Depression and Single Parents

June 10, 2011 by  : Filed under Health, Kids, Relationships

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How to increase self care and also be present for your child when you are going crazy!

By no means do we intend to intimate that suffering from depression, immediately assumes we are crazy. Crazy is a relative term and is one we use in is most general sense. You’ll know what we mean if you are a single mum, have no support from anyone else and the children are driving you crazy!

In normal married circumstances when the kids drive you insane you yell for help from your spouse. Ask him/her to take them out for ice-cream or to visit the park or their grandmother, so you can enjoy valuable ‘me-time’. Single parents often don’t have anyone to fall back on, and ‘role overload’ becomes one of the occupational hazards of this kind of life.

Acting as both mother and father causes undue stress and with single-parent families topping the charts at 90% of single moms; many single moms are plagued by depression (up to 40%). They very often neglect their own needs as they toil to provide for their children alone, and this can affect both physical and mental health. Low self esteem is often a given and yet many moms are single-handedly acting in many different ways they could really be proud of. Sadly depression and low self-esteem, as well as deteriorating physical health, often means being unable to fully meet the needs of the children!

It’s like the ‘gurus’ say, if you can’t love yourself well enough, how can you possibly love anyone else well enough?

Health professionals are very obviously trained to take care of these important aspects of single parenting. However, there are also many online and physical support–group resources. Lifestyle changes are often necessary, and while finances may be the biggest concern in seeking out help; help does not need to cost money.

We know that single mothers are an ultra high risk group to suffer depression because of lack of social support, and an increase in life stresses. However taking advantage of any resources to increase self care is also vitally important. This assists the single parent to increase their true presence for their children’s well-being. The reduction of stressors is essential, and there are ways to do this at home to take care of you:

  • Swallow all pride and ask for any help you can get – even if it is just to spend a peaceful hour in the tub. Accept ANY help offered.
  • Stop criticizing yourself; you are human like everyone else.
  • Start using ‘quick’ stress relievers; 10 minutes in a hot shower, deep breathing, 10 minutes of yoga asana’s with the door closed, a five minute phone call to your best friend, a take-out dinner now and then.
  • Organize daily routines and keep them as ritual.
  • Get rid of clutter and keep it that way.
  • Feed your children’s sense of independence and allow them to help where they can.
  • Get financial advice.
  • Join a single parents support group or create one – take turns for hosting meetings.

There are many more ways to reduce stressors, research and implement as many as you can. You are doing a very important job raising children, but you have to raise yourself too.

* Please call 911 if you are experiencing a life threatening emergency and or go to the closest emergency room.

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