I am sure you will concur that we do not need to conduct a poll to acknowledge how challenging single parenting can be. Reading blogs, books and speaking to other people about their experiences can offer an insight, but the reality is, until you are faced with raising little humans single-handedly, it’s hard to appreciate the magnitude of the situation.
As an experienced life coach I would have said that my resilience muscle was well developed. I didn’t realise how embarking on my own single parent journey would make me run for my self-development books seeking strategies to draw on.
Coaching is a model that is used to improve performance, and life coaching in particular helps with working through challenges when you are feeling stuck in life. The process helps you to navigate through the struggles and, more importantly, take action.
A coach’s role is to listen and guide you compassionately, helping you to grow and develop in areas such as relationships, parenting or work, allowing you to devise your own road map to get you through.
These are some of the things that helped get me through in the early days as a new single parent and that continue to serve me eighteen months later.
Regardless of how you entered this journey, the reality is at times you are likely to be feeling emotional and possibly struggling to see what the future has in store. In these times developing a positive mindset is key for you and your ability to parent.
Every day set yourself up for success by having a morning routine that supports a positive mindset. Try ten minutes of meditation practice (try apps such as Calm or Headspace) to bring some stillness to your mind. Journaling can be a really helpful way of ‘dumping’ the thoughts you might carry that do not serve you. Equally, either start or end your day listing five things you are grateful for. When you are feeling grateful, there is no room for feelings of lack.
When you are stressed it is easy for negative thinking patterns to set in. The negative thoughts create a vicious cycle which have an effect on your mood and what you do. In these moments it is helpful to STOP.
Stop and notice you are getting stressed.
Take a moment to change your state – which can be achieved by challenging the negative thoughts with evidence of why it isn’t true, doing a short breathing exercise, getting outside or even playing high energy music.
Observe how you are feeling.
Proceed with what you are doing.
Trying to work through competing priorities can be overwhelming, which can raise anxieties and lead to inaction. To identify where to start, a coaching tool such as the Wheel of Life can help with identifying the different areas in your life e.g., finances, environment, relationships, parenting. Score satisfaction in each area – where you score the lowest should be where you give attention.
Remember no one can do it all, and you don’t have to.
I have been there, worrying how I would get through the week, never mind the month, but challenging your money mindset is key to moving past this.
Language is key. Rather than saying ‘I can’t afford it’ which is a scarcity mindset, tell yourself ‘I will attract the money to get what I want and not just what I need’, which is an abundant mindset. You may have a poor relationship with money based on the money stories you were surrounded by as a child. However, this can always be challenged and worked through.
Visualisation can be powerful, but you need to get crystal clear about what you want your future to look like. Whether it is digital or old-fashioned magazine cuttings on canvas, be specific about your goal and more importantly your why – if your why is not strong enough your motivation will wane.
Make this vision compelling by closing your eyes and thinking about what you will see, hear or feel when you have this goal. Mark how you will know when you have it and get clear on what you might need to achieve the goal.
Self-help author Karen Salmansohn says that ‘the best things in life are waiting for you at the exit of your comfort zone.’
It can be really scary when you are out of your comfort zone, but this is the only way we will make changes. Acknowledge how you feel and why, process the thoughts that are coming up and ask yourself what is the one small step you can take to move into a different direction.
Regardless of the age of your children, you are constantly depleting your energy and without ways to recharge yourself this can lead to physical, emotional and mental signs of stress. Ensure that you have moments in your week that are ‘me’ time to fill yourself up.
Maybe you are fortunate enough to have a night off from parenting. Use this time to get in nature and surround yourself with people who appreciate you. If not, give yourself permission at least once a week, once the children have gone to bed, to ignore the housework, have a bath, eat your chocolate in peace, and recharge.
To find out more about Merrisha visit her website or follow her on Instagram. If you found this post useful you may also enjoy this post from Habit Coach Joy Jewell with six ways to prioritise self care.