I recently had an interesting conversation with one of my close friends. We were talking about women- led households and how in our modern society, typically, women are no longer reliant on marriage and are completely independent. It is not uncommon by any means. Talking more about it, we both noticed that we respectively know more women who are the head of their households than women who are not.
Including ourselves, we know countless women, female-identifying and non-binary people who have made the choice to live alone or co-habitate with fellow women. Instead of following more traditional household roles, they are doing it all on their own. Many of them are self-employed or single mothers, much like myself. I know single mothers who have made the choice to have a child on their own by opting for a sperm donor. Others have full-time jobs with a creative side hustle on the go; some also work in the non-profit world, making our city a better place to live through social programs, the arts and civic work.
One common thread between all of these people is the community of support they have. Setting up various lines of support for yourself is incredibly important for your overall well-being—whether you are on your own or not. The old phrase “It takes a village…” isn’t just for people raising children; it is for all of us. We all need many different kinds of people to help make our lives complete, to feel fully supported and to make sure our needs are covered. Whether it be a psychologist, a parent or a general practice doctor—by setting up and fostering these webs of support—we know that when there is a crisis, we’ll be able to handle it.
One line of support that I have found endlessly helpful is through my Alberta Blue Cross health benefits. Access to therapy and counseling services means that I can make mental health maintenance a priority for myself. As a self-employed person, having an individual health plan through Alberta Blue Cross has made a world of difference and has helped me to afford a variety of services that would normally be quite costly.
I believe that mental health should be at the top of everyone’s list for self-care. When I was in my early twenties, I tried going to counselling but quickly gave up on it because I thought I didn’t need it after a couple sessions. Turns out, doesn’t matter how big or small your problems are, it is extremely beneficial to talk to someone unbiased who can help you work through whatever you are going through. When I signed up for an Alberta Blue Cross individual health plan again (I’ve had Alberta Blue Cross twice now in the past seven years of being self-employed and the reassurance it gives me for health and wellness is so worth the monthly payment), I knew I wanted to take advantage of the maximums to see a psychologist and I haven’t looked back. It is just so helpful to talk to someone outside of your immediate circle to keep things in check and work on yourself.
And it isn’t just psychologists that you can access through your plan, there are a range of professional practitioners you can utilize in your life to assist with your health and wellness. Massage therapy, acupuncturists, homeopaths, naturopaths and osteopaths are all covered under their Blue Choice and Blue Assured plans—meaning you can afford other ways of finding balance in your personal life.
Beyond what they offer through their plans, you can also search their website for direct-bill providers so you don’t have to pay out of pocket when seeking medical help. Once you are a plan member, you can access their Balance program, which is a rewards program to help you maintain and improve your health and wellness through points and prizes. If you need incentives to help you on your journey, this is a great bonus through Alberta Blue Cross.
Professionally, I believe it is important to always be seeking out higher learning opportunities. This can be found through formal educational institutions or through smaller training events or evening networking opportunities. A really valuable relationship you can introduce into your life is in the form of mentor or mentee or both. In years past when I was first starting out in my career, I was really grateful to have the support of several mentors who helped me see my path a little clearer. It is equally important to give back and mentor others. It doesn’t have to be formal mentorship—I find that there are always people seeking out a bit of knowledge or need a push in the right direction. Being a mentor is so valuable.
Last but of course not least, cultivating your friendships and relationships with family members is key. As a single mother, it is very important to me to have my family very present in my son’s life. Having that support and knowing they are in my corner gives me a lot of inner strength. The same goes for the family you choose—your friendships. I’m really lucky to live in a building that is inherently community-minded. One of my oldest friends lives below me and I have made new amazing friendships with other single women in the building—sometimes it feels like the plot of sitcom! Having a few close friendships where I know that I can call them for anything I need definitely lifts a weight off my shoulders.
As someone who likes to believe I can *do it all* on my own, I’ve really learned a lot about asking for help, building my community and giving back over the past three years of single motherhood. It really does take a village to make a person complete and there is absolutely no shame in that.
This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands and organizations that keep this blog full of new content.