Being a single parent is far from easy. Many single parents can find themselves juggling many things at the same time, which can take a toll if they don’t remember to take some time for self-care.
If you neglect self-care, it can often lead to burnout and can affect your abilities as a parent, too. Taking care of your kids and yourself are both equally important parts of keeping a functional, healthy family unit.
If you are a single parent, you are definitely not alone in your journey, and there are many strategies for taking care of yourself despite your busy schedule.
Single parenting does not always have to mean sacrificing your own health; there are ways to maintain a healthy balance. Here are some tips to get you started:
Routine and schedules can be hard to follow, especially when new tasks come up spontaneously during your day, which is common for many parents.
However, it can be helpful to try to stick to a basic routine at the very least. For example, make sure you are sleeping and waking up at the same time everyday, eating meals at a regular time, and setting aside some time for yourself everyday, even if it’s ten minutes.
This can greatly help your body and mind fall into a rhythm.
It is okay to ask for help with taking care of your kids sometimes. There are lots of ways to take advantage of help – you can set up a carpool with other parents that you trust, ask family or close friends to help with certain tasks, or even join a support group if you need to.
Create a support system of people that you can lean on when things get too overwhelming in your life. This can give you some respite, knowing that there is always someone you can call when you or your kids need to.
Being a parent can often mean less time for yourself. You may have let go of things you used to do for your physical health because you just don’t have time for it anymore.
But it is important that you do not sacrifice too many of your own personal goals and interests, even as a single parent.
Try to fit in some exercise, like a walk, to help maintain mental health, and always attempt to get enough sleep at night. This will not only benefit you as an individual, but also make you better equipped to stay energetic throughout the day and spend time with your kids.
As a single parent, you may not be able to meet every expectation that you set up for yourself. If you are feeling down some days then you should allow yourself time to heal.
Don’t be too harsh on every little thing that you do; practice positive self-talk and always put your best foot forward without compromising your mental and physical health.
This also is a good example for kids, as they can see you talking about yourself positively and trying hard to not be highly self-critical, all important lessons for kids to learn.
In addition, avoid competing with other parents around you. Each family is different, and every parent is different. The things you go through may not be the same things another parent is going through.
As tempting as it may be at times, comparing and competing will only generate negativity and constantly make you feel bad about yourself and others.
Connect with other single parents in your community and try to build meaningful social connections. There is no reason you cannot have a social life as a parent.
In fact, socialization may help you relax and give you a break from any stress you may be feeling. Building a group of friends gives you people that you can share problems with and a place for you to feel understood.
As a single parent, there are many reasons you may find yourself sacrificing and compromising to keep up with your kids. But if you start to slowly work in time for your own self-care, and ask for help when you need it, you may find yourself an even better parent than you used to be.
Taking care of your own mental and physical health can greatly improve your strength to be a pillar for your kids and keep up with a busy life.
There are no set ways for you to take care of yourself as a single parent but things like routine, being healthy and building a support network is often beneficial to everyone.
Author Bio: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
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