Being a single mother is no easy task. I know. I was a single mother of two children less than six months ago, so I can say with some authority that being a single mother is a beast. It can drive you crazy if you let it. The insanity is not just that you have to raise children alone and be mother and father. The craziness gets worse when you add a full-time job, not enough money, societal pressure, not to mention being blamed for all of society's ill. How does a single mother remain graceful under pressure? How does she keep from wielding a knife at the next person that tell her "it's not that bad"? What keeps her from pulling her hair out at a minimum, and at a maximum keep from killing herself, her children, or just her spirit? The following five Sanity Savers offers some solutions that I find help get me through some really rough times. They may be a temporary, just for the moment fix, but then again sometime that's all a haggard single mother needs.
1. Music lifts the soul.
Listen to uplifting music that inspires, energizes, and praises God. When I am in a particularly deep depression I put on a upbeat gospel or jazz CD and dance like nobody's watching (nobody is). After a few moments of that I am feeling 80% better. I feel more energetic and positive and the problems seem small.
2. Journaling to get the cobwebs out.
Writing out my thoughts and prayers clears my mind and connects me to God (or whomever you believe in). It draws me closer to him. I feel a deeper connection to him because I am sharing all of my thoughts and feelings with Him. I find that the best time for me to write is in the early morning hours. My thoughts are fresh and I can concentrate better. I put the pen to paper and just write what comes to mind or I follow a specific order of giving thanks, confession and repentance, intercession for others, and petition. Which ever way I choose is fine as long as I am communicating with God.
It calms my mind. I do it in complete silence or with soft music playing in the background. Meditating puts me in His sphere. I think about His goodness and mercy towards me and His love for me.
Talking to others or to God through prayer is another way to maintain sanity. Speak to someone gets all the stuff that's bottled up out and clears your mind and body. Discussing problems and concerns can be done by phone or in person while driving along, standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes, or while cooking or cleaning. Talking to God can happen any time; particularly for me doing it in the shower seems to be the best time.
Reading the bible or book of affirmations. Some of my favorite passages are in Psalms and in the New Testament. The words are my words, especially in the Psalms. I get hope when I read the scripture. When I am having a particularly hard time and I can't bring myself to read whole passages of scripture I just read one verse and meditate on it. It gives me what I need at the time and keeps me connected to God. A book of affirmations helps keep me positive about life when my outlook is negative. The power of positive thinking is priceless.
Hopefully you are a much saner single mother now. The tips outlined above are not hard to practice. It takes a few minutes to pop in a CD or jot down a few thoughts in a journal to decompress. Meditating for 15 to 30 minutes or just taking a five minute breather is simple. Phoning a friend or whispering a prayer does wonders to your stress level and finally reading a verse of scripture or one affirmation can bring calm to your sinking spirit. Please take the time to follow these tips. It could mean the difference between a padded room or a comfy chair. You owe it to yourself and your kids.