A break-up is hard at any time of the year but especially in the summer, when parks seem rammed with lovey-dovey couples, the wedding invites are thudding on the doormat and your coupled-up friends don’t want to come out to play.
And we’re not talking to a small percentage of you. The average divorce rate in marriages in the UK is at 42 percent, and expected to increase in 2022 as couples no longer have to wait two years – people are divorcing in as little as two to six months.
Relationships are hard work – look at the popularity of marriage counselling shows like Couples Therapy on BBC iplayer and Esther Perel’s podcast Where Do We Begin? The good news is we no longer delude ourselves with happy-ever-afters - or put up with unnecessary crap or abuse.
While a quicky divorce is a saviour for many, the entire process can take its toll on our health and wellbeing, especially at the beginning - and if kids are involved.
"There’s nothing nice about it. It’s just hard,” Angelina Jolie told The Telegraph in 2017 after her split with Brad Pitt. “Sometimes it appears as if I am pulling it all together, but really I am just trying to get through my days."
Some of the symptoms of divorce, you won't be surprised to hear, include:
Anxiety and/or depression
Weight loss (known as ‘the divorce diet’) or weight gain
These symptoms can, in turn, lead to increased blood pressure and heart ache, literally.
This is our call-out to the newly-free and single to take extra care of yourself; to build up the strength and resilience that may have been worn down over the years and, most importantly, rediscover who you are.
Here's how to spa through divorce.
Avoid couple-y spas
Need to avoid the couples smooching in hydro-pools or snuggling up on cabana beds? Worry not, there are spas designed more for solo spa goers where the focus is on the individual. We found Bulgari Spa in London perfect for some lavish self-love. Yes, they have cabana beds around the enormous gold leaf pool but you can have one all to yourself – order lunch from the concierge from your four poster, take an occasional dip, and make the most of the very private facilities and indulgent treatments. Book yourself into the private couple’s suite why don’t you – because you are worth it.
Put your health first
Divorce is often referred to as the second most traumatic life experience after the death of a loved one. Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different but even amicable divorce can affect wellbeing. Stress can impact physical and emotional health, so it's recommended that those going through any huge life change ramp up the self-care - and swerve the drinks trolley. In divorce we often loose some mutual friends and social groups along the way, too, so signing up for a health retreat might be the perfect kill-two-birds answer. If you want something lively and distracting with lots going on, check out destination spas such Champneys. Some prefer a yoga retreat far away from anyone they know for the perfect R&R escape. For a more peaceful life reset, head to Homefield Grange; more outdoorsy types should go for Yeotown in Devon.
Get some sleep
Sleeping problems due to anxiety or depression are common after any life-changing event. You are basically in fight-or-flight mode on high alert for the next disaster. Avoid sleep meds if you can and try calming sleep apps that distract your mind from incessant worrying. A sleep retreat can help you tune into your own unique rhythms and offer some useful advice. We recently tried the Sen Spa Ultimate Sleep Spa Break where you can take valuable snooze time in the New Forest; an Ayurvedic head massage and two hours in their blissful hydrotherapy suite should sort you out.
Hypno-reiki is a powerful combo of instant destressing techniques – hypnotherapy which puts you into a deep trance to bypass the negative thoughts and insert a few positive ones - and reiki, a form of massage that aims to unblock all the knotty emotional tension you’ve been carrying while encouraging positive energy flow. You will have a therapist to help you work through your specific issues. We tried this amazing treatment at Ragdale Hall, another destination spa offering a range of healing retreats for those going through major life changes.
If you have a lot of anxiety about going it alone perhaps you have been dependent on your other half for too long. Sometimes doing something out of your comfort zone re-ignites the resilience which you have always had. We love the idea of surf and spa – The Headland Spa and Source Spa & Wellness at Saunton Sands both have surf schools attached. Or head to one of the Resurface Resilience Retreats in North Devon. Battling the elements while trying to balance on a tiny surfboard will give you something new to focus on, as well as teach you a new skill.
The idea of Divorce Parties is not new - many cultures have rituals to celebrate the passage to singledom, from ring-smashing ceremonies in Japan (with a mallet) to dating parties held for new divorcees in North Africa. They now have Divorce Party Planners in the US. What more of an excuse do you need to celebrate your new life with a bunch of close friends? And to thank those loved ones who have supported you through these difficult times. The best spa for toasting your freedom has to be The Spa at Carden – they have an al fresco Champagne bar by the pool after all. Get your Best Woman to give a speech to be reminded how amazing you are – yes you.
Here’s to happy endings - and new bright beginnings. Cheers.