Christmas brings with it a unique set of festive pressures for any parent; finding perfect presents, creating a roast dinner with all the delicious trimmings, and decorating your home to such an extent that it resembles nothing short of a nativity scene to name a few! However, for single parents these stresses which would ideally be shared, fall solely in the laps of just one.
MIND have shockingly reported that three quarters (76%) of people have problems sleeping at Christmas. Among the many reasons attributed to this struggle, 81% confessed to finding Christmas excessively stressful; emphasising the importance in ensuring that single parents, who often experience enhanced stress this time of year, feel supported. Consequently, these parents will be better equipped to handle seasonal pressures; finding joy and relaxation in the day themselves.
To help single parents enjoy Christmas, Ben Edwards; a trained life coach and motivational speaker, outlines several tips to make the holiday a truly merry, stress-free occasion:
Make plans & accept help:
As a single parent, one predominant struggle surrounding this festive season is feeling alone, particularly in your responsibility to create a seamlessly happy day for your children. To help alleviate this pressure, contact friends and family; organise visits to make the day more exciting for all of you. Familiar faces and adult conversation will allow you to relax yourself, preventing you from feeling isolated. Similarly, accept help that is offered; if your friends and family wish to be there for you this Christmas, then let them; this will strengthen your feeling of connectedness come the new year.
Let go of expectations:
Christmas is what you make it; if you’re ridiculously stressed, you won’t be able to make it a relaxed event! Enjoy spending time with your children without feeling pressured to fit with stereotypes which no longer suit your family dynamic. If you don’t have the time, or energy, to spend hours slaving away over a roast – indulge in your children’s favourite meal; even if it is pancakes!
Similarly, don’t fear change; being open to new things allows you to start new traditions which will strengthen the new, special bond with your children. Equally, do not feel guilty; you may not be in a position where you are able to spend excessive amounts on your children and fill the room with gifts galore, but this can be a good grounding lesson. Going back to basics might just prove to be a blessing in disguise!
Take time for yourself:
Don’t become entirely engulfed by the craziness of Christmas; begin preparations early to prevent unnecessary stress and take time to relax. Your children will be more inclined to enjoy the day if you are not exhausted and stressed; so when the kids are at school enjoy a hot chocolate with friends, and indulge in the ease of online shopping!
Should you need advice, tips or simply someone to speak openly with; visit Ben’s website www.be-limitless.co.uk