If you have ever flown, you know the emergency instruction to parents traveling with children is to first put the oxygen mask on yourself so you can then put it on your child. You won’t be much good to them if you pass out from lack of oxygen. You must take care of you so you can then take care of them. So it is with coping with divorce. You must take care of yourself so that you can be there for them.
Your own recovery is vital to your children’s recovery. If you can be calm and emotionally present, your kids will feel more at peace. So what steps can you take to help yourself and ultimately help your kids?
1) The temptation may be to hibernate, to avoid social activities. So make yourself see friends and family often even if you don’t feel like it. It will be good for you to have a distraction from what is going on. If you don’t want to talk about your divorce, tell them. They will understand.
2) Keep a journal. Studies show that people who write down their feelings, thoughts and moods are more emotionally healthy than those who don’t. This will help you to release anger, tensions, sadness or confusion. As time passes, you can look back on where you have been and how far you have come.
3) Exercise often. This releases a lot of tension and stress and helps you to feel good about yourself. And eat healthy, living foods such as vegetables and fruits. The temptation may be to turn to comfort foods but try to avoid these.
5) Do things that are important to you. Your life is not over just because your marriage is. Try out something new that you have put off doing. However small or large it may be, it could really help your mental well-being and give you a sense of satisfaction. You are worth taking care of. I have heard people say “I just don’t have time to take care of me”. Big mistake. We have time for what is really important to us. If you really do not think you have time, take a few days and write down what you are spending your time on. You may be amazed that you really do have time to take care of you. Are you watching a lot of TV? Are you sleeping in a little later than you should? You are very important and if you aren’t feeling so, your children know so. You are very important to them so take care of yourself. Psalm 8:4, 5 says “ What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor”.
We are God’s highest creation, He is for us and not against us when we do our best to walk with Him. It may not be perfect but He is on our side when we call to Him. I’m sorry your marriage is over, you may have wanted it or you may not have, I don’t know. But I do know that when we love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, we become His Bride. Our marriage relationship may not have been what we hoped for but we have the promise and hope of a lasting relationship with our God into eternity.
You are valuable and Jesus felt your worth so much that He died for you. So hold your head high and take good care of yourself so you can take good care of your children. You are not a victim, you are a victor and through Christ you can do all things.
Next time we will talk again about helping your kids cope but with the emphasis on them. This week was about taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of them better.