How to get the most out of a long weekend as a single parent is not a simple task. As a single parent, very often long weekends can be stressful – either because you’re having to look after your children on your own and keep them entertained, or in my case, now that my children are older, you can find yourself unexpectedly at a bit of loose end because they all have their own plans. My firstborn has just announced he’s off to Berlin for the weekend with some friends so basically not around at all. My secondborn is writing her dissertation and stressed, so apart from the occasional appearance for some shared sustenance, I won’t see much of her. My lastborn will be in and out like a yoyo no doubt. The expression “better out than in” is one that he’s taken totally the wrong way. It’s meant to be about vomiting, not about a lack of physical presence in the house.
So what to do with yourself if you are on your own this May bank holiday? As they say, it’s great having lots of people to do lots of things with, but when you have no one to do nothing with, it’s not always easy and so it requires some strength in order to get into a different mindset.
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim”
Easier said than done sometimes, but below are some top tips to help you get the most out of your long weekend without drinking your body weight in alcohol and texting all your ex’s because you’re bored. Try to feel positive about being single and embrace the experience. How many people get to be this selfish in later life? Try not to focus on regret but don’t feel bad about allowing yourself negative emotions, just don’t dwell. Try and look forward, think about where you want to be in a few years time and make some plans to help you on your journey. This part isn’t easy and I can’t say I’ve been successful at doing this because when you have children to look after, they take priority and there is not much time left for you.
- If you want company, be proactive and invite people over to play or make some going out plans.
- If you have young kids, definitely try and hook up with friends in a similar situation. So much easier and your kids are easily entertained that way.
- If you want to relax then try and get your head around enjoying your own company. Even though I’ve got the BIGGEST book to read by Tuesday I don’t really like the thought of too much “me” time. I don’t really want to lock myself away and do that, it’s boring, but not if I simply try and put a different spin on the matter. How many people get to enjoy reading an entire book in a day?
- Avoid doing things you don’t want to do. Even if your house is a tip. Like mine. Unless you’re a weirdo and love cleaning, then try and get out and ignore the chaos. Or come over to my house and clean to your hearts content?
- Focus on your general wellbeing. Only you can take control of this. It’s easy to decide that drinking and/or smoking too much is acceptable given the circumstances because you’re in the midst of a trauma, but suddenly you’ll find it’s years down the line and has not really added much value to your life. In fact it’s taken value away.
- Get some exercise – we all know how exercise helps memory and your general emotional wellbeing, so find something to do that will help, even if it’s a walk in your local park. Get your head around a walk by yourself. It can be uplifting, not sad.
- Think about taking up a new hobby – make a list of things you still want to learn and do and then make some plans to get them started. They don’t have to be complicated – I’m thinking about making “eating out” my new hobby – it’s one of the things I love doing the most so why not turn it into a hobby and doesn’t have to be too expensive – look for small, cheap restaurants in different parts of town to try out.
- Do you want to find a new partner? If so why? It should be for all the right reasons rather than simply because you don’t want to be on your own. Unless you are lucky enough to have lots of single friends, then you need to make a plan and that may well involve signing up with an online dating website. Good luck with that – I found it made me depressed so I’ve given up, for now.
- Start writing that book you’ve got in your head.
- Go to the cinema. Again, not the worst thing you can do on your own. Or call me – I’ll come with you!
Please don’t be miserable, life is too short for that!