How Single Parents Can Better Manage Stress
Life can be stressful for single parents and their kids. For parents, there is financial stress, job stress, interpersonal stress, and the overarching stress of having to raise the kids alone. For kids, there is a completely different type of stress – fear of the unknown and feeling self-conscious about coming of age without their mother or father in the picture. As a single parent, it’s hard to manage it all.
Here are some tips to help give you some ideas on how to minimize stress.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
The first tip is likely the hardest, but it’s something you must strive toward. Single parents often set high expectations for themselves – often too high. However hard it may be, try to cut yourself some slack. Despite any shortcomings, you’re doing the best you can.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
The seemingly obvious way to reduce stress is to remove the stressor from your life. Unfortunately, when it comes to managing a single-parent household, this isn’t always an option. So take steps to alleviate the effects of that stress instead. This is where relaxation techniques come into play.
Meditation can be very effective. Listen to guided meditations or try to focus on whatever brings you inner peace. Simply put, meditation is being mindful in the moment.
You can repeat a mantra, or you can just be in the moment consumed by your present surroundings. If your kids are old enough, you can even get them in on the practice. As Psychology Today points out, meditation is scientifically proven to boost all the best parts of life while removing negativity.
When you’re meditating, make sure you’re in a quiet space in your home to promote relaxation. Wearing comfortable clothes like leggings and a roomy T-shirt can also help you focus.
Get Your Kids Involved
You’re not being a bad parent if you want some free time. You need it if you want to keep your sanity. One way to increase your alone time is to get your kids involved in activities. After-school clubs, sports, community arts groups — you can find an organization that specializes in facilitating the exploration of their interests.
Cultivate their love for community service and volunteering by registering for animal welfare or environmental organizations. If your child is athletic, team sports are a great way for them to meet new people and encounter new role models. Talk to your kids about their interests, and there will surely be something they’d love to get involved in.
Foster a Stress-Free Home Environment
You spend most of your time at home, so it’s naturally going to have a lot of impact on your stress level. A messy, disorganized home is a stressful home. Even if you aren’t a super tidy person, excess clutter can be a problem. This is especially true for a family run by a single parent who is already busy. Take some time to fully declutter your home from top to bottom so it’s more manageable. You can also use some sensory tips and tricks to reduce stress. Plants, essential oils, aromatherapy candles, and natural light can help people feel relaxed. Open those curtains and let the sun shine in.
As a single parent, you are managing a family alone. There’s no way around that. There will be a lot of stress to deal with — both your own and that of your kids. Try to combat this stress by getting your kids involved in engaging activities, making sure you have a clean, organized, calming home environment, and setting some time aside to practice relaxation exercises.
Author Janice Russell believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they needed a laugh, but also to show parents they aren’t alone. She wants every frazzled parent out there to remember that for every kid stuck in a toilet, there’s another one out there somewhere who’s just graced their parents’ walls with some Sharpie artwork!
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