Top 10 strategies for Solo Moms dealing with stress and anxiety
- Make caring for yourself a priority. If you take care of yourself first, you’ll have more to offer your children, family, friends, and career.
- Exercise! As much as possible, prioritize your physical health. Find a gym with on-site child care, take the kids for walks, or use workout videos at home. That said, don’t turn exercise into another chore. Try to find something you enjoy and build up to a regular routine. Challenging yourself too much from the get-go can actually have negative results.
- Find a good doctor who you feel comfortable with and be honest with your doctor about your struggles. It’s difficult enough to be a Solo Mom, but untreated medical issues can make stress and anxiety worse.
- Keep your house as organized as possible. Make sure that your children have a place for everything. This will make it easier for them to be tidy and keep you from feeling frustrated at having to pick up after them constantly. Organized does not have to mean spotless. Understand that messes are inevitable and forgive yourself when they occur. Know that you’re doing the best you can—and your best is probably pretty fantastic.
- Don’t drown in your to-do list. If you keep adding things to a to-do list, you’ll only feel overwhelmed. Try making a to-do list every day that only includes five items. At the end of the day, you’ll feel great that you’ve checked off every item on your list, and you’ll probably have actually accomplished more.
- Plan your meals ahead of time. Take-out meals can be a necessary evil for Solo Moms, but it can also leave you feeling sluggish. If you can afford it, try a meal-delivery service. Many services now deliver the ingredients for quick and healthy meals right to your door. This saves you time and has the added bonus of sparing you from grumbling children at the grocery store.
- Have the entire family unplug from all devices for a period of time every evening. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful silence sounds in the midst of a chaotic life. A nice time to unplug from devices is before bedtime in preparation for a healthy night of sleep.
- Practice mindfulness. Try focusing on the present moment during daily tasks like washing dishes or doing laundry. Focus on your breathing, taking a four counts to inhale and seven counts to exhale. The present moment is always more certain than the future, and worrying about the future can be fruitless and anxiety inducing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help wherever you can find it, whether it’s from family members, friends, a therapist, your children’s school, or an online support group. Solo Moms can’t do it all, and most people understand that and want to help.
- Take advantage of people’s desire to support you. If someone offers help, take them up on it, and don’t be afraid to speak up if there’s something you need.
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Kelly Sundberg, an Ohio-based Solo Mom, writer, and editor. She blogs about surviving and thriving after domestic violence at Apology Not Accepted. You can follow her on Twitter at @K_O_Sundberg.
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