Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels

Wow!  Hasn’t the world changed fast? Everything that was familiar about our lives has been turned upside down in a matter of days.  Around the world, fear of the unknown is at the highest it’s ever been for generations.

For those of you in the early stages of a divorce, worried about finances etc, probably living alone for the first time in years or even decades, the compulsory social isolation is a double whammy. The very time we most need a hug, none are available.  We are now physically cut off from friends, family and grandchildren.

Back in those early days of my divorce, friends and family were generous with those life-saving hugs, and boy I needed them.  I can still remember that real empty ache that only human contact fills.  I’m lucky having grandchildren because they love to give and receive hugs and my friends and family still greet and leave me with a hug.  It’s not the same as being held and sinking into one of those long life-affirming cuddles, but they help.

So the question is, cut off in your home, in self-isolation for at least 14 days, how can you attempt to replicate that feeling of being held?  Let’s be honest, there is no substitute for the warm touch of another human being, but think of how we swaddle a fractious baby to comfort it, or put a ‘thunder blanket’ on our dogs during a thunderstorm to ease their anxiety. How can we adapt those techniques to help ourselves?

Some suggestions:

  1. Tuck yourself into bed really tightly.  If your duvet cover isn’t quite big enough to do so, it might mean replacing a duvet cover with blankets so you can tuck the blankets in hospital/hotel-tight.  Or, use a sheet under your duvet cover and tuck it in really right.
  2. Purchase a weighted blanket.  Weighted blankets are exactly what their name suggests.  Check out info on them here.
  3. Using pillows, cushions or a body pillows: Add pillows or cushions to your bed to fill the bed up and make it feel like there is someone there.  Or perhaps consider purchasing a pregnancy body pillow to hug.
  4. If you have a dog, but it’s banned from sleeping on your bed, maybe now’s the time to relax the rules.
  5. I swear by a covered hot water bottle.  Whether it’s at my feet, my back or on my stomach, the warmth helps on a cold night.
  6. When you’re sitting on the sofa, wrap yourself up as tightly as you can in a blanket.

Also, try and do your best when it comes to nutrition, exercise and sleep. Eat properly?  Sleep? Almost impossible in the early stages of a divorce, but try and do your best.  Even if you can’t sleep, try and stick to a regular bedtime and rest your body if not your mind.

And also try and get out in the fresh air – maintaining proper social distancing at this time – at least once a day. Fresh air and exercise will help heal your body.  Perhaps take a virtual walk with a friend – chat on your phone as you both walk in different places and discuss what you are seeing and hearing.

Those are just a few ideas.  Look after yourselves. This is going to be a long haul, both in terms of the corona virus and healing after the shock of divorce. But you’ll get through it.  Hang in there.  You’re stronger than you think!

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