What is self-care? You hear about it all the time. Does it have to involve going to a pricey, high-end spa, leaving many single moms stranded high and dry?
Guess what? You don’t need to spend a dime to nurture your mind, body and soul. As a busy parent, you probably need it more than most! Here are eight ways to practice self-care as a single mom every day and enjoy improved happiness.
1. Plan Time Each Day
As a parent, you split your time and attention between your children and your job. However, without downtime to think through problems and give the old neurons a rest, you’ll become the portrait of burn-out in no time.
When you set up your planning app for the week, try to leave at least 30 minutes of unscheduled free space each day. Your brain needs unstructured time to process the day’s emotions and unwind — yes, sometimes, losing yourself in a TV show is necessary and therapeutic.
2. Use Your Support System
As a single mom, you can’t so much as go to yoga, let alone jet off to Tahiti for the weekend without making arrangements for your kids. Use your support system. If you still have a healthy relationship with your ex’s parents, and they beg for more time with the little ones, let them take the kiddos for a weekend while you destress.
You can also turn to other mom friends for laughter and generally blowing off steam. That 3 a.m. diaper diarrhea disaster wasn’t funny at the time, but it becomes gut-busting hilarious when shared among other folks who know the struggle.
3. Find Your Non-Mom Muse
Guess what? Motherhood isn’t your only identity. To avoid losing your sense of self and feeling like nothing but a work drone and parent, cultivate a healthy hobby.
It doesn’t matter if you like to spend your evening knitting afghans or puttering in your garden, as long as it makes you come alive. Some hobbies can even help you make money, but be careful — you don’t want your favorite self-care for single moms to turn into another item on your to-do list.
4. Move Your Body
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your mental and physical health while giving you more energy to attend to your many daily tasks. To make it qualify as self-care for single moms, you need to find movement that you love.
You might not even need to head to a health club. You can now find virtual classes, some of which still entails a subscription fee — if you need that extra monetary incentive to get sweaty. There’s also no law against cranking the tunes and shaking your groove thing freestyle around your apartment.
5. Eat Well
With all the responsibility on your shoulders, you need to keep them strong. Your diet is one way to look and feel your best — everything you consume affects your chemistry somehow.
However, you don’t have to go on a diet. Why stress yourself out by adding one more thing to your schedule? Instead, get your meal-planning game on with healthy dishes that do the following:
- Reduce meat consumption: Red and processed meat increase your disease risk and have tons of saturated fat and calories.
- Watch the white flour and sugar: Both absorb quickly, leading to blood sugar spikes and increasing your diabetes risk. Plus, you feel hungry again soon after, contributing to weight gain.
- Chow down on more fruits and vegetables: These products are low in calories and provide oodles of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients for your health.
If you want to ease mild chronic pain and mental tension, look to yoga. You don’t have to go to a 1-½ hour ashtanga class. You can improve your flexibility and reduce stress in just five minutes a day.
Better yet, you don’t have to spend a dime. You can find free videos on YouTube, many of which you can perform in only minutes per day.
Sometimes, your brain can be your worst enemy. However, you can tame negative thought spirals and end rumination through meditation.
All you need are five minutes and a space to sit and focus on nothing but your breath. As thoughts arise, observe them non-judgmentally.
This process helps you recognize the stinking thinking that so often causes you undue stress. Is it really true that if your work presentation isn’t precisely 30 minutes, you’ll get fired, lose your home and end up on the street with your kids? Probably not — and you may find the inspiration you need to make your speech longer once you calm down.
Journaling is another form of meditation many moms find helpful. This act takes your stream of consciousness and allows you to record your thoughts – judgement free – to help you get them out of your head. There are blank journals you could use, or you could invest in a funny, guided journal for moms that prompts you to clear your thoughts by writing them down. No matter you you choose to mediate, it will be helpful in the long run.
8. Get Your Rest
As a single mom, you have to get your kids to bed before you can rest for the night. Start dimming your lights once twilight arrives and create a consistent routine that gets your little one to dreamland with minimal fuss.
Leave electronic devices out of your bedroom, other than your baby monitor. If you can’t sleep, get up and have a cup of chamomile, but don’t lie in bed scrolling — the blue light can keep you awake.
Single Moms, Indulge in Self-Care With These Tips
Nurturing yourself need not mean dropping a bundle at the spa — it merely entails tending to your mind, body and spirit each day. Single moms, please indulge in self-care with the eight tips above.
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