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Mending a Broken Heart When You Are a Single Parent

by K. Nola Mokeyane

Single parenting is taxing enough without the added complexity of dealing with a broken heart. Single parents carry the load of two parents -- which is no easy feat -- but will have a much more difficult parenting experience if they aren't psychologically and emotionally well. Licensed, clinical psychologist Dr. Helen Zieliniski Landon, Ph.D. acknowledges that it's normal to experience sadness and mourning after a breakup. As you go through the healing process, it's important to take care of yourself emotionally so you can focus on your main priority -- providing love and nurturing to your child.

Emotional Self-Care

Single parents attempting to mend a broken heart -- whether it's due to divorce or the end of a committed relationship -- must take the necessary steps to care for their emotional scars before they can be emotionally available for their children. Dr. Helen lists numerous ways that single parents affected by a broken heart can heal themselves, which include making a clean break from the relationship -- meaning no contact with your ex because this only prolongs the healing process, similar to picking an old scab -- and finding your own hobbies to enjoy. Be sure to stay away from using drugs and alcohol to cope with your breakup, too, as mind-altering substances only numb your emotions without letting you constructively address them.

Support System

Health and medical writer Madeline Vann, M.P.H. with "Everyday Health" reports that having a strong support system helps when coping with grief, reduces stress and gives your immune system a boost, which helps you maintain optimal health. Dr. Helen notes that it's important to spend time with friends -- and rekindle old relationships -- in order to socialize with others, and talk to a trusted confidant whenever you start thinking about your ex, or need to express your emotions. If you need some time alone to sort things out, ask family and friends to keep your child for a few hours while you take a walk to clear your head.

Quality Time With Your Child

Spending quality time with your child will help you refocus your priorities, and remind you of the joys and wonders already present in your life. Health professionals at Help Guide, a nonprofit, online mental health resource, encourage people of all ages to continue to engage in play, as it help to reduce stress, fosters creativity and strengthens problem-solving abilities. Help Guide experts also note that play between you and your child helps you build a stronger bond through sharing joy, laughter and building trust. Take a younger preschooler or school-aged child to the local park, or play a game of basketball or soccer with your older child right in your backyard or neighborhood.

Time Management and Organization

Staying organized and effectively managing time as a single parent is challenging enough without the added difficulty of dealing with a broken heart; however, it's important to keep your life organized in order to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Staying organized gives you a few less things to worry about while you sort out the emotional hurts from your breakup. Health professionals with Mayo Clinic suggest that people in need of effective time management -- including single parents -- plan their days, prioritize tasks and limit unwanted distractions to get organized and use time wisely. Use a calendar to help you keep track of appointments and involve your child -- school-aged or older -- in household chores in order to alleviate some of your task load.

About the Author

K. Nola Mokeyane has written professionally since 2006, and has contributed to various online publications, including "Global Post" and Modern Mom. Nola enjoys writing about health, wellness and spirituality. She is a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club.

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