Co-Parents: How Are You Taking Care of You?
Posted in Divorced Parents, Personal Work
If you are in the process of divorce or recently divorced, the holiday season can be particularly challenging. During this time of transition from married to single, learning to balance life, career, children, home and any activities for you and/or your children can be overwhelming. It is easy to fall into the mode of taking care of everyone else and attending to the many details of life while overlooking the importance of taking care of yourself.
Sometimes you may tell yourself that this is temporary and after the holidays, or after you get your shopping done, or after the kids get out of school for winter break, that you will some how have more time. Possibly you are trying to stay busy on purpose to avoid feeling your pain.
As a single parent it is really easy to put your children first. You may feel guilty about the divorce and how it is affecting your children so you pour yourself into them and attending to their needs. You may be feeling depressed and lack the energy to exercise, to eat healthy, and to put forth the effort to spend time with family or friends. Yet now more than ever it is important for you to take care of yourself. Let’s do a quick reality check.
How would you “honestly” answer the following questions?
What are you currently doing to take care of yourself? What is the best way for you to care for yourself?
When was the last time you exercised? What have you been eating lately? How have you felt physically?
How much time have you spent relaxing, praying, journaling, working through your divorce issues or reading a book of inspiration or encouragement?
What could you do to take better care of yourself?
I know when I neglect to take care of myself, I have less patience, I am more stressed and irritable, I lack energy, find myself going through the motions and not really enjoying where I am or what I am doing. I may not “feel” well. I usually regret when; I have not made the time to work out, have been eating poorly, missed my quiet time, I commit to do too many things, have unrealistic expectations of myself. Speaking from past experience, I want to encourage you to take care of yourself starting today.
This is the year to be really kind to you. If you don’t want to put up all the Christmas decorations that you have in the past, then don’t put them up. If you have some family traditions you don’t feel like doing this year, its okay. You may not feel like sending out Christmas cards this year, or baking cookies, putting up lights or decorations outside, or attending some holiday program or event. You need to decide what works for you this year and what doesn’t, and give yourself permission to skip it this year.
Recently on the Divorced Parent Telesummit, featured speaker Carolyn Ellis had this to say:
“We need to find a way to have love and compassion for ourselves, as part of the important learning that we can help teach our children as we do our emotional homework.
And part of the support environment is also calling in some back up when you need to have a little break when you need to be taking some time for yourself working on self-care so you can go out have that run out in nature and somebody can manage the children for you, whatever that looks like. So making sure you are supported so you don’t feel like you have to go at it alone or do it all by yourself. Let me throw in some key strategies to help the people who feel the struggle.”
Christina McGhee, another featured speaker talked about how failure in taking care of ourselves impacts our children. On the Divorced Parent Telesummit she said:
” We’ve got our feelings about divorce, our kids have their feelings about divorce; we lose sight of the fact that how we’re managing our stress level, how we’re managing our emotions can directly impact our children’s experience.
You know, kids are great emotional barometers; they are great stress barometers. And you’ve probably heard this saying before, it’s an old southern phrase, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Well, this saying is true, you know. If mom and dad ain’t making it, kids ain’t gonna make it. When it comes to divorce, we need to remember how we’re managing this process. So are we paying attention to our feelings? How are we dealing with our anger and upset and sadness? Are we just sitting on it? Are we ranting and raging? What are we doing with that? Because kids will role model; and again, they take their cues from us. “
If you missed the Divorced Parent Telesummit and the valuable information shared by Christina or Carolyn, click here, to find out how you can read and/or hear their interviews.
Be sure to do at least one thing to take care of you today and every day! Taking care of you benefits you and your children!
Copyright 2011 Shelley Grieser All Rights Reserved.