Shelter-in-place and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic have changed many aspects of our work, school, and family lives. For divorced and separated parents, weekends and alternating days without children can bring emotional challenges.
During the early months of separation, adjusting to time spent apart from children can be a challenge. As a divorced mother, I remember sometimes forcing myself to make plans with friends to assuage the loneliness I felt, even when all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers.
In pre-COVID times, we had plenty of options to fill our days and nights without our kids. We could meet a friend for dinner or happy hour, go to a movie, or do a workout at the gym. We might meet up with a group for a book club or game night. We might even try out online dating.
Now, even if we’ve already adjusted to split custody, shelter-in-place can bring feelings of loneliness because we no longer have access to the activities we had before.
During COVID, how can we deal with loneliness when we are not with our kids?
While we may not be able to meet friends safely in person, technology provides numerous ways to stay connected, from FaceTime and Zoom to apps like Houseparty. Plan a virtual happy hour, book club, or game night.
Pick Up the Phone:
With more people at home, now is a great time to reconnect with friends and family around the country. Check in on an older relative or friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Schedule a weekly phone call.
Work Through Your Reading List:
If you’re like me, you have a Kindle or nightstand piled with books. Most libraries have ebooks you can download or you can schedule a pickup.
Put on your mask and walking shoes. Take the dog for a walk or go for a jog. Stream an online workout class. Check if your regular gym or exercise studio has online classes.
Websites such as edX and Coursera offer thousands of college courses for free from universities including Harvard, MIT, University of California Berkeley, and others. Learn a new language or how to code. Take an art or literature class. Brush up on professional skills.
Cook Your Way Around the World:
Dust off some of your cookbooks or find recipes online. Join the legions of people baking sourdough bread or make a healthy stir-fry.
Enjoy the Solitude:
Many divorced moms spend weekdays supervising our kids’ remote learning while juggling our own work responsibilities. Take this time to unwind. Listen to your favorite music. Sleep in. Watch a favorite movie or binge-watch a season of your favorite TV show.
Remember, as a divorced mom, you’re resilient. You’ve successfully adjusted to major life changes and bumps in the road. While we all face new challenges during the pandemic, we’ll get through this together. Try a few or all of these tips. Let us know how you’re doing!