The exciting festivities of Christmas bring a unique set of pressures for any parent; finding the perfect presents, cooking a delicious meal, and decorating the house to such an extent that it resembles nothing short of a winter wonderland to name a few!
However, it may be argued that for those who find themselves to be single parents, those stresses which would ideally be shared – fall solely into the laps of one parent; burdened with the intense pressure of responsibility.
MIND has shockingly reported that three quarters (76%) of people have had problems sleeping at Christmas, while nearly 60% have experienced panic attacks over the festive period. Of the reasons given, 81% attributed these concerning occurrences to finding Christmas stressful. This highlights the importance in ensuring that single parents, who often experience enhanced stress during this time of year, feel supported and better equipped to adjust to the increased pressures, and can find joy in the day themselves.
To help single parents find Christmas less stressful, Ben Edwards; a trained life coach and motivational speaker, outlines several tips to make the holiday a seamless, joyful occasion:
1. Plan ahead and invite friends or family:
As a single parent, one of the most prominent struggles surrounding Christmas is feeling alone, and solely responsible for creating an immaculately happy day for your children. Contact your friends and family, and organise visits to make the day more exciting for both you and your children; having adults to chat and laugh with will allow you to relax yourself, ensuring you feel less isolated. Similarly, learn to receive; if your friends and family want to help you at Christmas, then let them. This is what Christmas is all about!
2. Let go of expectations:
Relax; Christmas is what you make it. Enjoy spending time with your children without feeling pressure to do things a certain way, or fit with traditions which simply don’t suit your family dynamic. Some people don’t have time to slave away in the kitchen for hours preparing Christmas dinner if you’ve also got to keep one eye on small children!
Don’t fear change; this allows you to develop new traditions which will strengthen the new, special bond with your children. Similarly, don’t feel guilty; as a single parent you may be less able to spend excessive amounts on your children – this can be a good grounding lesson, teaching that what’s more important is the quality time which comes with Christmas and not monetary gifts. Going back to basics may be a blessing in disguise!
3. Treat yourself:
Don’t become too engrossed in the busyness of Christmas; start preparations early to prevent undue stress, and take time for yourself – your children are more likely to enjoy the day if you’re not completely frazzled! When the kids are at school, online shopping can be a real blessing especially when you treat yourself to a Christmas latte, mince pies and a good holiday film while you shop!