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The single parent’s guide to yoga

How to find time for yourself and children…

If you are a single parent, it can be difficult finding time for yourself. As such you will face some long, mainly sleepless nights; frustrations of trying to arrange childcare, and time spent tending to the inevitable illness. While balancing all of this along with work and financial stability, your own self-care and fitness might be afforded a low priority. But if you do not look after yourself then this is bound to have an effect on your ability to look after your child.

As tempting as it might be to postpone your own needs, while single-handedly caring for your child; staying fit and healthy not only ensures you are there to look after your child, it can help you cope with the stress of parenting (and everyday life). Physical fitness, exercise, and healthy activities such as yoga and meditation have been shown to boost your mood and help you tolerate stressful situations as and when they arise.

Seeing and feeling the results of your efforts through yoga will boost your self-esteem. In addition to helping fight postpartum depression among new mothers, this may also lead to better parenting. By loving and caring for yourself, you teach your child to love and care for themselves too.

Here is some advice on how to find the time to stay in shape:

Start Small

Finding time to exercise can seem daunting when you are a single parent; juggling a full-time job, childcare, and countless other responsibilities; you need to start small. Even if you only have five minutes to spare, take those five minutes to yourself. Try some basic yoga postures and/or find a quiet place to sit and meditate for a few minutes. If you have not tried meditation before then you can start by finding a brief guided meditation video on YouTube.

Exercise While the Kids Sleep

It can often be the case that the only time you get to yourself is while the kids are asleep. Try to make some ‘me time’ first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night. In any event, yoga is best practiced first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night. Yoga re-programs your subconscious mind with good healthy habits and you are closer to yourself (i.e. your subconsciousness) when your first wake up and just before bed.

Whether you are a single parent or not, there will inevitably be unexpected situations that arise that you will need to cope with. By stabilising the breath when exercising (something which is very much emphasised in Prana Vashya Yoga) this trains the nerves to resist stress formed in the activity. This skill can be easily transferred into daily life, preparing you to face life in a confident way and helping you keep your cool in stressful situations.

With the above in mind, be sure to prioritise your own self-care. The better you take care of yourself; the better you will be able to care for your family.

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