Anxiety happens…we just have to learn through different processes how to deal with it and what works for us. And always remember…this too shall pass.
Below are 10 Ways I Deal With Divorce and Single Mom Related Anxiety:
I know this one sounds lame and stupid, but it is the most important tool for battling anxiety. I used to catch myself holding my breath and my stomach would be in knots. I have had people tell me, “you need to calm down and breathe”. I seriously wanted to punch them in the throat. That’s when I would take 5 deep breaths in a row while relaxing all the muscles in my stomach and shoulders. It would help me relax and feel a little more at ease for about 5 minutes. Don’t worry though, those little 5 minutes end up turning into 10 minutes…then 20 minutes…then you don’t have to tell yourself to breathe anymore. It’s also a very good way to stop you from assaulting co-workers.
I know, I know. Another lame way to deal with divorce related anxiety. Especially for those who feel less than artsy fartsy and don’t even own a spiral notebook. My mom actually gave me a very pretty red journal and guess what she told me?! Yep…to journal. How nerdy! But after about 3 months, I started journaling. I felt really stupid at first and actually felt like I was 13 again. “Dear diary…” Once I got over the initial weirdness of basically writing my thoughts to a book, some of my true feelings started coming to the surface. I wrote about how I felt the day my husband left me and my two little girls. I wrote about how exactly one week later I hired the best attorney in town and filed for divorce. You can write about anything you want! It's pretty freeing. I actually have three journal pages that have only 1 word on each page. They are “HE’S”, “AN”, “ASSHOLE”. And yes, it did make me feel better, and to this day, if I get really upset…I journal. Surprisingly not lame.
Talk to friends and family that you feel close to. Do not, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, talk with your ex. Remember—what you say can and will be used against you. Only talk to people you trust. This is a must! I made the mistake of telling the ex how I was feeling when I was upset about something only because I felt comfortable telling him. We were together for 12 years and sometimes that comfort zone makes you feel like its ok to talk. Well, it’s not. What I had said to him in confidence was brought up in our mediation. So repeat after me…DO NOT TRUST THE EX.
Walking is what made me feel human again. If you’re a mom like me, finding time to do it is the hard part, but it is well worth it! Hire a reliable high schooler to babysit your kids three nights a week for an hour, plug your iPod into your ears, and walk your butt off! Walking actually helped me regain my strength, physically and emotionally. I’m not a wimp and no one is ever going to make me feel helpless again. Maybe I should try karate….
5. Have a girl’s night:
Go out with your best friend or a group of friends. Go to a local pub, sing drunken karaoke, dance on the bar, take your top off! Whatever you want to do as long as it involves FUN and BEER and FRIENDS! Remember, just because you’re a little (or a lot) down in the dumps and worried, you still deserve fun. Everyone does. It’s a fact. Look it up.
6. Go outside:
Seriously. Get out of the house and go outside right now at this very moment and take a deep breath. Clear your mind and look up at the sky. If it’s daytime, then stretch your arms out and feel the sunshine on your skin. If it’s nighttime, then look up at the stars. And at this very moment, be thankful for what you have.
Sink yourself into a new novel or a series of novels. I love to read not only because it’s fun, but because it places you in another world. You get engrossed in the characters in the book and cannot wait to find out what happens. And guess what?? It completely takes your mind off of your problems and your anxiety disappears. True story. I suggest the Janet Evanovich books…starting with 'One for the Money'. I just finished #20. They are very entertaining.
8. Cuddle Up:
There is almost nothing better than cuddling with your kids. Pull them into your lap and hug on them while they are reading a book. Make a pallet on the floor and snuggle while watching a movie. Hugging and being close to those that you love, not only makes them feel special, but it also relaxes you and eases the anxiety.
9. Stay busy:
I feel the most anxious when I have free time on my hands. That’s when I have the time to start worrying and wondering and questioning things in my life. So I get busy. Sometimes I have to force myself to get up off the couch and do something productive. But I do it! I clean house, clean my car, wash the dogs, do laundry, etc. And at the end of the day, I feel good about what I accomplished and I have one less thing to worry about.
10. Mommy "time-out:"
I do this. A LOT. I might even do this more than I should…just don’t tell my kids. Here’s how it works…whenever I’m feeling anxious or mad and my kids are driving me crazy, I take a mommy time-out. (totally my invention) I say “I’m taking a mommy time-out and I’ll be back in 4-5 minutes”. I even set the timer so they can come get me out of time-out. They love it. During a mommy time-out, you are allowed to do whatever you want. Read a few pages in a book, lock yourself in the bathroom and put on a mud mask, drink pancake syrup. Whatever floats your boat! It’s your time…use it wisely.