How A Life Coach Can Help You During Divorce

When you think of a coach, it can have many meanings–that guy yelling plays from the sideline, directing his team to the big win. Or, the person who teaches your children how to hit a baseball or kick a soccer ball during weekly practices and games. Over recent years, coaching has increased in popularity with everyone from corporate executives to stay-at-home moms. A coach can be someone who is trained to help you advance your career, fine-tune your finances, navigate the divorce process, lose weight or even organize your closet.

What Does a Life Coach Do?

A true coach’s sole purpose is to help you reach your goals, on your timeline, based upon your desire for a higher level of fulfillment in your life — in any area. Techniques can include visioning, self-awareness exercises, core value determination, and learning to create new patterns of thinking, communication and behavior via various written exercises, role playing and through real life experiences.

To really benefit from working with a coach, you do need to be ready to actively participate in the process. It will require that you do the work outside of the weekly sessions, and genuinely take a proactive role in changing your life for the better. It is action-driven, even if that action is requiring you to sit quietly for 15 minutes each day to start to get your thoughts organized and clear.

How Do I Choose a Life Coach?

Don’t be afraid to ask for references and discuss the specific process that coach utilizes. As with therapy, there are different approaches, techniques and styles. You may prefer to work with a man or woman. You could choose a specialist (such as a Divorce Coach) or a general Life Coach, like me. You’ll want to feel comfortable with their level of experience and source of training. Some coaches are certified, but that isn’t required to be a coach. You’ll need to determine if this is important to you. It’s also important to understand the cost and time requirements each week, and if there is a contract for a specific number of sessions once you get started.

Do I Need a Life Coach If I’m Already Working With a Therapist?

Coaching and therapy are certainly not mutually exclusive. In fact, combining these services can be of great benefit and work hand-in-hand toward getting you on the right path in your life. A therapist is typically more focused on the root causes for feeling the way you do and helping you with coping, communication and more “feelings-driven” issues. A Life Coach is not an analyst and does not deal in the past. A coach will help you to clarify strengths and weaknesses, and what may be holding you back from moving forward or making better decisions in the future. A coach allows you to set the agenda, and guides you through the process of clarifying your goals, determining a timeline, and holding you accountable to action-driven commitments.

You may be hesitant to engage in a coaching relationship, or seek counseling with a therapist. Your perception of those services may be negative, and it may create feelings of vulnerability or weakness that make you uncomfortable. However, the common adage that two heads are better than one is certainly common for a reason. A Life Coach is a sounding board who will give you objective feedback and provide a perspective and insight to which you may be blind. Your current thinking patterns and behaviors have gotten you where you are; however it requires new thinking and behavior to get you where you want to go. That can only be accomplished with your willingness to consider other options, other perspectives and a significant amount of vulnerability.

Life Coaching During Divorce

Divorce is one of the largest transition times in your life. It gives you the opportunity to make decisions to shape your life in the direction you want it to go. Because this is such a difficult time emotionally, having an objective person by your side to keep you focused on achieving your vision is invaluable. It’s much easier to put your needs and desires aside and play it small than to go after what you truly want. As difficult as it may be to think about this, there is no better time!

With your Untangle The Knot membership, you have the opportunity to work with me as part of your service. During your free assessment with me, you’ll begin by completing an online survey that takes about 20 minutes. I will review the results with you via phone, and this information will help you clearly see how your strengths, weaknesses and values will shape everything from how you deal with divorce negotiations, make life decisions and even identify new career options. Meanwhile, Julie Gannon, Untangle The Knot Co-Founder and Divorce Coach, offers a free consult which will help you begin to navigate the divorce process from start to finish, and into single life.

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Getting Divorced? What to Eat to Beat the Blues and Boost Your Mood

Let’s face it: If you’re contemplating divorce or going through divorce, it’s going to affect your mood. You may be irritable, stressed, emotional, angry, and, on some level, depressed. But what you eat may be able to help the situation — research has shown that there is a relationship between the food you eat and your mood. And no, I’m not talking about Ben & Jerry’s, chocolate chip cookies or a pile of French fries. While these choices may offer a quick source of comfort, they lead to a fleeting boost of energy, then a crash in blood sugar and unwanted pounds. I’m talking about food that actually makes you feel good because of the specific nutrients it contains or the steady energy it gives you; foods that help you stay focused and balanced, so that you can handle anything that comes your way.

In terms of what foods you should be eating to improve your mood and alleviate depression and stress while you’re going through divorce, it comes down to neurotransmitters, nutrients and macronutrients. Let’s break that down.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals in your brain that communicate information throughout your brain and body. Serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are all neurotransmitters that are thought to play a role in helping to regulate your mood:

  • Serotonin, which helps boost your mood, is made from tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in fish, eggs, chicken, turkey and other meats.
  • Dopamine is one of the most powerful stimulating neurotransmitters, and it is converted from the amino acid tyrosine, which is found in almonds, avocados, dairy products, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
  • Norepinephrine is another stimulating neurotransmitter, which is also converted from tyrosine.

Here are some important nutrients that may affect your mood:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids help with alleviating depression and other mood disorders. Grass-fed beef, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, flax seeds, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables are all rich in omega-3s.
  • Lycopene is an antioxidant that helps protect your brain and fights inflammation, which may cause depression. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene.
  • Many other antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have also been associated with decreasing depression. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, and they’ve been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But all berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress. Dark chocolate (yay!) is rich in two types of antioxidants called polyphenols and flavonols.
  • Folate, which is a B vitamin found in beans, citrus and dark green vegetables like spinach, affects mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Asparagus is also a good source.
  • Magnesium is a mineral that may help lower your stress level. Spinach is also high in magnesium.
  • Zinc is another mineral that has been shown to have a positive effect on depression and stress and is found in meat, poultry, oysters and nuts.

Picking the right macronutrients is also important:

  • Protein helps moderate your blood sugar, meaning you don’t experience fluctuations in your energy levels or uncontrollable hunger. Focus on lean meats (steak, poultry and seafood), eggs, tofu, beans, nuts and seeds.
  • Carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits and whole grains have fiber that help keep your blood sugar steady. The processed carbohydrates found in sugar, desserts, fried foods and refined grains could make you irritable and cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
  • Fat, as in monounsaturated, polyunsaturated (including those depression-busting omega-3s) and even saturated fats are essential to healthy brain function. In addition to the foods rich in omega-3s, olive oil, canola and coconut oil, avocados and nuts and seeds are all good sources of these fats. Avoid trans fats, which are found in processed and fried food.

And don’t forget — eating small, frequent meals can help keep your blood sugar levels stable and give you a constant source of energy while keeping your appetite in check so you don’t succumb to your cravings for the not-so-comforting comfort foods.

With all that being said, don’t beat yourself up if you have a face to face run-in with a couple pieces of pizza or one too many cookies. Enjoy the moment, go for a walk or do something active (also shown to beat depression and elevate mood) and make sure your next meal is full of good-mood foods. Many more tips are available to you throughout the physical sections of Untangle The Knot.

Learn more about how Untangle The Knot can support you on your journey through divorce.

Gretchen Ferraro, UTK Editor and Wellness Expert

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