Photo via Pixabay by Blanka
Today’s post is a guest post from Daniel Sherwin from dadsolo.com.
Being a single parent comes with many challenges, even for the mother or father who feels prepared to take on both roles. You may feel exhausted much of the time, and it might be difficult to find a few minutes to yourself. Without a partner there to shoulder the burden of stress and worry that often comes with raising a child, the emotional and mental strain can become overwhelming.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your own needs and make an effort to practice self-care, which can mean anything from getting daily exercise to ensuring that you stay social. Taking care of yourself is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re the best parent you can be, so that you can focus on what matters most to you.
Below, you’ll find some of the best tips on how to face and overcome the challenges that may come your way as a single parent.
Help yourself feel good
No one can be at the top of their game when they’re tired, mentally drained, or don’t feel well physically. Taking good care of yourself will help you not only feel better, but be better able to do all of your jobs as well. This means eating well-balanced meals (not just the leftover grilled cheese on your child’s plate!), getting daily exercise, and doing things that help you relax, such as curling up with a good book or spending time outdoors in the beauty of nature. There are even ways you can incorporate spending quality time with your child with these relaxing moments. Read on here for more ideas on how to beat stress.
Learn coping methods for stress
Stress is one of the easiest things to feel as a single parent and one of the hardest things to battle. It’s important to learn small ways to face that stress head-on and reduce it no matter where you are, because having effective coping mechanisms handy will allow you to get through even the most challenging times. You can use your new skills to immediately start feeling better, and to prevent the emergence of chronic mental health problems. These might include visualization, breathing techniques, or meditation.
It can be difficult to maintain an adult social life when you’re a single parent with limited time, but it’s important to do so. If you have friends who also have kids, invite them over for a playdate, or meet up at the local park. If not, head to the nearest bookstore or library and get friendly with some of the other parents there. Having those social bonds–no matter how light–will help you feel less alone and isolated, which can help prevent stress and anxiety.
Set a routine…and stick to it
Schedules are an important part of any busy individual’s life, and as a single parent, you’ll find that sticking to a routine can help you get through the days with much less stress. No one wants to spend fifteen minutes in the morning yelling for their child to find their shoes/coat/backpack; that just starts the day off on the wrong foot for both of you. Instead, create a routine that involves laying those things out together the night before, perhaps at bedtime. Getting organized will help immensely when it comes to eliminating stress, both for you and your child.
Find a support system
Having a system of support in place as a single parent is imperative, whether it comes from another single parent or a close family member. Not only will you be able to talk to someone about all the things you’re going through, they can also help out now and then when you need someone to pick up your child from school or babysit. For more tips on how to get through parenthood as the primary care provider, check out this article.
Learning to face the challenges that will come your way as a single mom or dad has many benefits, because it will allow you to push through stress and other negative feelings in order to be healthy and happy, which will in turn help your child be the same.