When was the last time you bought flowers for yourself? You can do that and so much more without waiting for a man!

Here’s how to take care of yourself as a single woman

While growing up, you must have often heard the narrative of a woman always needing a man. You have a brother to ‘protect’ you, a father and then a husband to give you a name, and a son to carry on the family line. Yes, such patriarchal beliefs can be problematic. Not because fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons don’t play an important role in our lives – they do. But then, so do mothers, sisters, and daughters. 

Human beings are social animals. We need people around us who care about our well-being and support our growth and happiness. But to assign the exclusive role of protector and provider to men and deem women to be passive nurturers is harmful to both sexes. 

Your first and foremost duty is to yourself when it comes to health, emotional and mental well-being, and inner peace. It’s only when one has a self-reliant and self-respecting foundation that they can care for others. It’s not uncommon to see society teaching women that if they aren’t a wife and mother, they are incomplete and missing out on something central to their existence. 

Marriage and motherhood can be beautiful things, but it’s a very personal choice and should be seen as such instead of as a rigid and inescapable role for women.

Related: With a little planning, any single woman can live alone comfortably

More and more young women these days feel pressured to constantly be in a relationship. Some of them have never had a significant period of time when they are single – it seems unimaginable to them! From tiny things like being pampered on Valentine’s Day to having someone to travel or try new things with, they see a partner as a necessity for happiness in their lives. 

Obviously, that’s not true or healthy. A single woman of any age and at any stage in life, whether single mom, young working woman, or widow, can live a whole, happy, and meaningful life. They just have to be slightly more mindful of taking a little extra care for themselves. 

Let’s look at some things you should be doing for yourself as a single woman:

A. If you’re in your 20s and 30s

Maybe you aren’t in any hurry to get married, or perhaps you don’t want to get hitched ever. Either way, you shouldn’t skimp on building a good life for yourself. Here are some things you should do:

Related: 6 financial moves every woman must take while she is her in 20s.

  • Decide on the kind of life you want to live

This is not a one-time question, it’s something you have to think about thoroughly, over time. What job is right for you? You should look at something you have the skills for, enjoy doing, and pays well so you can sustain yourself financially. Where do you want to live? What are your personal goals, passion projects, hobbies? What aspects of your life do you currently love and what can’t you wait to change? Will you be pursuing higher education? While answering these questions, do be honest with yourself. 

  • Take control of your finances

Money is power. However, earning money isn’t enough – you must also know how to manage it. The two basics of personal finance are: make a budget and build an emergency fund. Don’t be intimidated by such terms; it just means you should utilise your money in the best possible way. A budget is simply a list of your monthly expenses compared against your income. An emergency fund is an amount of money equal to 6–9 months of your living expenses that you have put in a place that’s easily accessible when you need it. It could be a fixed deposit or a high-interest earning savings account. 

Related: How single women can build a financially secure future?

  • Learn to enjoy your company

Your have only one life to live. So go backpacking, try out new restaurants, learn a new skill, indulge in a wacky hobby. Do such things even if you can’t find like-minded friends. To pull this off successfully, you must learn to enjoy and be comfortable in your own company. At first, it may seem awkward because we women are not ordinarily taught to be independent. But you will quickly realise how empowering, liberating, and peaceful it really is. But you don’t need to go way out of your comfort zone to begin with; maybe you could kick things off by watching a movie alone in the theatre. 

B. If you’re a single mom

Parenting is never easy. Having to do everything alone takes it to another level altogether. Single moms, especially those who also work full-time, are boss-ladies – there’s no contesting that. While you rock being superwoman, here are some things you should remember to do:

  • Make time for yourself

Time and energy are two essential resources for you because there’s so much to do! However, amidst all those parent-teacher meetings, work commitments, and bedtime stories, you need some space for yourself. When you take time to look after your needs, wants, and emotions, you allow yourself to re-energise and feel content. This can translate into something as simple as a self-care bedtime routine or going alone on a vacation every year – even if it’s a short one. 

  • Plan financially for your child’s education

Time flies and children grow up fast. The cost of raising them will increase over the years, especially when it comes to their education. To give your children a future of possibilities, you must start planning strategically, right from the beginning. Consider how much money you would need to put them through college, account for inflation, and then look for investment avenues that can help you save the desired amount. Calculate the total education expense against the inflation rate using this child education cost calculator

Related: Your child’s foreign education: can you afford it? 

  • Don’t give up your identity

It’s not uncommon for mothers to be so invested and focused on their children that if you ask them what their hobbies, goals, passions, or interests are, they may be stuck for answers. Being a mother is a lot of work, and it’s an important responsibility. But it’s also essential for you to have your own identity because when your children grow up and start their own lives, you don’t want to brood ‘now what?’. Also, being someone who is passionate about a variety of things will make you a good role model for your children. 

C. If you're widowed

Dealing with the loss of a spouse can be a long and arduous journey as one’s mind heals and finds new purpose. Even if it’s been many years, it won’t be easy. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Plan for your retirement

This is not something you should take lightly. Retirement planning and building a retirement corpus for yourself is important if you wish to live your golden years independently and gracefully. It would be best to consult a financial expert for this because you need your plan to be solid and effective. Use this retirement calculator to know how much do you need to save to lead a comfortable retired life. 

  • Reinvent yourself and break the routine

Whether single or not, as one grows older it’s natural to hesitate to step out of one’s comfort zone and explore something new. But it’s necessary to take that step to spark a childlike joy and enthusiasm for life, and find ways to rediscover yourself. Travelling to a new city or country is one of the best ways to do this. While you explore new cultures and places, interact with new people, and engage in activities that are a change from the routine, you also learn so much about yourself – how your thoughts and emotions work.

  • Learn a new skill (or rediscover an old one)

Think back to when you were younger, and what you enjoyed doing outside of school. Was it painting, reading, or spending time with nature? Reconnect with your old likes and passions and find new ones. Learning a new skill, such as a foreign language, won’t just make you happy; it will also keep your mind active, lower the risk of dementia, and improve your overall mental health. Check these 5 proven ways to make money online

There’s nothing you can’t do for yourself that others can. It only takes some unlearning of societal conditioning and having the desire to take better care of yourself. So go on, take that leap!