Experiencing a personal crisis can make you feel as though your life is spinning out of control. Whether you are mourning the loss of a long-term relationship, or you've just learned that your job is in jeopardy, there are some things you can do to get through this period of time and begin to be a survivor in your own eyes.
- Be determined.
Decide right now that you will get through this personal crisis. Your life may not be the same as it was before. Some of the changes you are going through may indeed be permanent ones. But be determined that you will emerge from these circumstances stronger than ever before. Decide today that you will be a survivor.
- Find support.
You are not alone. There are many people who have experienced situations similar to yours. Seek out a support group for single parents or come share you experiences in our Single Parents' Forum.
Also, seek out the support of those around you. The personal crisis you're going through is a time to lean on your friends and family for support. If you're concerned that they're too quick to try and "fix" your situation, remind them that what you really need right now is someone to listen to you.
- Talk it out.
Share your feelings openly with someone you trust. It's very important that you express your feelings of sorrow, anger, anxiety, and confusion. If it's helpful to you, keep a journal at this time. You may also want to consider seeking professional help by talking with a counselor or therapist who can help you put these events into perspective and assist you with the coping and decision-making skills you need at this time.
- Take it one day at a time.
You don't have to have your entire future worked out right now. Just focus on getting through this day. If it helps, break your days into smaller pieces, and focus on getting through just this morning or the next hour.
- Ask for help.
There are many sources of help around you. Turn to your friends, family, and neighbors. Chances are, they want to help already, but they may not be sure of what you need. Also seek the help of community organizations in your area that are prepared to provide material assistance, counseling, and parent education.
- Stay active.
Keep yourself busy with the normal routines of your life. Also, consider being physically active by taking a brisk walk once a day or incorporating some other form of exercise. This can make a huge difference in the way you emotionally and physically deal with stress. Regular exercise also provides a wonderful built-in time for thinking and reflecting. You may find that after a long walk, you feel more clear-headed and prepared for making important decisions.
- Take care of yourself.
It is extremely important that you continue to take care of yourself as you cope with this personal crisis. This means getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and eating a balanced diet at this time. You may also need to teach your body to relax again. Do this by taking some time each day to sit for 5-10 minutes and simply breathe. Repeating this technique each day will become easier, and you will notice a real difference in your state of mind and the amount of tension you hold in your body.
- Manage what you can.
If you're feeling extremely overwhelmed, focus on one task you can complete that would make you feel more empowered and in control. This could be as simple as doing the dishes or getting a work-related project out of the way. If everything feels out of control, try setting up a calendar system to keep track of your schedule and the kids' events. Seeing the life ahead visually on paper in front of you can help you feel more in control of what's happening.
- Learn to recognize your personal strengths.
You already possess much of the personal strength you'll need to get through this. What would help you into tap into that core strength? Make a list the strengths you observe about yourself. Be honest. They're really there! If you have trouble with this exercise, ask a friend who knows you well to articulate your strengths for you. Sometimes others see in us amazing qualities that we have yet to recognize.
- Have a positive attitude.
Remain hopeful about your future. Many people have experienced circumstances similar to yours, and have gone on to lead vibrant, productive, fulfilling lives. You cannot see the future at this time, but deciding now to be hopeful about its prospects will set you on a positive course.