Being a mother is demanding enough without the added stress of all that accompanies the dissolution of a marriage. From the first moment we knew our marriage would not survive, to having our divorce finalized, many of us felt or still feel lost, confused, dazed, and even powerless.
Even if our marriage wasn’t the healthiest or the happiest, at least we knew where we would be spending the holidays and how the mortgage was going to be paid. We also knew that in spite of how dissatisfied we were with our spouse; our children were growing up in a home with both of their parents. The familiar was comforting and often times softened the blow when in courageous moments we dared to consider we might be settling for less than what we deserved.
Being divorced or even widowed requires mothers to shift and grow in ways they never imagined. None of us ever expected to be single or to have to face raising a family on our own someday. This unchartered territory represents frightening unknowns and can mark the beginning of an overwhelming and anxious journey. From obsessing over whose fault the breakup was to having to deal with things like insomnia, overeating, nervousness, fatigue, and bouts of crying, being a newly single mom undoubtedly pushes us to extremes.
A divorce is like an enormous snowball that has been pushed down a hill. Once it starts rolling it doesn’t stop until the hill levels out. Life is changing and it’s changing quickly. Although your logical mind understands the marriage is over, the emotional mind takes some time to catch up. To help you through this difficult time here are six things you can do to ground yourself until your life levels out.
- Get Some Shut Eye
Sleep deprivation only makes whatever is going on in your life more difficult to handle in a healthy and empowered way. Your body needs more rest when stressed so remember to make getting at least seven to nine hours of shuteye a priority. This may require you to reorganize your current routine. Consider it a healthy change that marks the beginning of you feeling more in control of an area in your life you actually can control.
- Take a Bath
When our minds are racing it is easy to rush through our daily routines without very much thought. We brush our teeth and scoff down our breakfast bars at lightning speed. As our minds race, we fail to realize how detached we are from the moment. Choosing to take a bath instead of a shower offers us the chance to slow down our thoughts and to connect to the moment. Even if the world outside is going crazy, we can always find the time to take a bath and leave our worries outside the bathroom door even for just a little while.
- Eat to Beat the Effects of Stress
Stress is related to a plethora of illnesses that can impact us physically as well as emotionally. Being a newly single mom is emotional enough, so to ward off any additional issues with anxiety or our cognitive abilities, it’s a good idea to make sure our diets are as nutritionally sound as possible. Stress related hormones do a number on our immune systems. Be proactive and choose foods that will enhance your immune system rather than compromise it. Skip that bag of chips and choose an apple instead.
- Put That Adrenaline to Good Use
It is easy to get caught up in the worries of the mind and especially when you are a newly single mom. But the truth is worry never fixes any problems. In fact, obsessive worrying can often times make us feel even more out of control. The body responds to every thought that rolls around in our minds. When we are obsessing over an issue we cannot control, the body responds with stress hormones. Stress hormones are tied to depression as well as many other health issues. Exercising is a great way to begin combatting some of the expected and unavoidable stress responses our bodies experience due to life changes. If you’re feeling stressed, take a walk and give your body the chance to burn off some of that adrenaline.
- Still the Mind
Ever wish you could flip a switch and shut your mind off? Well, believe it or not you can. I know, I know, crazy right? Obsessive thinking is one of the most frustrating, stress causing, and self-defeating states of the mind. When we are faced with particularly challenging times in our lives, it is even more essential we do what we can to slow our minds down. Meditation is like anything else we wish to master. It requires practice, patience, and a commitment to the desired outcome. If you are entirely new to meditation you may wish to start off by trying guided meditations first. There are a number of online apps you can download right to your smart phone to help you get started. Meditation will help you learn how to slow down your thoughts and detach from your emotions as well. Feeling more internally balanced will ultimately help you deal with the stressors in your life from a more empowered sense of self.
- Accept How You Feel
Let’s face it; being a newly single mom can be scary. Just remember we’ve all been there. Every mom you know who is now single has faced the same kinds of doubts, fears, worries, and concerns you have. It is important to always remember that it is normal and appropriate to be afraid and to not always know what direction to take. When we accept that feeling overwhelmed is simply part of the process and is actually normal and even appropriate under our conditions, it helps us to breathe a little easier. It’s okay to feel whatever we feel. Pretending we have all the answers or that we are okay when we aren’t only adds more stress to our daily lives. Sometimes it’s better to sit in the tub and cry for an hour than it is to go to a dinner party. Accept how you feel and know that it is healthier to feel what you feel than it is to deny what you feel.
Life is full of change and the more constant we are with our own self-care routine, the easier it will be for us to adapt to our new lives.
Lisa A. Romano is a sought-after Life Coach and Author who specializes in helping people become conscious of what is unconscious and preventing them from aligning with their authentic, higher-self. She is also the creator of The12 Week Breakthrough Coaching Program, which has helped hundreds awaken to their true self and heal the childhood programming that has been keeping them stuck. For information on Lisa’s coaching programs visit www.lisaaromano.com.