EP 18 – Divorce, COVID & Managing Stress

In this solo episode, Tosh talks about how to accept what is happening, using your divorce learnt strength and resilience to help you during this time and why embracing a new schedule helps.

Tosh shares lots of useful information about managing stress, living in isolation and a mini-meditation technique to help take your mind of ruminating and anxious thoughts of future uncertainty which is also great for children.

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Podcast Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the divorce goddess podcast. So this episode, not surprisingly, is about divorce, covid, and managing stress, and developing some and recognising your emotional resilience within you.

So this time is kind of unprecedented, and I’m sure future generations, our generations of children and grandchildren are going to be reading about this in textbooks history textbooks, as what happened to the world during this time. And something has been going around the internet for a while, is a quote that I wanted to share with you. And that is the most kids are going to remember how their family home felt during the corona virus panic, more than anything specific about the virus. And that’s why, how you respond because your kids are going to remember this far more than the details. And they’re going to be watching and learning how you respond to stress and uncertainty, resilience. And actually, it’s about developing resilience and not panicking. And you may be feeling alone, but you’re really not alone. We are all in this together. And if you’re worried about society. This is a way to change how your mind is seeing everything. So there’s an opportunity to learn the skills of positive thinking, to be able to calm the mind, and for you to know that you can take control when everything else feels out of control.

And it’s like, this time is a gift.

It’s like this gift to us all. And we may not be feeling like it we might be feeling it might be far from it. But actually, this time really is a gift. And we talk about how we don’t have time for this and we don’t have time for that and I’m so busy. And I’ve got no time in my life for this I got no time in my life and that the world has been given time, and how we use this time, how we show up, how we yeah we best use if we best use this time is really important moving forward. So, the first point I would make in this podcast, there are a few points in this podcast, but the first point I would make is, choose to see how you know how this can be a benefit to your life, rather than just focusing on the negatives.

So, I’m going to be going through three steps with you to help you develop resilience through this time. And before I start with the three steps. The first one I want to say is because this is like a divorce related and relationship related podcast is, we all have far more resilience in us than we actually recognise sometimes. And if you have been through divorce or you’re going through a separation, or you know you’ve been through some really tough times in your life. Now is your time to realise what you have been through before is going to help you now. And I can certainly say from my own experience, that when I started going through a divorce my life pretty much imploded, financially relationship wise, my home you know, there was so much uncertainty going right through a divorce I felt like I’d fallen down into a rabbit hole. I felt I piled into Alice’s Wonderland where you know nothing was as it seemed, before, and we are living a life now where this really feels very similar. So if you’ve been through a divorce. And you’ve been through all that stuff. Yeah, you have got framework, you have got groundwork and you have got foundations. So tap into those strengths that you needed to when you’re going through a divorce and start using them in this new life now. And frankly, I think divorcees have got a whole lot more experience in all of this stuff than most of the people who have been married and couples and their their world hasn’t fallen apart. So really take ownership of what you’ve been through Yeah, all your kids have been through, and use this use this to really help you through these through these uncertain days now. So, first off, is we’re going to talk about acceptance and I’m a real acceptance person, you know we can’t control everything. And sometimes we just gotta get let go of stuff. So we, when we try to control stuff, as we probably have all felt in life before we sort of hit a wall you know when things don’t go well for us. They don’t go how we want them to and through these times. Nobody saw any of this coming. So, trying to control something which is far bigger than our lives is well we just got to look at what we can control. And what is it that we can’t control what is it that we don’t have to fight. And I think this is really important as well, to bring harmony into your home with your kids, is not fighting about what we can’t control. Yeah and wasting energy valuable, you know, our personal wellbeing battery on what we can’t control. So what, what can you control. You can control what you eat. You can control how, you know, whether you choose to do some exercise, you can control whether you choose to learn a new skill you might want to start learning to meditate. And if you want to sign up. It’s a little bit of a shameless plug here but if you want to sign up for my weekly good it’s on my Tosh Brittan website. And I’ve got like a Monday morning, little. It’s called the weekly good, and I’m going to be posting some, like a free meditation course in there so if you want to learn to meditate. I’m not going to take you off to sparkling waterfalls or anything different, it’s just going to be really cool calming meditations you can do with your kids.

And, and, yeah, learn new skill.

So, so accepting, don’t fight it just go with it. You know see it as an opportunity see it as a gift of time.

Point two is going to be about creating a new routine for your family. And I really urge you, although the temptation is get up just hang out in your pyjamas just sit on the sofa all day catch up on some TVs scrolling on your phone. Check the news. I really urge you to get a routine into family life, and you’re going to have your kids are going to be far less kids like routine, they do well routine, and it’s gonna make life easier. So if you’ve got a garden, or you’ve got a balcony on your flat or, you know, you’ve got room in your apartment, do some exercise yeah and there are plenty of great people on on YouTube, are putting out great exercise routines. I can like recommend Joe Wicks, I can recommend Yoga by Adrienne and and I’m sure there are lots of others but those are just the two that I’ve used. Get you kids learning yoga get you, get your muscles all kind of stretched out, get up off the sofa. You want to learn to learn a new language. Yeah, if you’ve got courses that have been in your inbox for a while. Like, I know I have finish the courses take this opportunity to do all those things that you haven’t had time to do for so long, plan to do some lovely cooking with your family teach your kids some new skills. Get baking bread if you got some flour in the, in the cupboard or, yeast, something big some gorgeous rolls like get your kids like this is a gift. And we can choose again how you respond. You know you can either look at this time with your kids going oh my god I’ve got days and days and days and my kids and weeks, or you could choose to go. Actually, you know what, I’m going to look at this differently. I’m going to really take this amazing opportunity to spend time with my children.

And so you can choose to do that. Okay, and have some fun with your kids you know and the more you show as a parent, that the more your kids are going to respond positively as well. So co parenting with somebody self isolating I have an Ex at the moment who has to self isolate and I’ve got the kids. We know I’m doing the run to university tomorrow. And that was unexpected but that’s okay, because sometimes we have to just let those boundaries go a bit we just need to be able to allow ourselves to be a little bit flexible and if you need a bit more money because you’re doing the bulk of the the CO parenting and you need to buy more food in and it’s feeling tight and stretch, then I’ve been talking to other mums about this. and maybe just ask your ex if they you know if they can, and be aware as well that everybody’s worrying about money so you know try and do it in a non emotional way, in a way, in a very Matter of fact, maybe put some figures on a piece of paper I know from experience that just asking for money is probably not the best way of doing it but if I put some figures together, and I put some good reasons why. And then you can negotiate. Don’t worry about asking for extra money if you need it. There’s no shame in going through what you’re going through and certainly probably when you’re going through you’re, like, signing all your financial paperwork off, nobody ever budgeted for something like this so it’s new for everybody. And if you can’t and you need help, elsewhere, and, in, in my group on divorce goddess group on Facebook, it is a women’s only group, but there’s in the resources section in my group there’s lots of charities, who can help you with finances as well so I’d really urge you if you wish to have a little look at that. Okay, so going back and know that you might have. You know teenagers who are grumpy. I’ve got a son who’s not doing his big exams anymore. And, you know, there’s that sense of loss, they’re not going to have the school prom. Perhaps I don’t know, they’re maybe not going back to school they’re not going to take these exams that they’ve been working towards for three years. Everybody’s managing really difficult stuff and their lives. So notice, and just be aware, and maybe have a conversation with your family as well just go get everybody around the table and go right, this is kind of really difficult this is different. We’re all going to have to be a bit flexible we will have to do things slightly differently from when we have before.

And maybe ask everybody to write their worries down or name their worries around the table, so everybody knows, in the family, who is worrying about what. So everybody kind of has the picture. Yeah. One of the things we used to do when we’re going through. When I started going through the process of divorce, whereas we had like this son pottery turtle that one of the kids made, and had a little, like, you know, pottery top on top of it the shell. And if anybody was worrying about anything please write it down on a piece of paper and put it in there. And then every couple of days, it says or anything in the pottery tackle. And so, a writing down your worry names it, and B. We then used to take this piece of paper out, and we’d all talk about the story and how we could help that member of the family get over the worry. So, for example, if you know the children worry about not seeing their friends, and we could talk about how we could. And I know obviously with phones, it’s easier but how we could make time to check in. So for example, at the moment, you can use FaceTime or zoom if you have a zoom account or Skype or WhatsApp, we’re really kind of sort of ensuring that you know your children have some connection with their friends as well, and for you that’s a brief example. Okay so creating new routine for your family, doing lots of exercise and cooking, enjoying each other seeing this as a gift of time. And maybe you want to clear out your attic as well and think of all those jobs you’ve been meaning to do in the house for so long, or in your apartment and clear out those covers you know when we clear out our cupboards. When we clear out our inbox our email inbox. We are doing something that makes us feel good is called a mastery activity, and get the kids to sort out their old toys or their all books or just use this time, you know, and then at the end of it will be like, wow, we’ve got so much done. Rather than thinking. It’s just this terrible time, and we were all locked inside you know make this time memorable make this time, useful. You have a choice.

Okeydoke So, something I’ve thought about which was quite important was that when you find yourself scrolling through lots of social media, and you find yourself like checking in with the news all the time, really try and book in time to check the news office exists important, but try and take yourself off all the feeds the social media feeds. If you find yourself on it, and it’s making you feel depressed or WhatsApp groups and people are there, they’re worried they’re fearful they’re anxious, and you find yourself feeling anxious. As a result, maybe just mute them off for a while. Maybe just take yourself off Facebook for a while. If you need to just check in with those people who make you feel good who care. And we all know what it’s like we’re hanging out with somebody and I kind of call them like energy vampires. So they’re people who they’ve always, there’s always a negative bias they’re always on the drama, you know, there’s the, the drama around everything. Do you just don’t need any more of this. At the moment, so maybe use this as an excuse to take a step back from those people who do energy vampire, and your life. And just so yeah you know just say so we’re just kind of hunkering down, and we’re just gonna kind of be quiet and still and, and just yeah use this as a filter for being with those people who make you feel good, who make you feel positive. And, yeah, go with that too. So, we’ve been talking about accepting don’t fighting what is happening, choosing how you how you respond, creating a new routine for your family. And, and doing all these jobs you’ve been wanting to do for ages and then staying away from negative focused people, and I want to finally finish off with a little exercise to share with you. And it’s called two steps one breath. So, what I would invite you to do is to maybe take a seat. Or if you’re in the car. Maybe you want to pull over. Obviously, be safe. Bring to mind on a scale of one to 10 where it’s maybe a five or six, and bring to mind, a situation in your life, which is really bothering you, which is really stressing you.

And when I say stop what I want you to do is to push both feet into the floor. I want you to take a lovely deep breath through your nose, and back out through your nose so you’re going to take the breath, all the way down, up your nose down your throat down through your chest and down into your belly. So it takes your belly expands on the breath and contracts on the out breath.

And you’re going to follow the with your mind that passage of air, as it travels down into your belly and back out again. So really focusing your mind on the breath, and the taking off those thoughts or worries. So coming back to the situation. So really focusing on that really feeling where you feel it in your body, where you feeling or anxiety or stress might be in your head or your neck. Your shoulders, your back. Maybe your toes are crunched up. Maybe your belly feeling so tight and really be with a situation for a couple more moments.

Stop. I want you to push both feet into the ground and take that lovely deep breath in through your nose down into your belly and back out again, focusing your mind on your breath.

Just check in with how strong those thoughts are around the situation you brought to mind. Noticing if some of the heat has been taken out of it. And if it has know that this little simple exercise works. And I would really encourage you, you and your children as well. It’s great for everybody to practice this exercise regularly set an alarm every hour on your phone. Do whatever you’re doing just push your feet into the ground, take a deep breath. And the more you practice this, the more you’ll get good when your mind is, you know, on the travelator automatic pilot of thoughts. Worrying ruminating. You’ll be able to go ah, I’m worrying, you’ll notice you observe you’re worrying. And you can come back to pushing your feet into the ground taking a breath and taking your mind off that train of thought. And the more you do this, the more you’re creating a neural pathway that you can access more when you’re worrying, or you’re ruminating so you can come back to this new neural pathway of taking two steps and one breath, and notice when you worry, and take the heat out of it. I hope this has made sense. I’m here. I’m here. You’re very welcome to email me at hello at divorce goddess calm and do if you’re feeling alone, you’re feeling isolated. You’re worrying about your mental emotional health. I’m really here to help, and offer any suggestions I can I’ll try and get back to you within 24 hours, via email, and to sign up, if you can, for the weekly good on my Tosh Brittan website for small tips, every Monday morning that goes out, and I will be putting on a free, learn to meditate, five day course. And we’ll go from there. Look after yourselves, eat well, do some exercise in the home, learn a new skill. Be gentle with yourself. Try to meditate if you can or to take deep breaths. Take yourself off, lots of social media and use, and just enjoy this gift of time. And remember, you aren’t enough. You’ve been divorced or separated, you’ve been through some really tough stuff. Take the strength from what you’ve been through, and use it to help you through this time. All right, thanks for listening. Take care and I’ll speak to you soon. And I want to thank you for listening, and if you enjoyed this podcast please download it, and rated on Spotify or iTunes shameless I know but if you help others find it you get to help them too. I want to thank you for joining me today on divorce badass. I’m Tosh Brittan, and I’d love to share my five steps to a kinder divorce workbook, to help you get started today at www.divorcegoddess.com. Thanks for listening.