Going through a divorce is all about survival, eliminating as much stress in your life as you can will help you survive with your mental well-being intact.
You’ve got a lot on your plate. Trying to figure out how to bounce your child(ren) between two households, working with a mediator or lawyer or both, dealing with the emotional stress of your situation, addressing the emotional needs of your children, and possibly even figuring out a move—it’s a lot. Experts agree that divorce is one of life’s biggest stressors.
It’s important at this time to minimize your stress as much as possible.
Luckily, there is a laundry list of activities that you can eliminate (and a few things you should keep) to make divorce less stressful on you.
1. Traditional Dinners: Try my new invention, snack dinners. Get out plates and load them with a combination of healthy items, like carrot sticks, cheese sticks, apple slices, grapes, rolls, peanut butter and pretzels, peanuts, and applesauce. Keep a good ratio of protein, fruits/veggies, and carbs, and you’ve got an easy-to-assemble, well-balanced dinner in minutes.
2. Electronic Devices (Kind Of): It’s been shown that devices aren’t good to rely upon as babysitters, but sometimes when Mom’s stress level is maxed out, kids are bored, or the whole gang is trapped in a waiting room for a last-minute doctor’s appointment, devices can really help. Reliance on devices is not healthy in the long term, though, so try to minimize your kids’ dependence on them. Also, take care to avoid them right before bedtime, as the blue light emanating from them can disrupt circadian rhythms and the sleep/wake cycle—the last thing you need right now is kids who can’t sleep.
3. Housecleaning: Many women clean as a way of coping with stress. If this is you, then great—keep on cleaning! But for a lot of women, cleaning the house is a burden and an extra stressor that really isn’t needed during this tense time. Try only a light cleaning every other week, asking the kids to help as much as possible. If funds will allow, consider hiring a cleaning service to come clean every other week. There might even be teenagers in your neighborhood in need of extra cash, so this may be a way for you to get your house cleaning for less money.
4. Playdates at Your House: Most people will understand that hosting a playdate at your house is an added stress that you don’t need right now. Ask the other parents if they can host for a while, and assure them that it is most likely temporary. Try to arrange a playdate once a week if you can. The extra time you get to run errands, pay bills, straighten up your house, or take a relaxing bath can be invaluable. Plus your kids can have fun at someone else’s house while you get things done—win/win.
1. Chats with Your Kids: Your kids know that your life is in an upheaval. Validating their feelings and openly discussing them in a positive, loving way is key to maintaining your relationship during this difficult time.
2. Bedtime Routine: Your bedtime routine with your children is an important winding-down ritual that can be soothing to them and stress-relieving to you. Keeping a consistent routine during times of stress brings comfort and minimizes stress-related sleep deprivation. Studies show that it can help the mother’s stress levels, as well.
3. Family Date Nights: —Just because you’re no longer going on date nights with your husband doesn’t mean you can’t have them with your kids. There may be financial strain right now, but most cities have free activities for families. If nothing else, a picnic in the park or a long walk after dinner is just a couple of ideas that create great opportunities to bond with your kids and relieve stress without spending a dime.
Going through a divorce is all about survival—eliminating as much stress in your life as you can will help you survive with your mental well-being intact. You and your kids will benefit from keeping those habits that bond you and dropping those tasks that hurt you by overwhelming you. Keep the things in your life that bring you and your child(ren) peace, togetherness, and security. Drop the things that unnecessarily increase your burden. You deserve a break.