Anxiety is one of the most common issues we face today, with over 260 million people suffering from anxiety-related disorders globally. It can range from feeling uncomfortable in social situations, to having a devastating effect on every day situations.
Mental health problems can have an overwhelming impact on how we operate, making us feel weighed down by everything. Throw parenting into the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster if you don’t properly address it.
Looking after yourself when you don’t feel at your best mentally is one thing, but being responsible for the well-being of a child is an entirely different ball game…especially if you’re a lone parent.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate those tricky waters – just remember, smooth seas never made a good sailor.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About It
When it comes to mental health, there’s a stigma that surrounds it that can be difficult to shake.
Talking about it can seem like a daunting prospect. Anxiety can make us feel like we’re not “normal”, so opening up can be difficult. However, telling your friends and family about what you’re feeling can have huge benefits.
Ask your loved ones for help, patience, and understanding as you try to work your way through this. Not everyone will understand, but they should be able to empathize.
The likelihood is that you’ll know someone who also suffers, but has felt too scared to open up about it previously.
Seek Professional Help
For some people, seeking professional help is the last resort. Sufferers may feel like they just need to “pull themselves out of it”, but there is no shame in going to your GP.
There are a variety of resources available to help you, especially if you’re a lone parent. We all know how draining being the sole breadwinner can be.
Britain’s National Health Service points out that talking therapy is one of the best ways to treat anxiety disorders and emotional problems.
A trained therapist will be able to teach you Cognitive Behavioural Therapy methods to help you deal with your anxiety, while simply talking to someone who knows what you’re going through can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
More and more often people suffering from mental health issues are being directed to practices like mindfulness and meditation.
Even if you don’t think it’s your “thing”, take a moment to consider how you may be able to whittle down your stress by incorporating these practices into your routine.
Apps like Headspace offer bitesize guided meditation sessions for beginners that take as little as five minutes.
It’s been scientifically proven that these types of exercises can have a positive effect on anxiety and mood disorders, so why not try it out and see if it helps you beat the big A?
Take Time for Yourself
When you’re running around after the kids, running a home and holding down a job solo, it’s easy to forget that you need to take care of yourself.
Anxiety often builds up over time without us realizing it before it explodes into a fully-fledged problem. Taking time to do things you enjoy can help you keep the pressure off.
It may be as simple as running a bath and reading a book in peace or ditching the laundry and meeting a friend for coffee instead. It might seem counter-intuitive but putting yourself first is the best thing you can do for your family.
Let It Out
Whether it’s writing it all down in a journal that no one else will ever see or having a long conversation with a trusted friend, it’s important to let it all out.
Acknowledging that there is an issue, even if you don’t know why you’re feeling anxious, is one of the biggest steps to getting a sense of normalcy back.
Remember that anxiety is your body’s fight-or-flight response that’s just out of whack. Opening the mental faucet and relieving some of the pressure by working through your thoughts could help you get a much-needed sense of relief.
Be Honest With Your Kids
As parents, our first instinct is to protect our children at all costs. We don’t want to worry them, so we don’t let them in on things that we’re going through.
That being said, kids soak things up like a sponge, and they’re savvier than you might think. If you find yourself highly-strung and impatient because of your anxiety, sit them down and let them know that it isn’t their fault.
You don’t have to go into copious amounts of detail, but a simple, “I love you, I’m just going through some things right now,” might suffice.
Children often take things to heart and if they don’t know there’s another issue going on, they might think that they’re the problem.
Consider Holistic Therapies
There’s a lot to be said for orthodox medicine, but if you don’t feel medication is the best route for you, there are a lot of other routes you can take.
Mental health charity Mind recommends always seeking advice from your GP before pursuing alternative treatment.
Remember That You Are Not Alone
Anxiety,on the whole, can make sufferers feel isolated and detached from society. It’s important to remember that you are not the only one going through similar problems.
Being a single parent can be challenging when you’re also fighting an inner battle that doesn’t seem to end but follow these steps and you may find that you’re not as alone as you thought after all.