Grapes Are Not Just for Eating (or Drinking)

Mar 5, 2021

Divorce can be a tough and trying emotional experience. There are no easy ways of coping with that anguish, uncertainty and emotional turmoil. Mediation, as a process, is designed to keep a challenging transition from being even more stressful. But what else can be done on a daily basis to deal with the stress of divorce?

In researching the topic of depression, I came across a behavioral therapy acronym called “GRAPES”. Embedded in this simple word are some helpful daily tips that can be applied to everyone’s life, especially those in the midst of divorce.


G stands for Gentleness
R stands for Relaxation
A stands for Accomplishment
P stands for Pleasure
E stands for Exercise
S stands for Socializing

Let’s explore how you can make GRAPES work for you in your daily life while going through a divorce:

Be gentle with yourself.
During difficult times, we can be very hard on ourselves. By doing just the opposite—being kind to ourselves—we can help ourselves move forward and not dwell on the disappointments of the past.

Even if we only spend a short time each day doing something relaxing, it can help us to find our own emotional equilibrium.

Find time for relaxation.
Yes, life is busy, but even if we only spend a short time each day doing something relaxing, it can help us to find our own emotional equilibrium. Pausing to read a fun article, listening to music, playing with a pet and enjoying a hobby are a few possibilities.

Accomplish something today.
This doesn’t have to be a big deal. When we look at something we’ve done (make a list of simple tasks and cross them off as completed), we are reminded that it is a symbol of progress. Even filing that stack of papers, deleting unwanted emails or putting away accumulated clutter is progress. Any small accomplishment is worthy of note.

Do something that gives you pleasure.
We are allowed to have fun even when we’re not at our best. Find something to do that you enjoy, from taking the time to enjoy a cup of coffee to connecting with friends.

Get some exercise.
This can be as simple as taking a walk. Exercise is good for our bodies and can stimulate our minds in a very positive way.

Socialize with others.
In the time of Covid-19, this goal can be a little harder to satisfy. But by spending some time with others on a socially distanced walk, on Zoom, by phone or perhaps through Meetup-com or other social platforms, we can overcome a sense of aloneness that is often present during divorce. This is a time to expand yourself socially as much as the current situation allows.

Gentleness, relaxation, accomplishment, pleasure, exercise, socializing—whether you are in the midst of divorce or just in the midst of life, these are tips that can make your days go better.