If they Hey there single parent. How are you feeling? A little burned out?
And do people keep telling you the cure all for it is self-care?
Up until this past week, I would have been one of them. Self-care is all the rage right now. And while I still believe self-care is incredibly important, the authors of a new book about stress and how to manage it BLEW MY FREAKING MIND over the weekend.
Here’s what they said: “The cure for burnout isn’t and can’t be self-care. It has to be all of us caring for each other…We talk about sleep, we talk about stress, get physical activity. Well that’s not going to work if you live in a household where you’re the only person who prioritizes your well-being.”
🤯 🤯 🤯
I heard this on the lastest Episode of Brené Brown’s “Unlocking Us” podcast. She had sisters and co-authors Emily and Amilia Nagoski on to speak about their new book, “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle”.
How did I not know this? No wonder us single parents are having such a tough time taking care of ourselves if self-care requires that everyone gets on board with it.
Whether you have one child or a hoard of them, one thing is constant, they are steeped in the ego stage of their life and even though they love you, your self-care is probably not their top priority. They just don’t understand that you need such a thing.
So how do you get around you being the only one who’s prioritizing your self-care?
I have a few suggestions and the one I invite you to try today is asking for help from friends and family.
This may seem like a no-brainer but many of us have the mentality that we are alone in this journey. The very fact that we are labelled “single parents” reinforces that we are on our own.
That’s probably not the intention of the label, but words matter and if you keep hearing and saying the words “single parent” in reference to yourself, it’s not surprising that you get the message that you’re supposed to be able to handle all of this yourself. But you’re not meant to do this alone.
In the past and even sometimes in the present, I have been notoriously bad at asking for help. I once had a friend and fellow single mom look me in the eye and, in exasperation, say, “Carmel, you don’t need to get a babysitter. Just call me!” She is a master at using the resources at her disposal. Yes, she has family nearby, but she also reaches out to friends for help on a regular basis. And they know they can count on her for help too.
I’ve noticed how people who are good at this fare much better than those of us who aren’t because they’ve built a team they can count on, that cares about them and their well-being. If they can do it, you can do it. Build a team that helps you prioritize your self-care.
In the past few years, I’ve worked on rewriting the narratives in my head and I’ve gotten so much better at asking for help. I even patted myself on the back recently for asking a friend to pick up a few groceries for me. My son was sick and I couldn’t go to the grocery store until he had a negative Covid test. She was happy to help and it meant I didn’t have to stress about how I was going to feed my kiddo healthy meals without any fresh vegetables in the house.
So ASK FOR HELP:
• if you need time to take a nap
• so you can go grocery shopping without little voices asking over and over if you’ll buy them a jumbo pack of Oreos
• if you need an hour for yoga or a run…
Whatever it is you need to do to recharge or make your life run smoothly, ask for help. Build your team of self-care supporters.
And if you suffer from the guilt monster that says you can’t impose on others, especially if you don’t know them very well, know that when you ask someone to do something for you, you’re building a stronger relationship with them. You signal to them that you trust them and that you consider them a valued friend. And when they ask a favour of you, say yes if you possibly can. Maybe even be proactive and offer to take their kids for a bit or do something else nice. If they’ve been helping you out, you’ll probably have the energy to give a little back. 🙂
If you could use more help in your single parent journey, book a free 60-minute strategy call with me. We’ll explore what you want, what’s keeping you from getting it and next steps to move you in the right direction.
And I highly recommend checking out that podcast episode. There are plenty of helpful tips for managing your stress so you don’t reach burnout. You can find it on pretty much any podcast app or listen here.