Oh, single mom, I get it. You’re so busy taking care of everyone and trying to knock a dent in that too-long to-do list that the thought of self-care sounds amazing but out of reach. You’re not just a busy mom; you’re a busy mom going at it alone with no one to handle your family or burdens while you run off to take care of yourself.
Maybe pressing pause for some needed self-care feels selfish when your children need you and the responsibilities are looming. But taking time for self-care can actually be one of the healthiest and most responsible steps you take. Here are 5 reasons single moms need self-care. (No need to get overwhelmed, just try one if you can.)
1. For your stress.
Single parenting often means chronic stress. There are bills to juggle, constant decisions to make, a household to manage and maintain, struggles with children and more. Add to that the emotional needs of children dealing with a divorce or a parent’s death, and it’s a given that a single mom carries a constant, overwhelming burden.
Many turn to binge-watching late-night movies or carb loading on hard days, but self-care is the healthy way to mitigate stress. Building in time for yourself doesn’t remove the stress altogether, but it can help you manage it by giving you regular time to relax, restore and care for yourself.
Try this: Take 10 minutes each evening to put your feet up and feed your soul with your favorite podcast, book or devotional. No social media allowed.
2. For your physical health.
Self-care helps you physically in two ways. First, it’s important to make time for regular health check-ups and screenings. I’ll be the first to admit that getting my kids to the doctor and dentist is hard enough. But as an only parent, it’s even more important to make sure you’re getting healthcare as well.
Try this: Go ahead and make your annual doctor or dentist appointment for yourself. Treat yourself to the gift of health.
3. For your emotional health.
When I go weeks without time alone, I find my parenting perspective is off. My nerves get easily frazzled and my emotions are less anchored. I become preoccupied and distant in my thoughts because I haven’t had time alone to process them without interruptions from little people.
Time to engage in hobbies I enjoy or exercise are two ways I help boost my mood. Build in emotional margin to make it through the long and hard of parenting.
Try this: Take a walk after dinner to process the day and to think deeply.
4. For your kids.
Why is it that time away from my kids triggers guilt? Maybe it’s the text asking when I’m going to be home or the phone call to see where the uniform is that reminds me how much my family needs me. And while being needed is wonderful, giving into guilt can make me feel like a martyr which can make me feel bitter or resentful.
Try this: Carve out a coffee date with your favorite, most-refreshing friend.
5. For your work.
We’re often tempted to think we don’t have time for self-care because of our looming to-do list. The truth is taking time for self-care is one of the best ways to boost our productivity. Taking time to rest, exercise, pray or enjoy a hobby helps us become more efficient when we’re working.
Try this: Take Sundays off. After church with your family, take the rest of the afternoon to rest or enjoy your family.
Tell us! When was the last time you took time for yourself and what did you do?