Whether you’re recently divorced or have claimed the ‘single parent’ status for a long time, finding time for self-care can seem almost impossible. Between the demands of parenting and having a career, self-care seems more like a fever dream than reality. But self care for single parents is just as important as everything else on your to-do list. Here’s why and 4 tips on practicing self care.
It is important to find time for some form of self-care in your daily life, so here are some ways you can incorporate it.
Taking care of your physical body is an incredibly important form of self-care. Exercising is a great way to release the stresses of your everyday life to help prevent things like burnout. Burnout is relatively associated with career problems, but burnout can have an even stronger effect on single parents, as they feel burnt out from both their professional and personal lives. Symptoms can include anxiety, trouble sleeping, headaches, and even high blood pressure. The burnout you feel from every aspect of your life manifests physically and can cause you great harm.
Finding ways to decompress from the duties of your life can seem overwhelming. Consider exercising regularly to help relieve some stress. Things like going for a run, joining an intramural sports team with your coworkers, or even yoga are great ways to relieve stress.
Paying attention to your body and how it is feeling is also important to your wellbeing. It is easier to pay attention to how your kids are feeling and reacting quickly, but oftentimes, we ignore the pains of our own bodies to minimize the space we take up. You need to take care of yourself too. Think of it like the oxygen masks on an airplane, you need to put yours on first before you help anyone else. Making sure you go to your routine appointments to have exams, as well as scheduling appointments when you are feeling unwell is important to your health.
Your style is something that changes as you change. With any of life’s big moments, a divorce, a breakup, a milestone birthday, you will want to make a change to your style to reflect the new you. Finding a style that makes you feel good takes time to cultivate. When you are a single parent, your own style falls to the wayside when you are focusing on taking care of others. Consider finding small, inexpensive ways to update your style to help you feel and look your best.
Doing a complete overhaul of your wardrobe seems like an expensive and unattainable task, especially for a single parent on a budget, so look to make updates on a smaller scale. For example, a simple haircut can do wonders for your self-esteem and give you a new sense of style. In addition, if you are a glasses wearer, try ditching those frames and buy contact lenses online instead. Wearing contacts can open up your face and give you a whole new look, and buying them online eliminates the time and effort of going to the eye doctor in person. Making changes on even the smallest of scales can immediately boost your mood. Putting in the time and effort to help uplift your self-esteem will make you feel confident in yourself.
Your emotional wellbeing is also something self-care can help with. Understanding the stresses of single parenthood and knowing when you feel overwhelmed is one thing, but taking the steps to help mitigate your stress is another. Emotional support can come from a lot of places. You can seek out your support system of friends and family to help give you a reprieve from the stresses of your daily life. Having time away as a person and not just as a parent can really help give you perspective on how important your needs are as well.
Another way to take care of your emotional wellbeing is by seeing a counselor to help you process the thoughts and feelings that you have. Seeking counseling is a great way to learn coping skills for combating any stresses from your life. They may encourage practices of mediation or journaling to help you navigate your feelings and emotions while creating and maintaining boundaries with how you handle these stresses with the outside world. Taking care of your mind and your emotions will in turn promote a better relationship with yourself.
Your life as an individual is just as important as your life as a parent. As an individual, you need to create and maintain strong relationships with your support system. Having these relationships is a great form of self-care and will help you maintain your life as a person and not just a parent. These relationships will help guide you through many of life’s struggles and will help you reach out for support when you need it most. These relationships will also help you unwind from the stresses of the world around you.
These can be platonic relationships between friends and family, they can also be romantic relationships that you choose to explore. Opening yourself up to new romantic relationships can help you be vulnerable and in tune with your emotional wellbeing. Knowing what you need out of relationships and communicating that to others is something that many struggle with. Taking the time to foster relationships that give you exactly what you need will help you create quality time with those around you.
Being a single parent means you have to advocate for yourself more than ever. Being able to take care of yourself and others takes a toll on you, so making sure you have time to support and care for yourself is vital to living well.