Frazzled & Overwhelmed: Post Divorce, or Any Other Time

During major life changes it is easy to feel raw, brittle, and overwhelmed by all the details that need your attention.  Some people become numb when faced with a tsunami of decisions and tasks, and some amp up their activity. It’s not so much how you manifest your inner frenzy, but what you can do to tame it.

In a divorce, there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of details that require attention.  The same is true if you are dealing with liquidating an estate, or navigating the initial chaos of a newly diagnosed medical problem.

Everyone handles things differently. There are those predisposed to procrastinate, and others who obsessively conquer each issue as it comes up.  If you are in the latter category, all is well until things accrue faster than you can handle them. No matter what your personal style, at some point you will feel over-cooked.  If you are a procrastinator you can develop a nagging 24/7 semi-conscious vigilance where you’re not consciously aware of all the details you’re neglecting, but they are still eating away at you. Paradoxically, that takes up cranium space just the way it does for someone who attends to everything as it comes up. Either way is stressful when there are more things to do than time in which to do them. So, there is no way of avoiding some measure of stress when taking care of a slew of details, many of which need immediate attention.

The following suggestions to lessen the negative impact of all this stress are even more important if you are a highly sensitive soul, for you will feel everything more acutely.

On the battlefield, they use a system called triage: wounded soldiers are sorted and allocated treatment according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors. It’s usually based on dividing them up into three categories.  You can use a similar strategy by separating your tasks into those that need immediate attention, those that can wait a day or two, and those that can be on hold for a while.

Get plenty of sleep. Take naps, if you can, as even five minutes of closing your eyes can be restorative. If you need a little help sleeping, try some of the remedies in the Herbal and Homeopathic Helpers section. Lemon Balm, aka Melissa, can quell those repetitive thoughts than can be so intrusive.

Don’t skip meals. Low blood sugar just adds to an already crankocidal state of mind.

Try Rescue Remedy and other Bach remedies. Walnut, is especially suited to major life changes. Other essences may work well with your personality. There is a questionnaire online at:

Remind yourself: this too shall pass. You won’t always be dealing with lawyers, papers, or household decisions; certainly not to this degree.

Take breaks for fun:

Get outside in the fresh air every day.

Watch something silly on TV.

See or call a friend.

Listen to some upbeat music, unless that’s too much stimulation.

Avoid excess use of alcohol. Hangovers won’t help you feel energetic.

Use an eye pillow, especially one with lavender, as it will shut out the light, stimulate the oculo-cardiac reflex and help you relax. Even a few minutes of lying down with an eye pillow can reset your nervous system to rest and digest.

Talk to yourself in ways that shore up your resolve: I can do whatever I have to, it’s only temporary, the best is yet to come, etc. (See Affirmations & Litany of Love)

Resist the urge to try to figure everything out. Some things may never make sense, some things will make sense now, and some things will make sense later on when you have a bit of perspective. People’s behavior and motivation may always be a mystery. Let go of your desire to understand it all.

Stay in the moment. Mindfully do whatever you are doing right this moment. Trust yourself and the universe. You will get to everything else in due time. Paradoxically, slowing down actually helps you accomplish more with less stress. Staying present and focused calms your mind.

Get some exercise. Walking and yoga reset the brain to homeostasis, creating more inner balance. Exercise will also release endorphins, those helpful little feel-good chemicals.

Breathe consciously, slowly and deeply. (See Breath work for more suggestions)

Limit what you can. Resist taking on anything extra. You will have plenty of time for that later.

If you are a perfectionist this is a great opportunity to “dare to be average.” You don’t need the added stress of telling yourself you have to get through this challenge elegantly. Just getting through it is enough.

Listen to yourself. Others may say you need to get out, party hearty, or take a vacation. Maybe what you need is solitude, a quiet evening, extra sleep, or chocolate.

Activity does not mean frenzied activity. You can live and consciously dial things back by: reminding yourself it will all get done, and making a list so things aren’t swimming around in your brain 24/7.

Following these suggestions will not only make you feel better, and more in control, it will also shore up your immune system.

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

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Nicole Urdang

Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM is a Holistic Psychotherapist in Buffalo, NY. She holds a New York state license in mental health counseling and a doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy.