Being a single mom is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences a person can have.
However, it can be incredibly stressful especially when it comes to balancing work, parenting and your personal life. From financial worries to relationship difficulties, single moms face a unique set of stressors that oftentimes can have a significant impact on their mental and physical well-being.
It was once a constant struggle for me, to find a balance between my son and work I hardly put any emphasis on myself. I had to work and work hard to be able to give my son the life that I wanted to give him, a life that allowed him to just be, without having to absorb any concerns that I had. I often found myself drained and not having anything left to give myself. Everything else was a priority but me. And I bet that most single mothers feel the same.
It might sometimes feel like a never-ending battle but then again, there are many effective strategies that single moms can take on to help alleviate the stresses and challenges of daily life to help them stay calm and focused.
I share here 8 ways that can help single mothers take control of their well-being and lead happier healthier lives. They are by no means anything new and have been written about time and time again, but it's good to have a reminder every once again. They have definitely helped me over the years to find the balance that I needed.
Stress Management For Single Moms: Coping with Life's Daily Challenges
Stress Management #1 MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
Meditation in general has been known throughout the ages for its benefits and single moms should take advantage of this powerful tool. There are many types of meditations - gratitude, affirmations, manifestation and mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation is exactly what the name suggests focus on the present moment and your breath.
You mind think that you don't have time for this because it takes too long, but it really depends on you. If you're rushing around in the mornings, you might choose to do it in the evening before you fall asleep. It can be done for 5 minutes or 20 minutes or even longer depending on what suits you.
There are a variety of guided meditations on YouTube and Spotify that you can search for to help you. One of my favourites is Jessica Heslop or Rising Higher Meditation which offers so many types of meditations depending on your needs. Her voice on its own can send you into a relaxed state!
My biggest challenge in doing any kind of meditation was finding the right time when I have some quiet time and that's really early in the morning or just before I go to bed. If my son was doing his homework, I might use that time too. Sometimes, if I'm really rushing in the morning but desperately want to squeeze in a few minutes of meditation, I'd do it at my desk in the office before the chaos of the work day starts.
Stress Management #2 EXERCISE
Any way of physical activity is a fantastic way to improve your overall health. Exercising releases natural mood-boosting chemicals that can help you reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Single moms don't have the luxury of having all the time in the world, so incorporating exercise into your daily life might be hard, but not impossible.
Look at your daily lifestyle and see how you can fit in with some exercise. It can range between a 5-minute stretch, a 10-minute sun salutation or a half an hour walk to the park and back with your kids. It can also be kicking the ball with your kids in the backyard. It might not be the conventional going to the gym to get in an hour's worth of workout but we make do with the time that we have.
If you have the time, then yes, go for a run, practice yoga or participate in a group fitness class.
Make exercise a habit and incorporate it into your daily life and you'll see a big difference in your mental and physical well-being.
Stress Management #3 GET ENOUGH SLEEP
We've heard time and time again how sleep is so essential for our bodies and overall wellness. From lowering cortisol, reducing heart attacks, losing weight, improving mental clarity, muscle recovery, and skin health and so much more, getting enough sleep apparently helps!
Studies have shown that getting 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night should be your target to gain optimum benefits from what sleep can do to your body.
For single moms who are juggling many responsibilities, this can be challenging. But prioritising our health and well-being also means we can be in a better frame of mind to take care of our kids and other aspects of our lives.
When my son was younger, I'd go to bed whenever I put him to bed but now that I'm older, I'm lucky if I can get 5 hours of sleep! As we age and when menopause kicks in, it's not so fun anymore especially when sleep becomes a struggle because it surely does affect your mental clarity and overall mood. But I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a good sleep schedule back, soon!
Stress Management #4 PRACTICE GRATITUDE
As a single mom, I was always striving for better things and very often, I was always saddled with the things I don't have or can't provide for my son. This often puts me in a negative mindset. Even if it's supposed to motivate me to do more, my thoughts are always from a negative source.
I hardly sat still to notice all the things that I have in my life that I should be grateful for. Once I did start doing that every single day, it honestly made me feel so much better. My spirits were lifted. I look around myself and think, 'wow, I have so much to be thankful for'.
Try doing that - take a few minutes out each day to reflect on the gratitude for what you have in your life rather than what you don't. You'll surprise yourself with how powerful it is in helping you change your perspective and at the same time allowing you to reduce unnecessary stress and worry.
Let's all learn to focus on the positive aspects of life rather than the negative.
Stress Management #5 CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Getting social as a single mom is a critical component to help ease the stresses of daily life.
Take the time to reach out to a friend you trust or a family member totally about your feelings. My go-to is my sisters, just because they understand and have always been there for me just to lend an ear. Sometimes, it's not advice that you seek but you just need someone who is willing to listen without any judgement.
Just the act of being able to unload the burdens you are struggling with can oftentimes be a stress reliever by itself.
You could also join a support group for single moms to connect with moms who understand and might be facing the same challenges that you are.
Find your tribe. It can be a big group or a small circle but connect and find them. They will be your rock and your support system.
Stress Management #6 SET REALISTIC GOALS
Setting unrealistic goals could possibly be setting you up for failure and can be a major source of stress for single moms who are already stretched thin.
When coming up with your goals, whether financial, career, fitness or any other personal goals, make a list and prioritise them based on importance and urgency. This will help you stay focused rather than being overwhelmed by having too many goals to tackle at the same time.
Make them realistic and attainable by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable goals. Breaking them down and then creating a step-by-step action plan will allow you to stay focused and monitor your progress.
Make sure you focus on the progress you're making rather than seeking perfection.
Stress Management #7 PRIORITISE SELF-CARE
Single moms need to prioritise time for themselves as self-care is essential for managing stress. Oftentimes, as a single mom, priority is placed on the children or work and on everything else but themselves.
Self-care doesn't have to take much time, and neither does it have to break the bank. It can be anything from taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage or reading a book. Relaxation is a crucial component of stress management and whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed, you should do it. Find what works for you and make self-care a regular part of your routine.
Taking time for yourself to unwind and relax will not only make you will feel better but you'll be in a better mindset when dealing with all the challenges that daily life can bring.
Stress Management #8 GET ORGANISED
Single moms juggling many responsibilities can reduce daily stressors by getting organised from the get go.
A planner and a to-do list would be your best friend in keeping you on top of things. Creating a plan for your daily tasks and including your family's schedule can help you avoid unnecessary stress and will it easier for you to manage your time effectively.
A to-do list is my personal saviour and I will always have one no matter whether I have a busy day or a more laid-back day. It gives me a clear picture of what I need to do without racking my brain trying to remember what I have to do or what my son has on that particular day.
It basically relieves my brain from one less thing to do.
My tip is to review your to-do list and planner the night before so you're fully prepared for the next day.
In conclusion, being a single mom is not easy, but it can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Managing your stress is an important part of maintaining your health and well-being. There are so many strategies you can use and adopt to reduce your stress so that you can lead a happier, healthier and more balanced life. Find what specifically works for you and your life.
To all single moms, remember that you are strong, resilient and capable, and you have the power to make your life what you want it to be. Take care of yourself. You deserve it, and your children will benefit from having a happy, healthy and stress-free mom!
What do you do to reduce stress?