Balancing your career and the responsibilities of taking care of your children is difficult enough, but it becomes even harder when you have to do it all on your own. Burnout is a very real risk for many single parents, as kids demand much of your attention and this can lead to neglecting various parts of your own life. If you want to be a successful parent and a professional, you have to make some changes to better your own quality of life.
Here are some things you can do to reduce everyday stress in your household and professional life.
Stick To Healthy Food
With all of the daily responsibilities that rest on your shoulders, it can be difficult to focus on your nutrition. All the talk about healthy eating is going to be directed towards your child alone, but you shouldn’t forget about your body and its nutritional needs too.
It can be easy to disregard cooking for yourself and just get take out when you don’t have the time. However, relying on fast food isn’t something you can do long-term. For starters, it’s often going to end up being more expensive than cooking. If you find yourself getting hungry at work, bringing the food you cooked at home could be a viable alternative. Another thing to consider is that fast food is often less healthy than the things you can prepare on your own. It’s usually packed with saturated oils and unnecessary calories that you generally don’t want or need in your food.
Since you’re already cooking for your children, there’s no reason you can’t make some meals that will last a while. Certain foods are just as delicious when they’re reheated as they were when they were fresh. Making a huge batch of delicious and nutritious food at once will allow you to save time on cooking later. Not to mention, you’ll also have the opportunity to keep your diet in check.
Always Have A Backup Plan
When you have nobody to fall back on, all of your plans might hinge on the idea that everything will go as planned. The delicate balance of work and home chores is easily disrupted. If you’re heading to a super important meeting and your car starts spewing smoke, who do you rely on? Even babysitters can cancel on you for the most varied reasons, which is why you always have to be doubly prepared for any kind of complications with your daily schedule.
Take a mental note of all the things you can do if your plans go awry. If your car breaks down, you better have that car repair service on speed dial in your phone. Having an emergency baby sitter is something you can’t do without; you can’t leave your child alone at home when you’re out of the home for several hours. The best solution is to make a list of all those close to you who you can call in case of an emergency. When you need assistance at a moment’s notice, make sure someone’s got your back.
Don’t Neglect Your Physical Health
With all the responsibilities you have to keep track of during the day, it can be easy for you to forget about taking care of your own body. You spend so much time thinking about your child and their needs that you might neglect your own. However, this line of thinking could lead to your health deteriorating over time.
Even if you have an absolutely jam-packed schedule, you have to take the time to show your body some love. You don’t have to hit the gym for hours at a time. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to rely on gyms and their equipment at all. You can have all the exercise you need within your own four walls. The internet has a bunch of information on how to take good care of your body with the use of some home fitness regimes. As long as you take some time from your busy day to do any amount of fitness, you will find that it’s going to have a significant effect on your body and mood.
A lot of young Australian parents feel that physical exercise is a non-essential part of their lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The mind and body are inseparable parts of the same whole. Making sure your body stays healthy is also going to affect your mental state. Keep in mind that exercise is very relaxing and it can bolster confidence.
Get Enough Rest
A lot of parents have the mentality that there is no such thing as rest. After all, you can have time to rest when your kids are old enough to take care of their kids, right? However, this might not be the best way to look at things. Proper rest is absolutely essential if you want to keep functioning as a parent and a professional.
When you’re tasked with taking care of your kids all alone, night time isn’t going to be very kind to you. Kids tend to scream and cry throughout the late hours and you’re going to have to take care of them when you’re supposed to be sleeping. Eight hours of sleep is the golden rule that you can’t disregard. It might seem impossible considering your situation, but there’s an important caveat. You don’t have to have a continuous eight hours of sleep.
Having a bi-phasic sleep schedule is just as viable. If you’re too busy to find the time to have a full night of sleep, try having half a night of sleep while taking care of your child and then take some time off in the afternoon for a nap. Consider the fact that this isn’t a permanent solution. At some point, your kids are going to grow up enough to actually start sleeping quietly during the night. Until then, this method can do wonders for your schedule and wakefulness.
Get A Good Grip On Your Finances
Problems with money are some of the leading causes of stress for parents and single people alike. In today’s fast paced and expensive world, you have to take good care of your finances. Taking care of your child is both wonderful and rewarding work, but it’s also ludicrously expensive. If the child’s other parent isn’t very much involved in the actual care process, the least they could do is contribute financially.
A lot of single parents in Australia find themselves in difficult situations because they haven’t set up a proper channel for help from the child’s other parent. Expert family lawyers in Sydney argue that it’s the child’s right to have financial help from both of their parents. Because of this, it’s important to take the necessary steps to get your well-earned child support payments scheduled.
Don’t Forget About Self-Care
You can’t dedicate all of your attention and care towards your kids. Some of that good energy has to be directed inwards, as well. A lot of single parents find that they simply don’t have enough time to take care of their own looks.
You have to fight the urge to simply let yourself go. Exercise might not be enough to keep you feeling confident and attractive. Even the tiniest details can have a huge effect on your confidence levels. Take a couple of hours out of your busy week for some “me time“.
Juggling a professional life alongside your kids is pretty tough for a single parent. You have to make some sacrifices in order to stay functional, but not too many that it becomes unbearable. Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. After all, you’re doing it all for the benefit of your children and seeing a smile on their face is all the reward you need. As long as you try to take care of yourself in the meantime, you’re going to find that everything is doable.
Emma Williams is an Australian writer with an MBA in Business Administration and a passion for anything lifestyle related, especially photography.
You can find her on Twitter here.