My spouse and I are going through a difficult divorce and I'm wondering if you have any suggestions as to how I can reduce my stress level?

Divorce takes its toll on the best of us. It can cause emotional turmoil, cause us to question things that used to have definite answers, and can add to what is often an already high level of stress. However, there are many helpful ways to deal with stress and many are of little or no cost to you. Here are some easy stress-busters that are also easy on your pocketbook:

  • Time alone: focusing on yourself can be a wonderful escape from the stresses of your divorce.  It'll give you time to consider the things you find most important, and it can easily fit into your schedule, whether you think so or not. Exercise time, driving, or any other mundane task can become a welcome solace. Use the time to decide what to pursue in your divorce, or just to take your mind off the whole process. The beauty of alone time is that you get to decide what to do with it.
  • Yoga: This form of meditative exercise will whip your mind and body into shape. Although it seems to go at a slow pace, the physical demand is deceptively difficult. It can give you an outlet to focus your negative energies and stresses from the day and increase your physical health and form. It can cost as low as $3 for an old yoga DVD in a Wal-Mart bin, and formal classes held in studios can range in price from very affordable to very expensive, so shop around. The beauty of yoga is once you learn the basic moves you can accomplish a lot on your own in your own home, so keep an open mind about yoga. Talk to your friends and see if any of them are yoga-savvy; you could make this stress-relief activity even more beneficial with a partner to help share the experience.
  • Reading a book: While this may seem simple (and it is), reading is an affordable and easy way to escape from the stresses of life and immerse yourself in another world entirely. You can re-read those dust-collectors left on your shelves or treat yourself to a Barnes and Noble run, but try to pass on the thrillers and murder mysteries; stressful stories can actually increase anxiety. While good old fiction is a great option, check out the self-help section. Plenty of literature exists that covers stress-relief and enduring divorce, specifically. If you have children, consider reading with them. If they are young, read a classic to them, like Charlotte's Web. If they're old enough to read on their own, devote allotted time to reading as a family. This will help you bond as you work through the new family structure and relieve the stresses they might be enduring as well.

You aren't the first divorcee to feel stress; ask your divorce attorney if he or she recommends professional help or can refer you to someone who has been through the process.

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