Insomnia and Distraction

Those of us who have experienced the highs and lows of divorce know that  we sometimes get into a state of rumination when we cannot shut the pain and loneliness out of our brains.  This can lead to long nights of insomnia and long days of inertia.  If you experience too many nights of insomnia I would recommend talking with your doctor or a psychotherapist about a one-time prescription for antidepressants or sleep medication until you can snap yourself out of it.  In the meantime, you can following the advice given below.

Here are some suggestions to deter insomnia:

  1. Don’t listen to the news before you go to bed.  In case you haven’t noticed, the news is rarely positive.  In fact, it’s mostly negative.  You do not need any more negatives in you life at this time. Forget about staying informed.*
  2. Don’t talk to anyone about anything disturbing after 9 p.m., especially about your case.  If your lawyer or a relative calls wanting to discuss your case, ask them to call you back in the morning.  The last thing you need are unanswered thoughts rattling around in your brain.*
  3. Stop watching TV  at 9 p.m. Spend the next hour or so reading a good book, preferably a happy one , not one about death and mayhem.  Calm your brain down.  Get yourself in the mood to go to sleep.
  4. Make sure that your bedroom is organized, peaceful and aesthetically pleasing so that when you wake up in the morning the first thing you see are pleasant surroundings.  In other words, when your defenses are down internally, don’t compound the this state with chaotic externals.*

Here are some ideas to help you distract yourself from thinking about the divorce:

  1. Make a list of enjoyable things you do or have done alone.  Maybe you’re happy going to a bookstore and reading a book and having a latte. Maybe you like hitting the driving range and killing a few balls.  Maybe you’re a gardener and love going to Home Depot to get ideas.  Maybe you’re a runner or a biker and like to put in mind-numbing miles.  Maybe you like to rearrange furniture, or do scrapbooking (be careful, it’s possible to get a little weepy doing this).  Whatever you like to do, make a list and choose to do something on it when you start to feel down.
  2. Make a list of activities you like to do with others.  Take art classes.  Go to the movies with your girl friends.  Meet a friend for lunch.  Go to yoga with your friends. Schedule a tennis game.  Take a class. Go camping with your kids in the back yard.  Other people are often the best distractions.
  3. Make a list of all the people in your life, from the inner circle of those closest to you to your outer circle.  Next to each persons name, write what special value they have in your life.  A list like this helps you know who to go to for what you need.*

*Lowrance, Michele, The Good Karma Divorce (New York: Harper Collins, 2010)