Last Saturday, I took a workshop on sleep and well-being. I’ve always been nocturnal and have long considered those hours between 11 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. as bonus hours of “me time” to read for pleasure or watch TV that could not be fit in during the day because of work. I’ve also worked New York time zone hours for 20 years, waking up at 6:30 a.m, which left little time for sleep. Later, I found that no matter what time I went to sleep, I still woke up too early, or even worse, woke in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep.
What I learned in the workshop is that good sleep begins during the day.
A hyper-vigilant nervous system cannot achieve a restful night’s sleep. And the disorder of hyperarousal that is present during the day is present during the night also.
What does this have to do with divorce and financial planning?
It reminded me of my divorce clients, as many of them report that they either sleep a lot or not at all. Regardless, they are unrested and do not experience restorative sleep.
We’ve talked about the dangers of inaction during divorce from a financial perspective, but what about from a health and wellbeing perspective? My divorce clients fall into two camps:
- There are those who move along consistently step-by-step, methodically toward their goal.
- Others are counter punchers or don’t punch at all. I would not call them procrastinators. They just move to the beat of a different drummer.
What can look like laziness or procrastination can actually be someone who is discouraged by something that seems immensely difficult or overwhelming. They flee and focus on other tasks in an effort to avoid what must be done. In an extreme case (that I imagine did not end well, as I can’t work with situations like this) a former client wrote: Please get me divorced as soon as possible. I don’t want to have anything to do with my divorce.
What’s this all have to do with sleep, divorce, and well-being? Psychologist Bella Zeigarnik discovered that adults remember interrupted tasks 90% more than those tasks they completed. In other words, uncompleted tasks will stay on your mind until you finish them, even at night, even when you are sleeping.
How do we set the stage for restorative sleep and mental well-being while under prolonged stress like divorce? By moving forward in the process, and not freezing in fear.
For many of my clients, I am more than just their divorce financial analyst—I am their divorce sherpa! When we meet, I will analyze your situation. I will present you with:
- a meeting synopsis;
- the guidelines of our engagement;
- your prioritized divorce ‘wish-list’;
- a list of open items that need to be provided to complete the next step;
- a list of items for research and follow up; and
- a commitment to work with your attorney or team to obtain the best result.
I will give you what you need to take immediate action. You will sleep better at night—but only if you follow my directions!