Parenting can pull you in so many different directions. One second it’s the most wonderful experience ever and the next you are pulling every last hair out of your head! Parenting is tough and, at times, can be all the more challenging when you are doing it alone.
Did you know that in 2011 for the first time in Canadian history there were more single person than couple households with children? And that one in four families is headed by one parent? No matter how you found yourself single – whether by choice or unexpected circumstances – I don’t think many would disagree that being a single parent can sometimes be difficult.
Single parent families have strength but it may also cause additional stress, fatigue and pressure. When you experience this tension, the focus on self-care is so important. Here are our top five self-care tips:
- Create a support system. Reach out to family and friends; don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just because you are a single parent, does not mean you have to do it alone. Build a network of people you can count on. Seek out other single parents. It can be so helpful to have support from those in similar situations, to have that shared understanding and to talk through similar issues.
- Find time for yourself. It’s better for you (and your kids) if you recharge your mind and body. You will feel healthier and be a better parent so do it guilt free! Try and get out of the house, and if this is not possible take a long bath, read a book or find a hobby.
- Don’t forget to prioritize your health – eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep will help you stay strong to deal with the physical and mental demands of being a single parent.
- Set boundaries and learn to say no. When you are parenting alone, you may be stretched too thin. Don’t feel bad for saying no sometimes. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do, or what you can and cannot provide. Be kind to yourself and set some realistic expectations.
- This may be a good time for self-reflection; think about yourself for a moment. What are your priorities? What would you like to do for yourself? This could ignite a new passion. It may be the perfect time to learn something new or set some new goals for yourself.
Try to keep a positive attitude – new, positive experiences will help you and your kids be strong and independent.
Do you have any additional self care tips to share? We’d love to hear from you.
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.