SIMPLE SELF CARE DURING DIVORCE - Part 2
As I said in the PART 1 of this post, self-care is never more important than during periods of high stress. And there’s not many more stressful events in life than a relationship transition through separation or divorce.
Your self-care needs to be high on your priority list – right up there with breathing!
Here are a few more tips to support you in caring for yourself while you navigate your divorce, and beyond.
16. POWER NAP
A nap of between 10 & 20 minutes is sufficient to ease your sleep debt and, especially for anyone who struggles to sleep at night, are best taken before 2pm.
Napping also has a number of other benefits including improvements in mood (yay!), alertness, attention and memory.
With all of those beautiful benefits, it’s time to show yourself some love, snuggle up and snooze!
17. SOAK UP THE SUN
Especially in winter or darker, colder climates, 15 minutes of sunshine on your skin is a mini gift of love to yourself.
If you need a reason beyond the fact that sun on your skin feels good, exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of serotonin which lifts your mood and helps you feel more calm and focused. Of course, sunscreen is vital.
So, soak up those rays; feel them warming and soothing you.
Scent is another powerful elevator of mood.
Light a candle or diffuse some oil.
Buy a bunch of flowers that smell lovely, or pick some from your or a neighbour’s garden to bring inside. Added bonus – they look beautiful too.
Splash around some essential oils. Try peppermint or cinnamon to boost your mood, jasmine or chamomile to calm and ease tension, dill to ease emotions when you’re feeling overwhelmed, lemon to clarify the mind and dispel anger.
Laughter really IS one of the best medicines we can gift ourselves.
Show yourself a whole lotta love by finding a way to make yourself laugh. Read, watch or do something that will trigger a giggle.
If you have to – fake it until you make it. Pretend laughter very often turns into the real thing and there is strong evidence that a fake or forced smile can actually trick the brain into thinking it’s the real deal, having a similar effect on your mood.
Give yourself the simple gift of a good gut laugh.
Set aside 5 minutes of your day to be silly – with or without your kids.
Play a childhood favourite (elastics, anyone? Twister?). Sing a silly song. Do a silly dance.
Think of your favourite childhood activities. Go and swing as high as you can on a swing in the park. Climb a tree. Draw, paint, colour, or build a blanket fort. Have a sleep out in your own backyard.
A splurge doesn’t have to be a weeks’ holiday in the Maldives or dinner in an expensive restaurant, although it absolutely can.
That fancy chocolatier near your workplace? Buy ONE chocolate to treat yourself at the end of your day. Or a perfect piece of your favourite fruit – a fresh fig or a perfect peach. Eat slowly. Savour it. Indulge yourself. Enjoy every second of the splurge.
Have a massage or a facial. Get your hair cut. Have a manicure or pedicure. Buy a new dress, lingerie or pair of jeans. Save for it if you need to, and make YOU a priority in your budget.
Love and value yourself enough to occasionally splurge. Investing in your own self-love shows YOU how important and special you are.
Hanging out with your favourite people is vital for your well-being. They life you up. They make you laugh, and allow you to cry without judgement. They know and love you for exactly who you are – they’ve seen you and shared space with you at your best and your worst.
Identify the people and relationships that bring you joy and make time for them. Be adventurous and find some new people to spend time with.
Connection and community give deeper meaning to our lives. Brene Brown defines connection as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship”
It’s hard to find a greater way of being self-loving than seeking connection with your tribe.
23. DIAL A DELIVERY
When you’re at overload, order online.
My local, independent supermarket delivers orders over $AUD50 FREE! Unlike the major retailers who also deliver, this service comes with a smile, a chat and that extra bit of care. Self-love and sanity saver in one hit!
You can order almost anything online – dinner, toilet paper (check out one of my favourites Who Gives A Crap, and you’ll never run out!), groceries, meal kits – so serve yourself up a dos of self-love by getting it dropped to your door.
Go paper. Not digital.
Books. Magazines. Newspapers.
Curl up in bed, on the couch or outside in the sunshine.
Join a book club or your local library, or take out a subscription to your favourite magazine.
When it lands in your mailbox each month, it’s like a hit of self-love reminding you how special you are.
(HINT: when you fill out the address form for delivery, give yourself a special self-love filled name. A magazine addressed to “Princess Sallyanne” will fill your heart with an extra dose of loving every time it arrives in your post box!)
25. FIND YOUR FLOW
Flow is that highly enjoyable state of being, where you are wrapped entirely in the present, and makes us more creative, productive, and most importantly HAPPY.
Find what it is that takes you into YOUR state of flow and love yourself enough to set aside (and fiercely protect) some time each day / week for it.
Sit or lie somewhere quiet and just dream.
If you can’t find somewhere quiet, plug your headphones in, choose some meditative or ambient music to shut out the world.
Allow your thoughts to drift.
27. SEEK SOLITUDE
OK, so at my core, I’m an introvert and time alone in my own space, recharging and reconnecting to myself is as important to me as breathing.
While not everyone feels this way, I believe while you’re navigating such a massive and emotional transition as separation or divorce, everyone can benefit from some solitude.
Gather your thoughts. Reconnect with yourself. Recalibrate your emotions. Get your mental and emotional stuff done.
Learning to be comfortable in your own company again, understanding who you are as a single person, reconnecting to who you were before your relationship; finding who you are not and who you want to be is a powerful way of showing yourself love.
28. BREAK THE RULES
Eat ice cream for dinner.
Stay in your pyjamas all day. Go underwear free.
Take a mental health day.
Pick the kids up early from school (or don’t take them at all... just once) and drive to a favourite spot for afternoon tea or dinner.
Watch T.V. in bed. In the daytime.
Drink a glass of wine at lunchtime.
Whatever life “rules” you impose on yourself and your family, question them and occasionally ALLOW YOURSELF THE LUXURY of BREAKING THEM.
29. NO THANKS
Learn to say “No thank you” without guilt, shame or excuses.
Don’t overload yourself with “shoulds” and don’t explain to anyone WHY you need to say “no thank you”.
Self-love necessarily means protecting and preserving your time and energy for what is most important to you.
No, thank you. I can’t make that dinner / event / meeting.
No, thank you. I’m not able to be involved in that committee.
No, thank you. I’m not available to look after your kids this weekend.
And no, thank you. I don’t need visitors on my weekend without my kids.
Love yourself enough to say a simple, gracious no, thank you.
30. SAY YES
When people offer you help and support, the kind you want and need SAY YES.
People WANT to help and support you and sometimes they don’t quite know how or what you most need.
If someone offers to pick up your kids from school and drop them home and it would ease your load – say yes please!
A friend offers to drop around a meal, mow your lawn or shout you a drink / dinner out – say yes please!
Self-love sometimes means saying yes and accepting the love of others.
Not all of these strategies will work for you.
Of the ones that resonate, make a list and keep it handy as a reference.
Start your journey towards self-love today, and commit to ONE thing EVERY DAY.
On the days when it seems too hard and all else fails, keep it simple.
The day I sat writing this blog post, my one-time-client and now dear friend Suzanne secretly delivered a bunch of flowers and a block of chocolate to my front door, then sent me a text:
“Chocolate and flowers pretty much fix everything”
Add some time, and she’s perfectly right.
Love from my self-loving self to yours,