How Single Parents Can Make Time For Self-Care – And Why You Need to Start Now by Daniel Sherwin

Sometimes single parents give so much of themselves – to their kids, their jobs, their homes. When you’re juggling so much, you may feel like you can’t – or shouldn’t – take time for yourself. What you may not realize is that self-care isn’t the indulgence we often think it is. Practicing basic self-care is something you actually need to do for your health, including your mental, emotional, and physical needs. Without self-care, we would all be way more stressed, tired, and unhealthy – all of which actually keep you from being the best parent you can be.


Make Stress Relief Part of Your Day

The great thing about self-care is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, just as long as you’re doing what you need most. One thing we all need is stress relief. Managing stress as a single parent can be tricky because it means taking time out of your busy schedule. Our suggestion to work around this problem is to find strategies for stress relief that are easy to incorporate throughout your day.


For example, meditation is an excellent form of stress relief, and once you get in the habit, the calming effects are incredible. Why not set aside a space or even a room in your home that’s just for meditation? Try to find a quiet area, where you can be undisturbed while meditating. We know this is a tall order with kids around, but even a quick meditation session is all you need!


While meditation is an amazing way to destress that’s calming, it’s just as important to destress in ways that are uplifting and make you happy. Maybe even challenge yourself to try one of a few suggestions from Psychology Today, like playing some music that gets your blood pumping or going for a quick walk. These simple actions don’t take much time, and when you get in the habit of doing them throughout the day, the compound effects will help keep your stress level in check.


Exercise for Energy

This tip may sound counter-intuitive,but stick with us! We know how exhausting it is to be a parent, but physical activity actually boosts your energy. Plus, physical fitness is essential for more than just physical health. Being active also helps reduce stress and even mental health problems like anxiety and depression.


Of course, being tired and short on time aren’t the only factors that make it hard to get started with exercise. You’ll notice the positive effects once you’ve tried it, but if you need a little motivation to get going, we recommend looking into a fitness tracker. The Apple Watch for example, has built-in tech that gives you all kinds of data about your fitness and health, including heart rate monitoring. Samsung users will love the Galaxy Fit for its step tracking feature. Besides tracking steps a smartwatch, you can also track just about any kind of workout – even a family dance party in the living room! We love these devices because they show you how increasing activity in even small ways can add up to better health, and it feels good to see what you accomplish.


Catch Up On Sleep

On the other end of the spectrum, sleep is another basic health need that’s right up there with exercise. Of course, parenthood is a time when sleep is hard to come by, which is why you should give yourself permission to sleep when you can. If you have an infant, this may mean taking the Mayo Clinic’s advice to sleep when your little one sleeps. If your kids are old enough, don’t feel bad about letting them watch a kid-friendly movie while you sleep in on the weekend.


When all is said and done, remember that parents are always setting an example for their children. Of course you want them to know you love them and care for them, but you also want them to know that grownups are supposed to care for themselves too. Even if it feels like time is an issue, making time for these quick and easy self-care strategies is always worth the effort.


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