I’ve been contacted by lots of single parents who are worried about Christmas. Some are juggling everything alone. Others want to be with their children, but the children are with the other parent.
So, the wonderful Daniel Sherwin from www.DadSolo.com has written this article to help single parents get some much-needed self care.
Parents in general have a lot on their plates. But as a single parent, sometimes it can seem as though your plate is overflowing.
Your sole focus is the needs and wants of your children. So, what happens when your own needs fall by the wayside?
We all need a little self-care to stay happy, healthy and stress-free, but you might be wondering how in the world to find time to do so. Life is busy, and so are you. Please take some time to read over these simple tips to bring the C back in TLC.
Don’t Stretch Yourself Thin
We’ve all wished we could be like Elastigirl from the movie The Incredibles, so that we could simultaneously cook dinner while loading a pile of laundry. Unfortunately, it is impossible to be in two places at once. Trying to do so is a recipe for disaster. Everyone has a limit, although you are likely constantly pushing yours. Doing too much causes stress and unintended consequences, such as completely spacing on the school bake sale or neglecting your own health appointments.
For starters, take a moment to identify the signs that you have reached your limit. Perhaps you snap at the littlest thing, or find yourself withdrawing due to overwhelming feelings of depression. Then there’s the guilt that you can’t handle everything on your own. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.
It can be hired help, or simply asking for a friend, family member or church member to help out in a small way. You could ask them to watch your child while you tend to your own needs, whether that is finally getting a check up or meeting a friend for lunch. Take advantage of the help that is there and run with it. Sit down and create a list of everything that needs to be done for the week. Then designate what tasks can be delegated and which ones are a priority.
Focus on De-stressing
We’re often so focused on how stressed we’re feeling, that we forget we have the power to do something about it. All that time you spend worrying and stressing about stressing can be spent elsewhere. There may be days when you have the entire day to yourself, but often self-care will come in increments, so the key is to make the most of it.
This could mean taking a quick power nap, working out, meditating or taking a hot bath at the end of the day. Take advantage of times when the kids are asleep, in school, at extracurricular activities, or watching that movie for what seems like the one-millionth time. You can even involve your kids in your self-care efforts by going for a walk, reading a book or spending quiet time colouring together.
Sometimes all the time in the world isn’t enough to meet your self-care needs. But the least you can do is make sure your home promotes a calm environment. A chaotic house creates a chaotic mind, so do your best to de-clutter and have the kids help too.
Create a spot that is a clutter-free, worry-free zone for you to retreat to when you find yourself getting overwhelmed. It can be a room or even a comfy chair in a secluded corner, but it is your space that you can fill with whatever brings you a sense of calm. This could be soothing candles, a thoughtful painting or a secret stash of your favourite chocolate.
Being a single parent can be tough, but being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences.
Take comfort in knowing that there are people willing to help and that it is possible to find time for yourself. At the end of the day, you have the love of your kids, and that’s enough.