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Is it a FANTASY?

Often, and especially when our children are young, we fantasise about being left alone, if only for a few minutes! Oh the joy of being able to go to the toilet without a child hanging off us, enjoy a shower alone, or even eat a whole meal sitting down without being interrupted by some family drama.

We sometimes regret the things we wish for, and this can be the case for some separated or divorced parents. Even though they may have craved peace and silence and an escape from the day to day stress and dramas of parenting, having enforced alone time due to shared custody can feel painful and problematic.

When your children are spending time with your ex, being alone can feel very stressful. You may miss your kids, worry about how they are feeling and being treated, and it can bring up the trauma of the separation and negotiations around shared parental care.

Now more than ever is the time to view this alone time as a gift – an opportunity to work on and nurture yourself – both physically and mentally, so that you are the strongest, most loving and present parent you can be when your children return home to you.

Below are some simple and affordable suggestions:

1. Meditate

The word meditation can scare some people, with many saying ‘that’s not for me’, or ‘I can’t meditate’, or ‘I have too many thoughts in my head to meditate’. However, there is no good or bad with meditation, you just have to commit to doing it – even for just a few minutes a day. Meditation calms you down, helps you centre yourself, and gives you a break from your ever-racing mind. Meditation is free and you can do it anytime and anywhere. There are some wonderful Apps out there to help you get started such as 1GiantMind and Smiling Mind.

You have nothing to lose by giving it a go!

2. Get OUTSIDE!

Nature is a universal healer. Scientific research has proved that being in nature actually reduces people’s stress levels. There’s nothing better than bathing yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the natural beauty around us, so next time you are feeling blue, get out of the house and literally smell the roses! It’s another free resource that is available 24/7!

3. Exercise

Exercise can sometimes seem like a chore, however the benefits are proven and many. Try finding a form of exercise that you enjoy and have fun doing. It could be as simple as going for a walk or trying something new like Zumba or martial arts. You may feel tired or sore at first, but will soon feel energised and proud of yourself every time you exercise!

FREE SEPARATION Checklist, the sites you MUST know when navigating through separation! Fill in your details to receive this and more via email. Links to template, government support and LOADS more!

4. Socialise

Use this precious time to catch up with your girlfriends. Life as a parent can get hectic and we can forget to nurture our friendships and make connections with new people. Again science has backed this up, so if you know that you are going to be alone, pick up the phone and proactively organise a get together with your besties.

5. Have FUN!

Don’t forget that life should be fun! It is all too easy to get bogged down in the seriousness and responsibilities of adulthood and parenting, especially if you have been through a traumatic or lengthy separation. Try and recapture some of the joy and fun in life -even if that means watching some crappy comedy on Netflix or reading a funny and trashy novel in a hot bubbly bath. Again science is on your side with this one, so give yourself permission to laugh and be silly whenever you can!

I hope these ideas have given you a way to re-frame your situation and take advantage of the extra (and possibly unwelcome) time that that you might now have in your life.  

“There are some places in life where you can only go alone. Embrace the beauty of your solo journey.” - Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

Vikki Friedman is the Founder of METreat Women’s Retreats and a busy mother of three boys aged 14, 11 and 9. Having a job in online fundraising and the pressures of motherhood took its toll on Vikki and she battled for years with anxiety, depression and issues of self-worth. 

It wasn’t until she was hospitalised and came through the other side that she realised something needed to change. She found her favourite aspect of attending retreats was not only the ‘ME’ time for herself, but the opportunity to connect with other women, form new friendships, share new experiences and, most importantly, have fun and laugh! 

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