I can’t believe it – it’s already December. It's that time of the year that can be very tricky and difficult for anyone who has gone through a family break up or is going through one now.
During the holiday and festive season, which should be a time of celebration and cheer, if you are dealing with separation and/or divorce, it can be extra tough as Christmas is an infamous time for stress and overwhelm, without the added tension, pressure and pain of separation and/or divorce. Which is why it's a great time to look at your self-care routine to help support you through these tough and challenging times.
Happiness is an inside job, and we need to take stock and control of our future happiness and joy. We must stop looking for external gratification and validation. We can either choose to be miserable and upset or we can choose to be happy and joyful. We can take active and conscious steps to change our mindset.
I know how painful this time of the year can be for families that have transitioned from one home to two homes or are in the process of this transition. It is one of the most horrendous experiences for all concerned and impacted by the family break up. But, as I always say, sh*t happens. It’s how we deal with it and process it that counts. This maybe the title of my up-and-coming self-help book for separating and divorcing couples that is to be published in the New Year! ;)
As parents we must take responsibility to model a new way of life and reality for our children – one where there are two happy homes and one where our children are not exposed to conflict and toxicity. It is not divorce and separation that leads to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) it is parental conflict.
I appreciate that in extreme cases, where there are grave risks to a child/ren, if in the care of one or both of their parents that the above ‘utopia’ proposal of having two happy homes will not be an option but in most cases where there are no significant risks, we must strive for this utopia – this will serve us well, our children and future generations to come.
From my life experience so far, I can certainly vouch for ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and whilst you may not see it now, especially when you are in the thick of it, after the ‘dark nights of soul’ are over there will brighter days ahead. You will be much happier and healthier if you take the time and energy to invest in yourself and you do ‘the inner work’ - take care of yourself as a ‘whole person’.
For many people, taking care of themselves is usually focused on their physical health - sweating it out at the gym a few times a week, running or playing a regular sport on a weekly basis.
These are excellent activities to contribute to your physical health and fitness, but what about the rest of you? Your mental health and wellbeing, your emotional and spiritual needs?
We are much more than just our physical bodies and brain. We have a mind that we can train and nurture to serve us, an emotional and very intuitive heart centre that we can learn to tap and lean into for higher guidance, and a human need for love, connection, acceptance and belonging.
These characteristics of the whole person also need to be taken care of. If you practice self-care on this basis, you will be taking a holistic approach to self-care – looking after not only your body but also your mind, spirit and soul.
If you’re not taking care of yourself as a whole person, you may find that you redress the balance in areas where there are unmet needs by developing certain behaviours, traits and habits that don’t serve you well (only give you temporary relief) to disguise any hurt, pain or unmet needs.
Think about it:
How are you tending to and nurturing the important relationships in your life?
When do you set time aside for activities that bring you joy and light you up?
What are you doing to nurture your creative desires and talents?
How often do you take time out in the day to just take a breather and reflect?
When was the last time you really had a good belly laugh with family and friends?
Identify any neglected areas:
Are you using food, alcohol or drugs to mask loneliness, swallow anger, or bury feelings like, guilt and shame?
Are you avoiding difficult conversations and emotions for fear of causing upset, a fallout, conflict or rejection?
Are you over working to prove your self-worth at the cost of your health, sleep and/or relationships?
If you don’t have a self-care routine in place, I implore you to start now. Small consistent steps are all that is needed. A little goes a long way! Learn how to slow down and to take time out to nurture and truly care for yourself.
The useful links & resources page has a drop-down menu for ‘Mental Health, Wellbeing & Holistic Therapies’ that you may find helpful as a starter for ideas on self-care practices like, yoga, meditation and breath work – experiment with what resonates with you and shelf what doesn’t.
If you do have a self-care routine in place, think about where you’ve been focusing your energy and if there are any areas that need some additional love, care and attention.
As some of you will know, I have embarked on a Holistic Life Coach & Mind-Body Practitioner Diploma via the Mind Body Food Institute. This is a journey of self-growth and discovery for me and will enhance what I bring to the virtual table for my mediation clients as well allowing me to offer (in the New Year) holistic divorce coaching services as an alternative offering to those clients who prefer to work with me on a one-to-one basis as opposed to with their ex-partner together in mediation as a better fit for them and their individual needs. Watch this space for more details and information on this alternative service!
If you are curious about how holistic family mediation can help support you and your family through separation and/or divorce, you may wish to consider our FAQs page and/or book in a Free Discovery Call via are services page.
If you are ready to get the ball rolling, please complete and submit a Self-Referral Form and book your initial separate Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) online. We will then get in touch with your ex-partner (unless requested to hold off any communication at this stage) to encourage them to engage in the process highlighting the benefits of family mediation - low cost, staying in control and to have a quicker resolution compared to court based proceedings.