A Roadmap to Better Health
According to census data, there are about 13.7 million single parents in the United States.
Those parents raised 22 million children, which represents 26 percent of children under 21 in
the US today. The biggest stresses in most single parents’ lives include being lonely or isolated,
battling for visitation or custody rights and feeling guilty about disrupting their children’s family
structure. These stresses can lead you to make decisions that you may regret later such as
taking drugs to combat anxiety or spending on yourself and not your kids. This doesn’t that
mean you’re a bad person. Rather, it often indicates the depth of the difficulties you’re up
against. Here are some tips to creating a roadmap that will help end bad habits and lead to
healthier, happier lives.
Setting A Schedule
One of the best ways to follow that roadmap through to the end is to set a schedule for you and
your kids. Although they may not know it, children – and many adults – crave boundaries. So try
to organize your household around a routine. The rigour of the boundaries that you set will
depend on the age and personality of your kids. Micro-managing your household can make a
child’s day seem airtight and cause them to thrash out against any pressure on them. But a
steady timetable minimizes chaos and promotes a sense of calm and order.
If you’re a single parent who has gone through addiction recovery, one of the best new habits
you can introduce in your life is exercise. Clinicians recommend exercise for your heart health
and muscle tone. Additionally, working out regularly boosts your mind by supplying “feel-good”
neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that drugs used to release, only in unnatural
quantities. Also, as a parent, you can find plenty of opportunities to exercise with your kids.
Some of these activities include swimming, hiking in parks, walking your dogs, or dashing
through sprinklers in the summertime. Exercise not only keeps your kids fit, but normalizes a
healthy lifestyle for them that will maintain their health as they get older.
If you’re stressed about money, you’re not alone: In 2016, 57 percent of Americans reported
having less than $1,000 in their accounts. Since single parents don’t have a partner to
supplement their income, one of the fears they harbor is that their families will collapse if they
lose their jobs. Whatever your financial situation, you’ll need to get in front of it, which might
involve allocating a slice of each paycheck to a college or Roth IRA fund or tabbing up your
debts and developing a plan to cut them down.
While it may pain you when your kids tell you that their friends go on more vacations than they
do, sticking to a budget will ease your stress (and hence theirs) and make for a calmer home.
Finally, contact your professional network to check out any openings for better jobs in your field.
Just as important as reaching out to other professionals is tying together a personal support
system for when an emergency crops up. Single parents raise nearly one-fourth of all kids in the
The United States. That’s a lot of parenting. But it doesn’t come easy. So it’s no surprise that single
parent networks exist nationwide. Go online to find divorce education classes, attend
empowership conferences and connect with other single parents, many of whom share your
fears, struggles and triumphs.
Image via Unsplash
Article by Alexis Hall