As a single working mom, I seem to stay stressed all the time. Whether I am at work, home, or anywhere I find myself struggling to find joy. Thanks for your time.
First, let me say I am sorry for your struggle and realize that single parent households are difficult to manage. I don’t believe people set out to be single parents, but it happens. Fairytale endings are extremely rare. Couples separate, partners pass away, and sometimes mothers and fathers choose not to be involved. Whatever the reason, working and raising children alone can be a daunting task.
Though I can’t speak as a single working mom, I can relate as the son of one. My parents divorced when my brother and I were young. In the beginning, we lived with our mom and visited dad every other weekend. I remember how hectic it was for mom. We were always hustling to school, daycare, sports, church, and other events. Although my dad was able to help on occasion it was still tough because he lived across town. Everyone’s situation is different and the less support someone has the tougher it is.
Without knowing the specifics of your situation, I can offer some general advice based on personal experience and observations. First, no matter what it takes, you need to develop some degree of dependable support. Most people start by reaching out to family members. If you have no family around, maybe you can call on close friends, neighbors, colleagues, or church members. Anyone you know you can trust will work. I know it is hard to ask for help but spreading yourself too thin and staying stressed is unhealthy. If something happens to you, someone will have to take over anyway. Furthermore, anyone who cares about you will likely be happy to help if you ask.
If you don’t feel like you have anyone you can trust, there are alternatives. There are outreach programs online that are designed to relieve the stress of single parenting. Their mission is to provide support and resources for people in your situation. If you are not able to find a program near you, try reaching out to other single parents in your community or on social media. Finding common ground among others can be very resourceful. At the very least, you may find sharing your experience with others to be uplifting.
The fact that you say you are stressed all the time, and you struggle to find joy concerns me. According to the “Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5), extended bouts of depression with feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness can be symptoms of major depressive disorder. If you are struggling to find joy, you may need to consider professional help. Even if you feel like you can manage overcoming these feelings yourself it never hurts to have some extra guidance.
In addition to getting professional help, I would suggest taking a little time out every day for something you love. Life is short and we must make time for joy and laughter. A moment of joy can be rejuvenating and has the power to completely change our outlook. I would also recommend making time for some form of physical activity. Exercise is rewarding in many ways including stress release. Many physical activities don’t take up a lot of time. Most people can walk or run a mile in 15 to 20 minutes and there are plenty of exercise or stretching routines that only take a few minutes. Regardless of what you choose to do, it is crucial to carve out time for yourself and take steps to relieve your stress.
I am so happy you reached out and I want you to know that this is a great first step. Please continue to search until you find the support and stress relief that works for you. No one should be stressed all the time, and everyone should have moments of joy daily.