Single moms balance a delicate mix of children, chores and selflessness. I think most of us have it all together and manage quite well, at least most of the time. Then a wrench is thrown in to upset that balance, and we are sent into a period of chaos that seems insurmountable. A child is sick, the car breaks down, the ex is being difficult. Whatever it is, we have to deal with it. With no help. Over the years of my single motherhood, I have had to manage these wrenches one at a time. These seven stress busters for single mothers have helped me, and can help us all restore the balance even in the most rocky of times.
I have a really hard time with this one, because I feel whiny or worry about making my friends feel sorry for me. But the truth is, married or single, friends really do want to know what is going on. I recently opened the floodgates with a friend and found out that she had been through the same thing I had. Just hearing her point of view relieved me of some of the stress of my decision and made me feel less lonely in it. Friends are wonderful sounding boards even if you think they won't understand.
When things get to be too much, get on your shoes and get out of your house or your workplace, if only for 15 minutes. The simple task of walking with only your thoughts to accompany you can help clarify situations. When we escape from our normal environment and drink in the rhythmic pounding of our feet in nature, the issues we are dealing with seem more manageable.
Remember writing sentences in school? Now I use that as a reminder task for my kids. But I also use it to help me decide what is most important and what can be passed off until sometime later. Forcing myself to list and prioritize on paper somehow makes the day much more manageable.
Put the kids to bed, grab a bowl of your favorite ice cream and take in a movie that you have been wanting to see. The two hours of pure selfish escape is so therapeutic when life is kicking you from all directions.
To me, there is nothing more peaceful or uplifting than looking at photos of my kids. Tracking back to their births, their first steps, their messy birthday cake shots is calming to me. It refocuses my attention on the job at hand, raising my kids. Sometimes just resetting my clock this way makes my issues less overwhelming.
I know, I know. Seems simple. But I am talking about real meditation. Taking a few minutes a day to breathe and relax can make a world of difference in our busy days. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, Ph.D., a Chicago health and wellness coach. Sit quietly in your room, let the kids watch one more show, and close your eyes and breathe! It feels great, I promise!
When my kids go to their dad's for a few days each month, I generally take that time to catch up on work and chores. The time passes and, sure, my house is cleaner, but I do not feel like I got a break. Lately, I have been planning time away. Even if it means working at a friends house all day instead of at my own to get away from the "I have to get this done" feeling that happens here, it makes a difference. In times of high stress, I like to plan a girls' night out or a quick trip to the beach or a nature park. Any time away from the norm can help us restore the energy needed to deal with all of the monkeys on our back!
How do you bust the stress in your life? What tricks work for you?
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