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5 Self-Care Tips for Single Dads

It is about establishing healthy habits, taking inventory of what is causing pain, and keeping you from being the best role model for your children. (2 min 26 sec read)

Dave Chartier
A single co-parenting dad, a freelance writer and former syndicated dad blogger with work published in USA Today, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

If you’re a single dad, you are living in the land of ‘changes’ and ‘challenges’. Changes in schedules, living arrangements, finances, the list goes on. You expect things to settle down at some point but in the meantime, you deal with the ‘challenges’. The challenges of the loneliness, the depression when the kids aren’t around, knowing you won’t feel whole until you see them again. The challenges of keeping things healthy and focused (on the kids) with your co-parent.

At the end of the day you look at that favorite picture of your kids to remind yourself who you are before you hit the pillow, just to do it all over again tomorrow.

You may know deep down ‘staying sane’ is not the right watermark, you may need to raise the bar a bit. Realize kids form important social habits through modeling the adults around them, especially dad. Beyond modeling into adulthood, you influence the type of relationships they form and what kind of parents they become. No pressure, Dad.

Chances are if you’ve made it this far in the article with ‘self-care’ in the title you know this already and are hunting for a fresh perspective. It is very important to feed the different aspects of ‘you’. I’m talking about the mental, physical and emotional you.

  1. Physical self-care – this should be a daily drip; the better you eat, the more water you drink, and the more you exercise, the better you will sleep. Stress levels and blood pressure goes down, along with depression and you look and feel great. It’s a win-win-win scenario.
  2. Emotional self-care – acknowledge your feelings and working through them. Sure that means connecting with friends and family but also consider seeing a professional to help you work through things and provide proper guidance to take you to the next level.
  3. Relational self-care – we’re talking about your social well-being. It’s not unusual for guys to go “Lone Wolf” especially when you go through stuff. Considering reconnecting with old friends. Take inventory of those around you, weed out the toxic ones and re-build your tribe if you need too. This is why our parents (and our grandparents) had things like poker night, and bowling night, right? Figure out what that is for you.
  4. Cognitive self-care – Often ignored, this type of self-care refers to your need to continue learning and growing. Go to school, perhaps get another degree, learn guitar, watch TedTalks, browse some podcasts, learn a new language, feed your mind.
  5. Spiritual self-care – broadly described as your sense of self in relation to the rest of the universe. That means consider a prayer group, take up meditation or go to church.

These five things need to be challenged and ultimately balanced for you to be balanced. It is about establishing healthy habits, taking inventory of what is causing pain, stunting growth and keeping you from being the best person and a healthy role model for your children.