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Top tips on how to manage stress

By Karli Steenkamp

We are living in a fast paced world with pressures all around. These pressures can cause people to stress. Pressures from trying to be healthy, work, financial and every aspect of our lives. It is important to not let these stress you out. Parents have different kinds of pressures to deal with. Parenting can take its toll on couples, because it is hard to know if you are doing the right thing or not. Being a single parent, however rewarding, is one of the hardest things there is because you have to handle all these without a second set of hands available.

What causes you to stress?

You have to identify what it is that causes you stress so that you can try and channel it. There are many factors that can cause you to feel stress, starting with the other parent, if there is one. Fighting with each other frequently or trying to be the better parent can be stressful and unnecessary. It could be that you struggle to balance all the factors in your daily life. Financial stress is one of the most common factors that cause people to stress. Single parenting is hard as you have to do a lot of things alone and make big decisions that can sometimes be overwhelming.

How to manage your stress

Firstly, it is important to not compare yourself to any other parent. You are unique and special in your own way and you need to find things that work for you. Try and be positive. A positive attitude spreads like wildfire and that will lead to more positive ways to handle stress. Find a good way to communicate to the other parent that will allow ways to minimise conflict. An email or text could do the trick without actually having a conversation.

It could help to attend parent groups for single parents and they could also have great ideas of how to deal with difficult situations. Set good routines for yourself as well as your children. Children thrive on routine, it gives them security. If you have financial stress, it could be worth it to see a financial advisor to help you with a financial plan. That will lead you into managing your finances better and make you feel empowered.

You have to look after yourself. You have to eat well and make sure that you get enough sleep so that you can be a great parent. Not looking after yourself will only make you more tired, emotional and feeling unable to cope with daily life. Make sure that you have a support system. If you have family or friends find someone

that you can speak to when you need advice or a shoulder to cry on. Make sure it is someone that thinks like you and does things more or less the same. Join social parenting groups to find people that share your interests and have children with the same ages. It will help to exchange tips on parenting.

Learn to be easy on yourself. You are human and you are going to make mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up about it, find ways of doing better next time.

Make time for your children. Do fun things now so that you can bond with your kids on a different level. Spend time with them so that you know what is going on. This will ensure that you do not feel guilty about not spending time with them.

If you are finding it difficult to deal with stress try relaxing techniques, like breathing exercises, counting, taking a warm bath, calling someone you trust, play music or even exercise. Reward yourself too. You need to find what works for you and try and minimise your stress.

Parenting has its challenges and even more so if you are doing it alone. Children can be just as happy in a single parent household. Don’t let your stress interfere with your parenting and look after yourself. There are going to be times which will be harder than others, but remember you are not alone. Many people are going through the exact same thing and building a network of people you can trust will help you get through it. If your stress gets worse on a daily basis, it might be necessary to see your GP or you can phone Parent Line on 132 289. Give yourself more credit, you are a hero in your child’s eyes.


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