In today’s era of postmodernism, were single dads are fast becoming the unsung heroes of modern parenting, the challenges faced by this cohort of North American society are increasing every generation. Subsequently, there has been much discussion on how single dads can deal with stress and anxiety.
The last thirty or so years have seen a literal boost of single-dads in western society. According to many sources such as the Pew Research Center, the number of households headed by single dads has increased exponentially from 300,000 from around 1960 to almost 3 million in 2012 – with a large portion of these dads having sole custody of their children.
Unfortunately, with the rise of the single dads comes a huge amount of stress that’s tied largely with finances and income opportunities, and this is especially true if the single father is living paycheck to paycheck like so many of us are already doing. In fact, according to a recent article from USNews, single dads have a much higher mortality rate than others.
From buying groceries to the high cost of childcare, there is an enormous amount of pressure for single dads to pony up and pay outright for these necessary expenses.
According to many researchers:
fathers must meet those demands and are also expected to take on the tasks of practical household duties. These where traditionally carried out for centuries by women and are now being shared more widely with men. The learning curve has been very difficult for many men in this area, as they tend to feel easily overwhelmed by tending to the home.
Despite the additional stress single dads face, there are some preventative measures that can be utilized to increase one’s mental health and well-being.
Increase Your Physical Activity:
Holding down one full-time job with kids is a difficult job as it is, let’s face it your day doesn’t stop once your shift is over. You have laundry, dinner, bathing, homework to name a few.
So how on earth are you supposed to fit exercise and fitness into the equation? It’s certainly a fair point given the fact that there are only 24 hours in each day.
Before we concentrate on a solution, let’s examine why many experts and fitness gurus recommend exercise above all else.
When we engage in physical fitness, our body releases a flood of endorphins that populate the body and mind, making us look and feel fantastic!
Don’t have enough time to exercise?
Many experts agree that all it takes is as little as 20 minutes three to four times a week to really feel it in your heart, and get your blood pumping through your veins.
The end result?
An increase in overall well-being and a dramatic increase in your quality of life, and a much better ability in dealing and managing stress.
Time To Step Up Your Dietary Needs:
I highlighted the need for exercise and fitness above, however, equally as important and certainly just as neglected is the need to improve your dietary consumption of healthy nutrients while dramatically decreasing unhealthy fats and artificial additives.This is certainly much more difficult considering that we live in a very fast-paced, high-pressure society.
The common argument I get all the time is:
I simply don’t have enough time…
Considering that good nutrition and proper meal planning will do wonders for your overall health, and your ability to manage stress and recovery.
Unless you’re working 16-hour days, 7 days per week, the average person watched a minimum of 4 hours per day or more, you certainly have an hour or so a day to properly cook and prepare your meals for the next day.
And if you have a day or 2 off per week, you can easily cook then Tupperware your food for the entire week.
As a single mom or father, you probably have little time for yourself. Building in alone time gives your mind and body the rest it needs, however, to go full-steam ahead the rest of the time.
Take Some Alone-Time For Yourself Without Feeling Guilty:
At least once or twice per week, it’s important that you take some time alone or with some good friends and do something that’s not associated with your children. If possible, choose an activity or event that really stimulates you and gets your adrenaline pumping.
I find when I do something like rock climbing, hitting the weights getting together with some solid friends and shooting some pool really gets me going. Moreover, this type of stimulation allows me to feel charged for several days as I can relive the moment mentally.
This is especially true if I engage in something that takes a physical toll on my body like rock climbing.
The end result is that you feel more invigorated than ever before and that invigoration carries you well throughout the days after when you have to devote your sole attention to work and family as well.
Set up a support system That Actually Works:
Single dads need help too, there seems to be an over-emphasis on single moms and the need for them to join strong support systems that will help deal with anxiety.
The bottom line as described in my post is that being a single dad poses a unique set of challenges that can’t be ignored.
Whether it’s someone to watch your children while you run around dealing with necessary errands, or you simply want someone to talk to when feeling overwhelmed, joining a well-supported social support system will help you get through the stress of being a single dad.
While it’s tempting to try to handle everything alone like most men try and do, don’t be afraid to ask friends, family members and please remember to join strong social support groups for additional help.
As mentioned, there are many unique stressors that affect men exclusively, and compounded with this is the fact that most single dads can’t be bothered to seek outside help to cope with anxiety and stress.
Let’s face it, the best ways how single dads can deal with stress and anxiety is through exercise, top-notch nutrition, individualized time away from your children periodically and, of course, participating with a strong support network where you feel comfortable participating in.
Although I highlighted 4 of the most popular methods – and most effective ways how single dads can deal with stress and anxiety, the truth is that there are plenty of other methods that you can incorporate into your busy life.
If you would like to add to this post by sharing some of your preferred methods, that would be great as this will greatly help others reading this post deal with this growing problem among us single dads.