you can’t avoid menopause running its course, you don’t have to take depression laying down (unless of course, you’re taking an extra nap, which we do recommend). If you believe that you are experiencing depression, the best thing you can do is consult with a specialist in women’s issues who can provide you with a customized treatment plan.     Click here to learn more about Dr. Daniella A. Davis - Specialist in Women's Issues      Other helpful lifestyle changes that you can immediately start implementing include:         The laundry can wait – start putting sleep first     Insomnia is a cardinal symptom of menopause. Whenever you feel tired, make sleep a priority. You might feel guilty prioritizing sleep during the day, but think about it - you wouldn’t look down on a pregnant woman for sleeping in while her hormones were going haywire. What you are experiencing is no different.          Talk to your doctor      Anxiety can intensify memory loss, making it hard to manage work and family life. Talk to your doctor about anti-anxiety medication or hormone level assessments to help you get back to feeling yourself.          Nutrition is key     A healthy and balanced diet has a significant impact on psychological well-being. Your healthcare professional can help you establish a customized eating plan. As a start, try increasing water consumption, reducing sugar intake, and avoid skipping meals.         Check out the vitamin aisle      Depression has been linked to a shortage of certain vitamins and minerals in the body. Adding a multi-vitamin or other supplements can boost your body’s ability to fight depressive symptoms. Look for vitamins and supplements that include:    Vitamins B6    Vitamin B12    Vitamin D    Folic acid    Calcium    Iron    Magnesium    Selenium    Zinc    Omega-3 acids.             Self-care     Since the dawn of time, this has been a tough one for the ladies. Women tend to put unrealistic expectations on themselves and often feel inadequate. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra help with housekeeping or errands during this stage of life. This can be difficult for middle age women who feel their responsibilities are doubled while caring for both aging parents and children. Understand that you can only give your family your best self when your well-being is cared for first.         Physical activity     Some studies have shown that women with low physical activity are at a heightened risk for depression related to menopause. While many experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, a brisk 10 minute walk a few times a week can get your endorphins flowing and help relieve your symptoms.         Take it in stride     The great news about menopause is that it happens to all of us women, and talking about it to your girlfriends, laughing about your hot flashes, and sharing “I almost cut my husband’s head-off” stories can be a great way to take the edge off this normal life occurrence.       Variations Psychology: We’re in this together      While menopause is something that all women can bond over, sometimes venting to your hairdresser just doesn’t cut it. If you’ve been struggling with depression, Variations Psychology can help.       
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                 More about Variations Psychology     Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   http://www.estrogel.com/what-is-menopause/natural-menopause  University of Michigan Depression Center – Depression During Menopause - http://www.depressiontoolkit.org/women/menopause.asp    National Center for Biotechnology Information -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901893/    How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Menopause and Depression: How to Feel Yourself Again.  Psychologically Speaking .  [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/menopause-and-depression

Menopause and Depression: How to Feel Yourself Again

Middle age isn’t what it was 50 years ago. Women like Jennifer Lopez, Cindy Crawford, and Halle Berry are all a testament that “50 is the new 20,” and that when it comes to living a full, vivacious life, age is just a number. For many women, their 40’s and 50’s are some of their most enjoyable years.