Single Parents and Addiction Prevention: Finding Healthy Ways to Cope

Being a single parent can be challenging on the best of days. Whether it’s finding a balance between work stresses and home life or making sure you can carve out time to spend with your children, it can be overwhelming for many moms and dads just to get through the day. At times, stress and anxiety can lead to substance abuse and other addictions, which can in turn cause a rift in the family. It’s important to remember that there are other ways to cope with the things life throws at you; you just have to know where to start and what to avoid.

Find time for yourself

It’s not an easy thing to do, and most days after the kids are in bed you might just want to fall into bed yourself. However, finding time for yourself is imperative for your mental and emotional well-being. You can start by setting a strict bedtime for the kiddos so you can be sure to have a little time to read, watch a favorite television show, or talk to a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Be sure to stay away from doing chores during this time; as much as you may be tempted, it’s best if you have a section of the day just to do something you really want to do.

Make things as simple as possible

Sometimes single parents find themselves in the role after a big life change–such as a divorce–and try to keep their old schedule for the sake of the kids. It’s not always possible, however, to keep up with everything on your own the way you did before, and that’s okay. Whether you cut down on the kids’ after school activities or change the schedule a bit, or simply cook dinners ahead of time and freeze them for busy nights, there are many small things you can do to make your life easier.

Get creative

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never thought of yourself as a creative person; everyone has a little spark in them, it just takes a bit of work to find out what that is sometimes. Finding creative outlets can be extremely helpful in dealing with stress and anxiety, and there are several different ways you can achieve it, including drawing, painting, sculpting, dancing, learning an instrument, acting, creative writing, baking, or cooking. Start small–perhaps by keeping a journal or attempting to bake something you’ve never made before–and try out several different things. Art therapy is a world-renowned practice for people who are coping with substance abuse issues, emotional disorders, and anxiety.