Single parents have additional pressures on them that two-parent households don't ordinarily carry. It is not uncommon for single parents to find themselves getting a little frazzled with the pressure of the day-to-day household tasks with no one else to share this responsibility with.
As a single parent, taking care of yourself is probably the last thing on your mind. In the hustle and bustle of getting through the routines of each day it is easy to lose yourself when busy taking care of the kids, running a household and most likely holding a job.
To reduce these feelings it is invaluable to make time to invest in taking care of yourself from a physical health perspective. If you neglect yourself you might find yourself become ill, stressed out or even depressed. While priorities are important, it is equally important to try to engage yourself in activities that help you maintain your emotional health too.
Eat Well and Get Enough Rest
While you spend a good amount of time to make sure your children are eating all the right foods, don't forget to include yourself in these healthy meals. When one is so busy with meeting the daily demands it is common for people to discover they are skipping meals or grabbing unhealthy foods on the run. If you find yourself doing this, it is wise to make a conscious effort to eat, and eat well.
Depending on your schedule, it may not allow you to get excess amounts of sleep, but whenever the opportunity arises, it is beneficial if you can slip in some extra rest whenever you can to rejuvenate both your body and mind.
If you are under stress this opens up your body to vulnerability and you can help combat this possibly occurring by making sure you stop and take the time to eat good meals and get ample rest.
A Little Time for Exercise
Granted chances are you are way too busy to engage in an exercise regiment and probably don't want to spend the money on the gym (as if you had the time for that!). The good news is you can easily implement an exercise routine without even needing to adjust your routine much.
There are plenty of ways you can seamlessly integrate exercise into your day. When you get to work, park farther away from the building and walk, or avoid the elevator and take the stairs instead. Children love going for walks, when weather permits, add a brief walk into your daily routine. These are just a few ideas, the possibilities are endless.
When you can fit a little exercise into your day, you'll feel better, more energized and it is good for your health too.
Take a Class
Taking a class is a great way to socialize, unwind and have some fun. It doesn't have to be an academic subject. Perhaps you have a digital camera, but never have the time to learn all the things you can do with it. Do you have an artistic side? If so a drawing, writing, pottery or painting class may be a great outlet.
Maybe you want to update job skills to help you get that promotion or job you've had your eye on. There are also courses in yoga, martial arts, dance; the possibilities are endless. The purpose in taking a class is to do something you feel would enhance your life somehow and should be a subject you would find enjoyment in.
If babysitting is an issue, there are some places that offer children's classes or have a daycare facility. Explore your area and see what opportunities are out there. Doing something you enjoy, even on an occasional basis, will do wonders for your emotional self.
Pursue a Degree
When you go back to college it is not only a way to increase your job marketability and open up career opportunities, but it is a great confidence builder. Many single parents opt to go back to school and find this is a terrific way to take care of themselves because of the personal rewards that come from the success of each course completed.
There is a lot of opportunity in terms of financial aid and scholarships for single parents and most colleges offer a lot of flexibility for coursework. With the way universities have their degree programs structured with nights, weekend and online classes it is easy to find a schedule that works for you.
[ Related Reading: College Education Options for the Nontraditional Student ]
Invest in "Me Time"
If possible, try and take a bit of time for yourself each day (or night) to do something you enjoy that gives you a sense of pleasure. It can be a hobby, reading, writing; pretty much anything which you enjoy and that derives happiness.
The problem is finding time for yourself is often difficult to accomplish if you have a hectic schedule. One effective way you can try to squeeze those precious moments for yourself is to go to bed an hour later or wake up an hour earlier. It doesn't even have to be every day because this may cause you to lose too much precious sleep, but see if you can do it often enough to allow yourself time to re-energize. You should benefit greatly from doing this. A support group is another option. 1
Get Out of the House
If a friend or family offers or is available to babysit for you, this is a grand opportunity for you to escape the joys of parenting and experience a bit of the adult world. Of course you love your children and they are your priority, but there are times where a little personal battery charging is necessary.
Escaping from the house may sound selfish, but it really isn't. If you have time to refresh yourself this often helps you become a better parent. Parenting is tough enough work in a two-parent household and single parents are faced with additional challenges. It is important to get a break every so often if possible. When you can decompress, this increases your patience and ability to handle stress and, as a result, actually benefits your children.
With a lot of responsibility and little time to accomplish it, it is easy to forget to pay attention to your own needs. Even though your focus is on your kids and other responsibilities, it is important to remember to make some time to take care of yourself too. It's OK to let the household messes go once in a while too if it means doing something for yourself to promote your own physical and/or mental health.
If you take a moment to think about it, if something happens to your health, who is going to take care of your children? It is vital to pay attention to your health and treat yourself well because your children depend on you to do this.