Single mothers are accountable for conceiving over 20 million children in America. A lot of these mothers have become or remained single because of a broken relationship, the death of her partner, or other difficult situations that psychologically impact families, especially children. Yes, even single mothers who don’t struggle with sadness, trauma, loneliness, or guilt still bear the burden of being an only parent. A single mother’s family develops its strength and resilience through her emotional health, so she must not only attend to her child’s needs but her own needs as well. “The challenges facing single parents are not that different from those of all parents. But it may be more difficult for them to create the community of support we all need to function as parents. “says Leah Klungness, Ph.D.
Research done by Guy Winch emphasized the relevance of paying attention not only to one’s physical wounds but also to her psychological wounds. He calls this process emotional hygiene or the process of eliminating negative and disturbing emotions. This process is attainable by anyone, including single mothers.
Five Steps Toward Emotional Hygiene
Below are five steps that make up the process of emotional hygiene – steps that form our emotional first aid kit for healing our psychological and emotional wounds, particularly those of the single moms.
- Be Aware Of The Emotional Pain. If the pain you’re feeling has been there for days or weeks, don’t ignore it. Notice it and decide to treat the wound from within.
- Try To End The Emotional Bleeding. Look for the cause of the emotional pain – failure, breakup, or loss – and then work on addressing this cause. The more it is left unattended, the lesser your self-esteem becomes.
- Fight The Negativity. Don’t give in to those negative thoughts that are slowly creeping inside your mind and soul. Stop contemplating the unpleasant emotions and events that have prevented you to begin the healing process. Start thinking positively. “The first thing a child needs is stability,” says Richard Bromfield, Ph.D. He adds, “The key ingredient is dependability, through your presence and love.”
- Protect Your Self-Confidence. When you feel like you’re beginning to doubt yourself more and more, focus on finding ways to boost it. Monitor your feelings and learn to do self-talk, as it tremendously helps in growing self-esteem.
- Be Informed. Don’t stop learning about things that affect you, like how psychological and emotional wounds affect you in all aspects of your single motherhood life. Always seek knowledge and experience.
These five steps are significant, but it is much more important to know how to take each step according to your situation and character. When you gather what you need to create that emotional first aid kit, let your goal be primarily for your well-being. Single mothers who broke up with their partners after being abused must acknowledge their past hurts and the wounds they’ve created. Those whose husbands died must accept their grief and live with the scars that remained as a remembrance of that loss. They can utilize this emotional first aid kit according to the situation that they’re in.
Reestablishing one’s self-confidence and ending negativity can subsequently end the emotional bleeding. For single mothers, center your goal on building strength and doing right by your child or children. If you can’t cope on your own, accept that you need help through a close friend or family, or therapy. “Strong single parents have perspective. They’re able to see that whatever is hardest right now isn’t necessarily the biggest thing you’ll be dealing with a month from now—or even a week from now.” Carly Snyder, MD wrote. As a mother, you might not think of quickly knowing more about bacteria, rashes, or tapeworms. However, when it comes down to your mental and emotional well-being, you don’t get to be that complacent.
More Valuable Tools For Your Emotional Health
Aside from your emotional first aid kit, here other equally valuable tools that can help single moms and other individuals who badly need to keep their emotional health intact.
- Break Time. If you’re a single mom, you know what it means to crump up everything that needs to be done in only 24 hours until there’s not enough time to breathe. But remember that time off from work, taking care of the kids, or doing everything for everybody is very important. Find ways to relax, either by going to the spa for a massage or simply stay at home while the kids are in school and watch an inspiring movie. You don’t really need to go that far. You only need to be alone so you can breathe positivity.
- Be Optimistic. Believing in something, according to a lot of proven studies, improves psychological resilience. It can increase one’s self-esteem and her ability to face the various challenges in her life. You can also learn some basic exercises that would help slowly adopt and maintain an optimistic mindset. Think about how you’ve raised your children by yourself and what an accomplishment it has been for you that you and your children are still alive and standing.
- Get Away If You Can. Negative thinking can only pull you down to the deepest pits. After monitoring your feelings and deciding that it’s not something you can handle easily, try planning an adventure trip. Get out of your usual routine. Release your fears of leaving your child with a nanny or with grandma. You deserve to rest.
Closing the rift between physical and emotional health is crucial for anyone who needs healing, including the single mothers who have every right to be happy, beautiful, and stress-free. If you want to establish a more effective emotional and mental habit, check out BetterHelp. You can also visit their LinkedIn and Facebook pages for more posts.