Life can be tough for you if you are a single parent struggling to juggle time between work and your child. Sometimes, it can get so bad that you have to lose sleep just to spend a little more time with your child. It is common for single parents to lead unhealthy lifestyles and neglect self-care. However, are you aware that you are investing in your child’s well-being when you look after yourself? Keeping healthy is a part of creating a secure and loving environment for your child to grow up healthy and happy. It reduces stress on the body and keeps positive emotions flowing in the house all the time.
How do you keep yourself healthy when you are so pressed for time? Priorities! You do not have to do everything all at the same time. Some things can wait while you take care of yourself first.
Here are 5 foolproof tips for you.
- Eat healthily
Eating the right amount of food is a good habit to practise because healthy eating means that both you and your child will stay healthy. The figure above shows the suggested servings for each food category and it is a good way to know what you should eat in order to stay healthy. Besides, healthy food gives you the energy to not only make it through the day, but also to spend quality time with your child when you get home from work.
- Stay active
It is tempting to lounge on the sofa after work and spend time with your child in front of the TV because it has been a long day. That, unfortunately, is going to make both you and your child unhealthier and more tired in the long run. Our bodies are built to be active, so get out there with your child for some physical bonding activities. You can go for a walk or cycle in a nearby park, play a few rounds of badminton, or just to kick a ball around. These activities can easily fit in during weekday evenings since they do not require extended period of time. Just 30 minutes of walking can help you and your child to stay healthy. During the weekends, you can bring your child for a swim or perhaps hiking at Bukit Timah Hill. Whatever activities you choose, just make sure that they keep you and your child active.
- Rest well
Sleep can become a luxury when you are a single parent and have to juggle between many responsibilities. It may sound ridiculous to an exhausted single parent when we tell you to rest well, but trust us, it is important for you to rest, and to rest well. A gruelling 14 hours day, every day, is going to put a toll on you eventually, and if you fall really sick, who is going to take care of your child?
Therefore, it is essential that you give yourself a chance to rest. Taking 5 minutes break throughout the day at work helps to keep you sane and rested so that you can go home in a relatively relaxed manner for your child. Once you are home, remind yourself that you do not need to clean the house every day and allow yourself to rest when you are tired. Besides, going to bed together with your child can increase your bonding, especially if your child is young!
- Stay healthy mentally
Leading a healthy lifestyle means working on both your physical and mental wellbeing. As a single parent, it is crucial that you are mentally healthy in order to handle the stress that you face every day. When it gets too much for you to handle, arrange a time-out for yourself by seeking help from your family, friends or neighbours to look after your child for a few hours while you zone out. It is perfectly normal to get away from your child now and then, so do not guilt-trap yourself into thinking that you are a horrid parent when you need a time-out from your child.
- Stay connected with your friends
Lastly, remember that all of us need social support. It is part of human nature. While you may not have the luxury of hanging out with your friends all the time, staying connected with them through regular calls or text messages is not impossible. With current technological advancements, you can easily skype or Facetime your friends when you feel the need for adult connection. If possible, arrange for a dinner date once a month to give yourself a well-deserved time-out. If you plan ahead, you can get someone to look after your child for a few hours without too much of a hassle too.
Even if you follow our tips, there will be times when you feel like you are short-changing your child when you take a break. Just remember this: investing in your own wellbeing means investing in your child’s wellbeing. Stop guilt-trapping yourself and take that well-deserved break now and then!