My moods are really up and down. When I am happy, I feel I have more energy so I make the most of it by doing as much as I can like taking the kids swimming or baking cakes and making sure the house is in order. On my low days I tell myself I won’t feel like this forever, and try to do stuff that helps lift my mood. But this can be difficult. So, I tell myself it is OK just to have a day off housework and, as long as me and the kids are OK, everything else can wait.

How do you feel? Content with life? A bit low? Do you feel overwhelmed with anger or grief? How you feel is likely to change from one day to the next or even by the minute. This is natural. It can be to do with how you are as a person, and how you usually view life.

It’s natural to feel a bit under the weather at times. But if you are struggling with how you feel and this is getting in the way of your daily life, it may help to work out what’s going on.This NHS mood assessment aims to help you understand how you’ve been feeling recently.

This Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) wellbeing assessment measures how you are feeling. It gives you a score which you can keep measuring over time to see if it changes.

Some people find that ‘tracking’ their mood using a mood diary can help them to think about how they’re feeling and how to improve their mood over time. There are different mood diaries available online that you could use. One we have come across that might be useful is

It’s best not to get too caught up with what these trackers and assessments tell you. It’s OK to not feel OK. Trying too hard to feel ‘better’ can become stressful. Some people find that ‘overthinking’ their mood only makes it worse.So, try to find out what works best for you and if something doesn’t feel right,move on and try something else.

Mental health charity Mind has loads of tips on managing your everyday life and looking after yourself to help you cope.From physical activity, to getting into nature, to relaxation,there’s something for everyone in Mind’s Tips for everyday living. The Mental Health Foundation is also a great source of podcasts and videos.

Low mood

I love music so my answer is music lol. If my mood is low, I know that listening to music and doing things I like will help. Sometimes it can take a while and I just have to remind myself that things will get better. Music is also helpful when I am grieving, and I can play songs that remind me of the person or sad songs let me cry which makes me feel better. When I am angry or stressed, I exercise with loud music.

Using up that energy makes me feel better. So yeah, music is the answer to everything for me haha.

Everyone feels low or down from time to time. It does not always mean something is wrong. It’s common to feel like this after distressing events or big changes in life. But sometimes you can feel low for no obvious reason.

A low mood usually passes after a couple of days or weeks.There are some easy things you can try and small changes you can make that usually help to improve your mood.

If you’re still feeling down for most of each day, and this lasts for several weeks, you may be depressed. When you’re feeling depressed it can be hard to motivate yourself to do anything. If you feel like this, it’s important to ask for help.

Some tips for low mood:

This NHS website has tips and apps with things to try if you are experiencing low mood. They include:

When to contact your GP

If low mood is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, it’s a good idea to contact your GP.

Useful links


I used to get stressed and angry really easily but now I’m able to say don’t sweat the small stuff and ask myself if it is something worth getting stressed or angry about. If I can’t do anything about it then I try to forget it. Talking about it with a friend usually helps me do this.

When I feel angry, I tend to do my best to make a negative situation into a positive situation like I call someone, or I watch movies to take my mind away from what got me angry.

We all feel angry at times. It’s a natural reaction to hurt and pain, and to whatever’s bugging you, whether it’s the children, an ex-partner or just the washing machine breaking down.

People often think that anger is ‘bad’. It’s not good or bad. It’s just a feeling. And it can give you energy to help you cope.

But if you are constantly angry, irritable and short-tempered with yourself and with others, including your children, then it could be destructive.

If it’s hard for you to control your anger, it might come from feeling stressed and from holding on to other emotions.

Understanding emotions: anger

Emotions rarely exist in isolation. They are linked to other emotions and thoughts. It is useful to look beyond any emotional behaviour (for example angry behaviour like shouting) to find out more about what’s going on for you.

If you can understand more about what exactly is making you angry, you can deal with it differently.

Helping you communicate better with others.

  1. Think about a recent situation when you felt angry. Think about or note down a few main points about it. 
  1. There is usually layer of ‘hurt’ under the anger. In your situation, what could you have felt ‘hurt’ about? 
  1. Beyond hurt, there is often a ‘need’. It could be an emotional or physical need, or sometimes both. What could have been the ‘need’ in your situation? (It could be needing more sleep, understanding, something to eat, to be heard, for example.) 
  1. Beyond hurt and need, we usually have a ‘fear’ or worry. What could have been your fear in this situation? These can be rational and irrational fears. 

Some tips for expressing anger:

  • Go into another room so you won’t frighten your children
  • Hit a cushion or a pillow (or shout into it as long as your children won’t hear you)
  • Talk about it. When thoughts stay in your head, they can overwhelm you
  • Write it down: another good way to get the angry thoughts out of your head
  • Exercise to let off steam. Take a look at ‘your body’ page
  • Use deep breathing, relaxation and mindfulness. Take a look at ‘your mind’ page
  • Eat well because not eating well can make you feel irritable. Take a look at ‘your body’ page
  • Avoid or cut down on alcohol as this can affect your mood and your ability to cope with anger
  • Take a step back. Your anger may be justified but how best can you express it? If you are angry with someone else, wait until you feel calm, think about what you are going to say, and remember to listen to the other person’s point of view

When to see your GP

If you’ve tried these tips,and they aren’t working and you feel overwhelmed,it’s a good idea to see your GP or another professional to find out about help available.

Useful links

Sadness and grief

When I am feeling low or sad, I go out walking near the beach which really helps my moods. When I am grieving, I like to have time on my own to think about that person and try to think about the happy times. When I am stressed, I like to treat myself to a bath bomb and have a relaxing bath. For me, talking to people really helps when I am anxious as I can get reassurance. My anxiety is much better now.

What helps me when I’m sad is crying. After I’ve cried, I feel much better. When I’m grieving, I tend to cry also and keep the good memories and tell myself that the person I lost is in a much better place. And that in time the pain will be less and less. When I’m sad I tend to listen to music and dance my sadness away. Music is my therapy I say.

For lots of single parents, sadness and grief are common:

  • Grief is a natural response to loss
  • There are different kinds of loss such as loss from separation, divorce and bereavement, all of which are common causes of single parenthood
  • Life can be hard, complicated and frightening at times
  • Loss can be painful and overwhelming

When a partner or someone else close to us dies, or we experience some other type of loss such as the end of a relationship or having to move home,we can feel all sorts of different emotions. From shock or anger to disbelief, guilt and sadness. It can be difficult to sleep, eat or think straight. There is no right or wrong way to feel. These are natural reactions to loss.

While coping with loss, whether you expected the loss or not,you may also be sorting out practical arrangements and your finances, and thinking about your children’s needs. These can all be very stressful for someone to deal with on their own.

If you feel anxious a lot of the time you might have trouble sleeping, get headaches, not be able to plan ahead, and have a constant feeling of fear. You can find out more about symptoms of anxiety in this Mental Health Foundation guide. UK charity Mind has useful information and video clips about anxiety and how to cope with it. The Mental Health Foundation has videos and podcasts for wellbeing.

Some tips for grief and sadness:

When to see your GP

If you are worried about yourself, and feel overwhelmed, it may help to speak to your GP and a specialist bereavement organisation such as Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland.

Useful links

How to feel happier

I’m still struggling at times managing to calm myself when it comes to my anxiety. But taking a deep breath and trying to remain calm seems to help at times. Stress? Well sometimes stress gets the best of me and sometimes I win over stress. But thinking always that tomorrow will be a brand-new day gives me a new perspective of positive things to come.

Life can be difficult as a single parent and there may be a lot to feel unhappy about. There are things that you may not be able to do anything about. But we can get into a habit of looking at everything negatively.

There may be some things that we have some control over and a choice about. We may not be able to choose much. But we can choose how we react and respond to whatever’s going on (inside our heads and outside). So, that’s where you may be able to find some purpose and some scope for feeling happier.

If you can take some control over how you look at life, you may feel stronger emotionally and happier. You can actively practise this and ‘re-frame’ your thoughts rather than dwelling on problems and going over and over them in your mind.

If happiness feels like a stretch, maybe you could see if there’s anything you can do to feel more content. This NHS site has some tips which might help. The parents we’re in touch with find the following simple habits can make a big difference, with being kind to yourself being one of the best things you can do.

Take a look at ‘your mind’ page for:

  • Managing stress levels.
  • Getting fresh air and exercise.
  • Building up self-esteem.
  • Being kind to yourself.

Take a look at ‘your body’ page for:

  • Eating well.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Connecting with others.

Useful links