4 New and Creative Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health While Dealing with a Deadbeat

As a single parent, it's even more important that you find time for self-care.

Divorce is messy and stress levels can soar well above our expectations. Throw in having to deal with a deadbeat parent and you add to the madness. Let’s be honest. It truly is madness. Bills are piling up. The kids are stuck at home because you can’t afford to take them anywhere and extracurricular activities have had to be dialed back. The kids are angry and frustrated. You must bear the brunt of it to keep your kids from feeling like it’s their fault while you bite your tongue to keep them from hearing you speak negatively about their deadbeat parent. The stakes are high, and a full meltdown is on the horizon. What do you do? Single parents find it harder than most to get time for self-care.

The last thing I would recommend you do is to try to grin and bear it. You have to take some time and take care of yourself. You must have a way to not just vent but really release your frustration. 

A spa day would be great, but what if that is not in your budget this week, or next month or this year? I’ve collected ideas from single parents for years, some just like you, at their wit’s end and struggling to keep it together. If nothing else, these ideas may spark an idea of your own or even just amuse you while you read this post and take comfort that you are not struggling alone. Humor is great therapy too! 

You already know stress, anger, and frustration carries a heavy toll. What affects you, affects your child. So, take care of yourself, for them! I repeat this often in my work because your stress has a direct negative effect on your children. In the end, taking care of them is what we do. Even if it means taking care of yourself first. You can not pour out of an empty pitcher. You can not be fully present with your child when your mind is spinning with anxiety, worry, fear, anger, or emotional exhaustion. 

Here are four tips or tricks you can use to reduce stress while dealing with collecting back child support that you may not have heard before. Self-care for single parents requires more than just a hot bath and a glass of wine:

  1. Take something apart. Don’t break it, but constructively take something apart. It can be anything, but something intricate and with multiple parts works best. 
  2. Build something. Turning agitation into creative energy builds confidence in your ability to handle complexities in a calm manner. 
  3. Learn a martial art. YouTube videos are a vault of free knowledge available at the tap of a few buttons. The basis of all martial arts is self-discipline. Use it to regain control of yourself when the whole world seems to be working against you. 
  4. Start meditating. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress, help control anxiety, and aid in emotional health. I recommend downloading an app to help you get started. There are plenty of free ones available. Additionally, you can find them on YouTube. 

You’ll notice that most of the tips suggested all have a physical aspect in common. When frustration builds, it creates physical energy that must be released. If it’s not, it builds and manifests as physical problems like fatigue, anxiety, and even depression. By doing physical activity, you release that energy in a productive and non-damaging (make sure you remove any hard parts from the stuffed animal prior to kicking) way. 

Give one or two of them a try and let me know what has worked for you in the comments. You never know when someone else might need to try something new.

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