Single parenting can be isolating and challenging. Being a single mom is depressing as they have to go through a lot of troubled experiences and emotions. These circumstances and emotions can make you depressed and angry. However, it is important to learn that you are not alone and some people are ready to listen to you and help you in times of need. For a lot of single moms, this stress and depression can cause the nervous system to shut down. If you do not know how to manage your emotions and mental health problems then you may face difficulty fighting against all the odds. This guide will help you to learn how to deal with depression as a single mom and how you can keep yourself happy.
Why Being A Single Mom Is Depressing?
It is no secret that single motherhood is tough and you have to juggle all the responsibilities and duties that come with being a solo parent without the help of a partner. It is no wonder that single mothers have to struggle with mental health issues and depression as they fight against all battles alone. Before learning how to deal with depression it is important to learn what are the factors that give rise to mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression.
1. Being Isolated And Lonely
Depressed single moms feel alone and isolated often, especially if they lack a strong support system of friends and family. These feelings turn into loneliness, stress, and depression. Single mothers have to go through a lot of emotional challenges and this gives rise to a sense of depression and loneliness. They lack a support system to share their bad and good experiences.
Due to the demands of taking multiple jobs and parenting, single mothers feel exhausted. Out of exhaustion, they may feel stress and depression.
3. Financial Stress
Single mothers have to go through a lot of financial stress which turns to anxiety and depression. Single moms are financially responsible to run the household expenses and take care of their children’s needs. The stress of not having enough financial resources to cover all their needs might be overwhelming and daunting for them. Systematic issues such as lack of resources, and food security can be risk factors for mental health conditions and depression in general. Economic factors give rise to depression, especially in single mothers, parents of children with diabetes, people of color, and part of the LGBTQ community.
4. Lack Of Self-Care
Single mothers have little time at hand to take care of themselves or make a self-care routine. This in turn leads to anxiety and depression. From the time they wake up till the time they sleep at night, they have to take care of their family’s needs and run the household single-handedly. This leaves them a rare time to take care of their needs or time to breathe.
5. Relationship Failure
Single mothers have to suffer from post-relationship stress disorder. Breaking up or divorcing with a partner may be devastating for single moms on many levels. This is why single moms have to go through emotional and physical abuse or domestic violence.
6. Insufficient Sleep
A study demonstrates that economic factors like housing insecurity and financial constraints can hurt sleep. A lot of parents will agree that parenting kids can cut into your beauty rest on a day-to-day basis. For solo parents running household errands while working and juggling between job and parenthood obligations will not leave much room for adequate sleep. Inadequate sleep is an important factor that gives rise to depression and mental unwellness. Single parents should practice better sleep hygiene by using a lot of calming aromatherapy, shutting off phones and TV’s before going to bed, sticking to a strict sleep schedule, limiting the use of caffeine, and taking a warm shower or bath before going to bed.
7. Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Single mothers find it difficult to balance leisure time and work and they’re expected to provide and take care of their children throughout the day. This leaves less time for single mothers to spend with themselves when they are not working. They are preoccupied with household work or taking care of their kids which sometimes makes them feel overwhelmed and gives rise to mental health problems like anxiety, stress, and depression.
8. Self Guilt
Single mothers feel guilty for not providing enough to meet the needs of their children. Becoming a single mom is a huge responsibility and also takes a lot of courage. Therefore, always remind yourself that you are doing an incredible job instead of feeling depressed and unmotivated.
9. Pressure To Make Decisions Alone
Single moms have to make big decisions related to household and their children’s life alone without the support of a co-parent or spouse. The pressure to make decisions can cause plenty of stress and can be incredibly intimidating at times.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression In Single Moms?
Depression in single parents can occur to anyone irrespective of gender identity. Depression affecting solo mothers is known as single-mom depression. Following the symptoms of depression in single moms:
- Feeling of guilt
- Trouble concentrating
- Persistent feelings of hopelessness and loneliness
- Loss of interest in socializing
- Impacted eating habits thoughts of suicide or death
- Low energy
Depression in single mothers may hurt children. Depending on the frequency, condition, and severity of mental health conditions and depression, single mothers are unlikely to increase the chances of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
How To Deal With Depression As A Single Mom?
As a single mom, you may be prone to mental health issues like anxiety, isolation, and depression. It is important to take care of your health both physically and emotionally. You can consider counseling or therapy that will help you to deal with your emotions and mental health. You can also join support groups or therapy groups for single moms to seek emotional support. Taking care of yourself will help you to become a better parent and take good care of your children. As a single mom, it is important to carve out some time for yourself every day. Schedule some time and keep it for yourself every day even if it is for a few minutes. This will keep you happy and relaxed. Dealing with depression as a single mom is possible if you can follow the below-mentioned steps.
1. Talk To Your Doctor Or Seek A Therapist
Coping with depression as a single mom may be difficult for you without talking to a professional. If you’re feeling depressed, do not hesitate to make an appointment and talk to your doctor. This will help you in figuring out whether depression is because of a medical condition or not. They can prescribe you medication to help you. A therapist can also work with you to manage the emotions that you are facing presently. Single mothers feel a range of emotions like sadness, anxiety, and anger. It is necessary to talk to your therapist who can help you to understand as well as manage them.
2. Adjust Your Emotions
To be a good mother you need to adjust your emotions. Sometimes it is okay to feel low however you need not be perfect in everything. Keep your mental health and children your main priority. Try to take a step back if being a single mom is making you angry and depressed. Allow your nervous system to take a rest before returning to your children. Feel free to share your feelings with your friends, children, or close ones. Sometimes speaking out loudly and opening up can help to manage your emotions. This will enable you to better respond to what is happening instead of reacting.
3. Practice Emotional Self-Care
As a depressed single mom, it is normal to put your children’s and family’s needs first. However, do not forget to take care of yourself. It may be difficult for single moms to make a self-care routine while taking care of their children. You need to make sure to schedule some time for self-care even if it is for a few minutes. Eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, and exercising are some ways in which you can practice emotional self-care. Acknowledging your inner feelings and giving yourself some space and time will help you to express yourself properly. You can journal or talk to your trusted friend if you’re feeling lonely and depressed. If you keep your feelings and emotions bottled up then it will be unhealthy for your mental health and may be self-destructive.
4. Practice Financial Self-Care
Mental health for solo mothers is quite important. A way to take better care of your mental health is by practicing financial self-care. In other words, you need to create a budget and stick to it and even set aside some money for yourself so that you do not run into debt or make any financial mistakes. Taking care of your finances and sticking to your budget will reduce your anxiety, stress and will improve your overall mental well-being. Single moms with depression can practice financial self-care methods by setting aside money every month and saving or investing through education.
5. Look For Government Grants And Assistance Programs
Budgeting and frugal shopping decisions are some positive ways through which you can take care of your finances. If you’re looking for government assistance to manage your finances then you can opt for government assistance programs like TANF or Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Program, SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and others. You can also search for need-based coalitions or local food initiatives such as Feeding America.
6. Prioritize Your Sleep And Rest
Taking rest heals your body from exhaustion and burnout. This also helps you to be in good shape and take better care of your kids. Prioritizing your rest comes with getting adequate sleep. You can set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Also, make sure to get sleep for seven to 8 hours every night. If you can manage time then try taking a nap during the day and recharge yourself.
7. Look For Support
Juggling home, work, personal desires, and parenting can be overwhelming and difficult. Seeking support and accepting help when offered are a few ways in which single moms can get rid of anxiety and depression. There are many easy and free ways through which you can find support and help in all aspects of life. For instance, there are friends and family members who are ready to support you when you are feeling low and depressed. Governmental and nongovernmental websites such as single parent advocates, mom groups like Parents Without Partners or MOPS, local playgroups, classes for families, counseling and therapy groups, etc. are some resources that single moms can use to get rid of their negative thoughts.
8. Practice Stress Management Techniques
Selecting stress management techniques will help you to get rid of depression, isolation, and exhaustion. You can choose relaxing hobbies like crocheting or reading. Besides practicing yoga, breathing techniques, going for a walk with your children will help you to calm your nerves. Having a support system in the form of friends or close family members whom you can talk to and vent your emotions is necessary to deal with stress and depression.
Motherhood is a difficult journey for a lot of people and unfortunately, this is harder for a lot of single moms. There are many pressures and conflicts which single moms have to go through that two-parent families or married couples do not face firsthand. The resilience and strength of single moms are incredibly admirable however it is also important to understand that they tend to experience exhaustion, severe burnout, and depression. By following the above-mentioned strategies single mothers can overcome depression and can lead a healthy and fulfilling life.