10 Ways to Care for a Homeschool Mom’s Mental Health
Being a homeschool mom is not an easy job, and it can place an enormous toll on a homeschool mom’s mental health. Sometimes, this burden can feel so heavy that it begins to cause problems. You may become excessively tired, cranky, or sad. You may have difficulty concentrating and lose your effectiveness as a teacher. Or, your lethargy may leave you not wanting to teach at all. If you want to avoid these ramifications, be proactive in taking care of your mental health. Here are 10 ways you can care for your mental health as a homeschool mom.
- Acknowledge your value. God loves you and has called you to do a mighty task. You are called according to His purposes, and He will equip you to do the job. Know that your job is not easy, but have confidence that you will be able to do it even when it feels difficult.
- Begin each day with prayer. Whether you choose to spend just a few minutes or several, start your day with the Lord. Give thanks for the blessing of being able to homeschool, and ask for strength and perseverance for the day ahead. If you enjoy writing, keep a prayer journal.
- Set goals. Achieving goals, even seemingly miniscule ones, can help boost your mood and propel you forward. Set a small goal each day and celebrate when you achieve it. If you reach the end of the day and haven’t achieved your goal, reflect on something that you accomplished that day. Something as simple as a child completing an assignment without complaining can be a cause for celebration.
- Get enough sleep. In order to function at full capacity, your body needs a good night’s sleep. Establish a routine that allows you to get to bed at about the same time each night. This means shutting off the electronics at a reasonable hour. It can be tempting to scroll the internet, but this behavior stimulates the brain. Calming activities are what you need before bed. If you have young children, sleep can be challenging. Know that it will get better with time.
- Steal moments for yourself. Although you will likely be with your children most, if not all, of the day, it is still possible to steal moments for yourself if you seek them out. Just a few minutes of deep breathing can improve your stress level. Take your kids outside to play. You can keep a watchful eye on them while you take a mental break. If that’s not calming, choose another activity that your child can do without you. It will be tempting to busy yourself with chores during these times, but I encourage you to choose to spend these moments on something you enjoy. If that’s doing laundry, fine. If not, maybe choose to sip a cup of tea, read a devotional, or listen to some uplifting music.
- Get away. Sometimes the best way to refresh is to spend some time away. Swap child care with another family, or find an activity that allows you to drop off your children for a little while. Not only will you get time for yourself, your children will get some social time with other children.
- Eat healthy foods. To feel your best, your body needs proper fuel. Make sure you are consuming healthy foods and staying hydrated. Try to avoid foods that will make you feel sluggish. Avoid excess caffeine which can make you feel agitated.
- Exercise your mind and body. Regular exercise can reduce stress levels. Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. This can be as simple as playing a movement game with your children or a more formal exercise regimen. Exercising your brain can also be helpful in boosting your mood. Puzzles, books, and games are great ways to break up the day.
- Walk away from negativity. Surround yourself with people and activities that are positive. If you join a group and find that it is mentally draining, don’t be afraid to walk away. If an activity proves to be too much for you or your family, choose something else. Everyone is different. What feels right for one mom may not feel right for another. If it feels wrong, find something that feels right.
- Do something fun. Choose to do something fun as much as possible. This may mean sharing quirky jokes with your children, watching silly movies together, or dancing around the kitchen. Keep your mood light by looking for opportunities to relax and enjoy yourself.
These are just some of the ways you can care for your mental health as a homeschool mom. Your best defense against the stress of the job is a strong offense. Protect your mental health by being proactive. Take steps to care for yourself today, and enjoy a better homeschool day tomorrow.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer from Massachusetts. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. You can learn more about Heidi and her recently published book, Looking Back and Running Forward: Discovering what it means to be broken, at heidikinney.com.