When your relationship ends and you find yourself starting a new chapter of life, potentially as a single parent, it can be difficult to make time for self-care as you adjust to your new normal. However, as the old saying goes, no matter the circumstances, it is essential to “pour into your own cup before you pour into others.” This means that despite the changes occurring in your life, it is essential that you find a way to create space for yourself. Making time for yourself doesn’t even mean you have to do everything for yourself at the exclusion of your other responsibilities, it just means leaving or creating a little room in your life for yourself.
Breakups and divorce are hard mentally, emotionally, financially, and in other intangible ways that impact mental health. A great way to manage the stress of transitioning to being newly single and potentially a newly single parent is to prioritize health and fitness. Research has shown that exercise and physical activity is one of the best and most effective ways to clear your mind and to relieve stress. Regular physical activity benefits your mental and physical health and results in positive outcomes like combatting stress and depression and helps with weight control and illness prevention.
But we all already know that health and fitness are important, the question is how do you make the time? Start by taking small steps and commit to taking a 10-minute walk each day, even if it is walking in circles around the house. Reset your morning and evening routines to include waking up 15 earlier or staying up 15 minutes more to meditate or stretch, to help get your mind and body right for the day, or to enhance the quality of your sleep. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from trusted friends and family, start with your inner circle. Whether it is sending the kids to have dinner with grandparents a couple of times a week while you do something else or swapping childcare nights with a fellow single parent, the point is to unapologetically lean on your village. A tried-and-true method is also to delegate more age-appropriate responsibilities in the house to your kids. Encourage them to pitch in more so you can spend less time on chores and instead devote that time to yourself. Many household chores can be done by children even as young as 6 or 7 years of age.
Seek professional support to help you identify and explore other strategies to create space for your health and wellness. Find a group of people virtually or in person who are in the same boat as you and with whom you can share ideas and experiences, and support one another as you figure out your new normal. If you don’t know where to start, consider joining our bi-weekly group chats that will allow you to pour back into yourself and to gain insights from other participants and professionals in the group.