Stress. Almost everyone encounters it. For single moms, they are at a higher risk for becoming stressed out and dealing with stress-related health problems.
Working Mom’s Break conducted a stress survey for working parents where 96% of the participants were single moms. According to the survey results:
- 80% catch up on work nights and weekends
- 81% worry they will burn out
- 88% said they suffer from at least one stress-related health problem since becoming a working parent
- 59% have problems with anxiety
- 43% struggle with depression
Today, nearly 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 – a total of about 17.4 million – are being raised by a single mom. It’s not hard to get stressed out when you become a parent and are fully responsible for someone else’s wellbeing. Juggling work, tasks at home, errands, cooking and family time is not easy.
It’s no secret that stress can cause serious health and/or anxiety issues. You want to be around for your kids and for yourself for years to come, so it’s best that you do everything you can to try to reduce stress and live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are 7 ways to help reduce stress and live a more relaxed life.
1. Get a Hold on Your Finances
Your financial situation could be stressing you out big time. Worrying about money and struggling to make ends meet can easily contribute to stress. Raising your kids on a single income and/or relying on monetary support from an ex can be difficult, so it’s important to make a budget and stick to it no matter what.
Write down your monthly income and adjust your expenses to meet that. If there’s extra things you can do or services you can provide for others to help bring in some more income, try to take advantage of the opportunity. We mention plenty of side hustle ideas and low stress ways to earn extra income here on the blog.
Once you do what it takes to adjust your expenses or boost your income to fit the needs of your budget, you should be able to track your spending throughout the month and stay updated with where all your money is going. Maintaining a realistic budget will help help prevent you from getting into debt and allow you to have enough to cover your living expenses.
2. Adopt a Balanced Routine
If you feel like your schedule is all over the place, it’s time to slow down and get a routine. Schedule out daily tasks for yourself and your children like meal time, chores, bedtime etc. and manage your time wisely so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
If you stick to your schedule and do a little each day, you will start to feel more balanced and in control.
3. Stop Trying to be Super Mom
Stop trying to do it all. And stop worrying about it all. This popular super mom persona that the media portrays just doesn’t exist. You might even put your health at risk trying to be perfect and do everything.
I developed chest pains in the past trying to handle everything myself and be what I thought was the best mom I could be. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your kids to look up to your and admire and appreciate what you do. It turns out, you have to accept yourself first and set the example for them that no one is perfect.
Nowadays, I listen to my body. If I’m exhausted at the end of the day and there’s still dishes in the sink, I will go to bed and take care of them in the morning. If my son decides to trade in his evening story time for extra time watching his favorite show, dare I say it, we might skip the story and get ready for bed.
Last week, picture day slipped my mind because I was so focused on finding a doctor for my son’s mandatory vision exam for school. Luckily, boys don’t have to dress super fancy at school and I’m sure his photos turned out fine.
There is no perfect parent and everyone makes mistakes. Once you accept that imperfection is fine, it will be a huge stress reliever.
4. Become Content with Less
The root of your stress could be in the fact that you are working way too hard to keep up with a lifestyle that you may not be able to afford or handle. Society trains kids from a young age to want more and more and never be content or happy with what they have.
As a parent, you can change this. Start doing less and start having less in your home. Prioritize what you and your kids really want and need and let the other things go.
Buying the newest video games and taking your kids to a big outing each and every weekend can get expensive. The easy way to eliminate the pressure and stress is to stop caring about having more possessions and start valuing other things that money can’t buy. When you need downtime, take your kids to the park, do a craft together at home or watch a movie and spend some quality time together.
5. Establish a Circle of Support
Establishing support is so important as a single mom. I already touched on accepting the fact that you can’t do everything perfect. This is why you need a support circle. Your support circle can be a combination of family members, friends, neighbors, community groups and organizations or simple anyone who is genuinely interested in a positive relationship where you both can help each other out.
Rely on your circle of support for advice, relief, and help with some of your hardest tasks. You can outsource certain things to family and friends to lighten your own load and take a much needed break from time to time.
6. Maintain Your Health to the Doctor
Making time to check up on your health is crucial. You can help maintain your health by taking a daily multivitamin, eating balanced meals and including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Try to plan your meals out especially if you’re short on time in the morning.
No matter how busy you are, it’s important to remember to eat. I don’t have time to sit and eat before I leave for work in the morning so I always bring my breakfast with me.
Write down all your annual appointments in a planner so you’ll know when it’s time to visit the doctor and don’t ignore any signals from your body. If you feel funny, go get checked out to avoid any complications that could occur in the future. Nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing, so don’t work yourself to the point where it starts to have a negative affect on your health.
7. Make Time for Yourself
This is probably the most important and ties in with almost everything in this list. Stop and make yourself a priority. Put your kids to bed 30 minutes earlier so you can have time for yourself to do something that you enjoy. Read, relax, treat yourself to something small or just reflect and meditate or process each day properly.
When you stop to make time for yourself, your goals become much clearer and you can start to develop a healthy balance in your life.
What do you do when you are stressed? Have you ever encountered any health problems that you suspect might have been caused from stress?