Divorce is often the single most difficult event in our adult lives. There’s so much to worry about, so many changes to deal with, and often a gaping emotional hole that seems unfillable.

Sometimes we fear we will never feel “normal” or whole again. Anxiety and stress run at an all-time high. But there are things we can do to handle it in a healthy way.

Exercise

It may seem like a no-brainer but when we are dealing with stress certain hormones and chemicals elevate. One of these is cortisol.

A 2013 article in Psychology Today cites cortisol as “Public Enemy No.1” and says that a high cortisol level can have a negative effect on learning and memory and can impact your immune function and bone density. Cortisol can cause an increase in your weight, your blood pressure, your cholesterol and is linked to heart disease.

Thirty minutes of exercise four to seven days a week, such as running, biking, swimming, yoga and long walks can counter cortisol’s negative effects. Meditation, singing, being a part of a social group and finding ways to laugh and have fun stave off stress and cortisol.

Keep your eye on the prize

While difficult and uncertain, divorce can also be an opportunity to re-invent yourself, step out of your comfort zone and have new, and often wonderful, experiences. If you can step beyond the pain, a whole new world waits for you.

Get support

Support can mean that you join group (yoga, meditation, urban hiking, whatever interests you), meet regularly with friends (and actually talk honestly about how you feel and what you need) or see a counselor who can offer expert emotional guidance and give helpful feedback.

    Writer and therapist Andra Brosh, PhD says that in situations like divorce, “We can be our worst enemies at times when we need a good friend most.” Take the time and effort to care for yourself. Find ways to embrace the freedom and healing that is available.