Single Mothering: Is It Damaging Your Health?
Bills. Child care. Work. School. Second job. Bills. Single mothering is damaging your health, both in the short and long term.
While many women escape stressful marriages in divorce, a whole new type of stressful situations await them on the other side. Parenting alone is hard, especially if the father is not very involved or absent. We worry about everything and work ourselves into the ground trying to make ends meet. Lawyer fees are stifling but necessary. And after the divorce is final, there is a lifetime of juggling ahead of us.
Effects of Stress on the Body
When we are suffering from chronic stress, our body is bombarded constantly by the release of adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are useful in the short term for survival — they are our “fight or flight” response. In the long term, however, they have dire consequences on our bodies. The immune system is activated and becomes run down. Cortisol levels stay high for a time and eventually dwindle as the body is unable to produce enough.
We get tired…exhausted. It becomes hard to function at the levels we are used to. We get sick often, injured easily, and become susceptible to a myriad of health issues including type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal problems, and depression.
What Can We Do?
We can’t necessarily eliminate the stress in our lives as single moms, but we can change how we react to and cope with it. Learning various techniques to do so can change not only how we feel and perceive our lives but have hugely positive effects on our health.
Yoga is classically relaxing for the mind and revitalizing for the body. Plus it helps you work out all those stress-related kinks and knots in your muscles!
Meditation helps you center yourself and teaches coping mechanisms to escape from and deal with stressful situations. If you can calm your mind, you can change your response to a stressful moment.
Movement each day does wonders, even something as simple a 5 or 10 minute walk outside in nature for some grounding.
Personal Development. Reading books, watching videos on YouTube, or listening to podcasts on topics that help you better yourself can do some amazing reprogramming of your mind. You can work on confidence, positivity, parenting, etc.
Self-care time. Setting aside time each day or week for focused self-care like reading a book, going out with friends, getting your nails done, or even getting a cup of coffee alone can work wonders for your mindset.
Nutrition. What you eat matters! Eating a whole-foods diet goes a long way to helping feel good and rebound from stress easier. Adaptogenic herbs are also hugely helpful to help your body improve its stress tolerance and recovery time.