If you follow me on social media, you may well be aware that the past few months have been super hard. Not only have I been juggling the usual single special needs parenting, a pandemic and living in a glorified squat… I’ve also been struggling to come to terms with my Sister’s death. It has been a constant battle to keep going, and not to be consumed by what’s been going on around me. So today I’m sharing how I’ve managed my stress levels lately. Read on to find out what’s worked for me.
How I’ve Managed My Stress Levels Lately
Sorting out the affairs of someone who has passed away suddenly, and without a will is always hard. (Trust me, I’ve done it for both of my parents as well). It’s stressful at the best of times. However, given the current circumstances, and the way in which my late sister passed away… It has been all-consuming. Literally every waking moment for the first few weeks after her death, I was playing events over and over in my mind. The guilt I have felt, all but destroyed me for a while.
(I’m not being deliberately vague here, by the way. I’m not able to discuss what happened to my sister publicly yet. I will be talking about everything in depth once the inquest into her death has happened, though).
Ask For Help
The one thing I have always been very good at is reaching out for help when I need it. My partner has been my absolute rock. If the lockdown rules hadn’t relaxed when they did… And allowed single parents to have a support bubble, I’m certain things would have gone very differently for me.
Whenever the kids were with their Dad, my partner would bundle me up into the car and drive me out to water. The sound of water has always soothed me. Whether it’s the sea crashing against the sea wall as the tide comes in… Or a stream trickling nearby… It calms me massively. He helped me to clear out my late sister’s flat too, and dropped everything to be here when I needed him.
The same can be said for the select few family members and close friends who knew what was happening too, of course. I had several doorstep drops of shopping, so I didn’t have to navigate the Supermarket with Sam, or use my limited child-free time to go there. I’m sure that if there hadn’t been a pandemic going on, I’d have been surrounded by loved ones when my sister passed away, too.
I have found my anxiety has been through the roof lately. I’ve never had anxiety issues before lockdown, but was definitely having them once it began. By the time of my Sister’s funeral in July, I was panicking as soon as I put on a mask. So when they became mandatory, things definitely got harder. I have taken to stopping, and taking deep breaths while telling myself, “This will pass…” until I start to feel better.
Take Away Unnecessary Demands
During July and August, I made a conscious decision not to put any pressure on myself which wasn’t absolutely essential. My to – do list changed from working, admin, chores and DIY, to include things like… “Have a bath, listen to a chill pill (An app which helps reduce my anxiety), read a chapter of book, take Sam to the park, walk the dogs, “etc.
I’d do the absolute least I could get away with on the work / chores front, too. But that was ok. I was putting myself ahead of chores. They’d still be there tomorrow – my sanity might not have been. So in terms of how I’ve managed my stress levels lately… I guess you could say with complete honesty.
One final note
If losing my parents so early on in my life has taught me anything, it’s that I want to spend whatever time I have here making memories with / for the people I love. (I’m not planning on going anywhere any time soon, but you just never know the moment). I’d sooner my kids remember the trips to the park / laughter / fun than how clean the carpet was, or how often I bleached the bathroom. There are no hard or fast rules when it comes to coping with bereavement, but if you are struggling, then my bereavement category has several useful posts.