Being a single parent is one of the most difficult things in the world. Not only are you responsible for your child's healthy development, but you're also the sole provider in the family. It's common for single parents to feel stressed and overworked. And if you don't have a lot of time at home, you might feel guilty about taking much-needed "me time." Here are some things that might help you lower your stress levels as a single parent.
Budget More Tightly
Everything is expensive nowadays. It's extremely difficult to afford rent as a single income household, unless you've lucked into an unusually high-paying job. And on top of that, you have to pay for your child's food, clothing, entertainment, transportation, and sometimes their education. Single parents tend to be masters of pinching pennies. Here are some ways to tighten up your budget:
Refinance your federal student loans with a private lender to get lower monthly payments and free up extra money.
Find out about free food options in your area to lower the grocery bill.
Unplug heavy-duty appliances when they aren't being used to save on your electric bill.
Pick up a side gig freelancing or doing delivery work.
Have a garage sale with all the old things you don't use anymore.
See if there are coordinated parent clothing or toy swaps anywhere near you.
Ask for Help
Good babysitters, nannies, and daycare workers are invaluable. Good friends and family are even more so. You shouldn't need to shoulder all of your burdens alone. Ask for help from those around you when you need it, whether it's emotional support or help taking care of your child. There's no shame in asking for help.
It's impossible for a single person to meet every need a child has 24/7 for years without getting majorly stressed out. You might be an incredible force of nature, but you need breaks, too. See if friends or family members who work from home are able to watch your child so you can take a breather. Alternatively, if you have a single parent in your life as a close friend or family member, offering childcare is a great example of one of the best gifts for single moms and dads. They may not know how to ask for help but are happy and desperate to accept it.
Do Something Fun
This one might sound obvious, but it isn't to everyone. Sometimes we spend so much time worrying about our responsibilities that we lose sight of what makes us happy. When was the last time you really enjoyed yourself? What about the last time you went out with your friends? Or attended a special event? Not everyone's fun will be the same. Some might want to stay at home and have a spa day. Some might go out for a night on the town. Others might engage in hobbies like painting, woodworking, music, or hiking.
Take a moment to think. If you could do any one fun thing right now, what would it be? Is that thing attainable? Humans aren't built to be unfeeling machines who constantly work. When you take time to rest and enjoy yourself, your stress levels will noticeably decrease. And lower stress will make you a better parent to your child, too.