I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.
Homeschooling (or just being a mom!) can be hard on your health. You know it and I know it. If you think there’s no time for self-care until your kids are out of the house, you are in trouble! If you’re a single or married homeschool mom, here are 6 simple ways to protect your health.
Self-care is important for anybody responsible for others. After all, how many times on an airplane have you heard to put your mask on before putting on someone else’s?!
In the same way, you should protect your health along with taking care of everyone else, instead of always putting yourself last.
And if you’re still resisting, think of self-care as being good modeling for your kids! You want THEM to have good health habits, don’t you?
Does this sound like you?
You’re tired most of the time. Your kids and your husband or your job always seem to come first.
You look around and see all the things that need to be done if you just had a little more time. A little more energy.
You’d like to be spending more quality time with your husband if you weren’t ready to drop once the kids were in bed.
You feel stretched like a rubber band nearing its breaking point.
Homeschool moms, in particular, don’t pay much attention to their health
Anybody who knows me well knows I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. In fact, once I sucked down an entire cup of coffee made with SALTWATER and didn’t even notice until I got to the second cup.
I used to stay up late getting school lessons ready and then get up early, hours before my kids, just to be awake and coherent enough to be the parent.
Now, most moms with babies are in not-enough-sleep mode for perhaps a few months at a time, or longer. But moms of homeschoolers may live in this state for decades!
There is ALWAYS more to do than is humanly possible. And we have pretty high standards when it comes to our kids’ education, don’t we? Standards that we generally feel we aren’t meeting, which adds even more stress.
Stop taking care of everyone without taking care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be as effective taking care of everyone else.
And if you still aren’t buying it, let me re-frame this for you: don’t you want to teach your kids what a balanced, healthy lifestyle looks like? Of course, you do.
Six simple ways to protect your health while homeschooling
Protect your health by getting more sleep.
Now I know if you have a baby, this is going to look different for you. This is an unbelievably difficult season when it comes to getting enough sleep!
When you can get that 7-8 hours, do so – even if you don’t have all your lessons together. Instead of waiting until the night before, plan at least a week of school at a time, on the weekend when your husband (or a sister homeschooler) can take your kids for a few hours.
If you can’t get enough sleep at night, work on taking a nap when the kids are taking theirs or when an older child can supervise. It’s tempting when the kids are sleeping to do something productive or fun instead. But first, get enough sleep.
Protect your health by getting moving.
Sitting is the new smoking. If your kids are NOT the infant/toddler stage, you may need to work at getting up and moving more. Ideally, hit the gym, jog, or go for a long walk.
If you need to stay home and supervise, put on some dance music (maybe a little heavy on the base) and DANCE with your kids or clean the house as fast as you can, with a few extra trips up and down the stairs if you have them. If you make a point of moving almost daily to the point of sweating, even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing, I promise you will be happily surprised at the new spring in your step.
Protect your health by getting outside.
If you can, get outside for a walk by yourself – God’s creation is unbelievably relaxing, even healing. If you need to bring the kids, take a nature walk. Stop and sketch what you see around your yard or a local park. Just eating your peanut-butter-and-jelly on a blanket in the backyard is a pleasant break from being inside all day.
In fact, you can discuss the Civil War, listen to narrations, or do a lot of other schoolish things outside instead of inside! Varying your routine to add more time outdoors is refreshing and healthy for everyone.
Protect your health by getting smart about your eating and drinking.
You look for sugar and carbs for quick energy when you’re run-down, but all they’re good for is a blood sugar spike. And then it’s back to exhausted-as-usual. Or more-exhausted-than-usual. If you drink more water and eat more fresh vegetables, less refined sugar and carbs, less processed red meat and more chicken and fish, you will FEEL BETTER.
I know veggies are a pain to cut up, so do it in batches. Cook a big pot of veggie soup or chili a couple of times a week so you have some left-overs. Make meals and snacks healthy and trade regular AND diet soda for water. It can be sparkling water. Or my fav, non-artificial Zevia.
You’ll be doing yourself and your kids a favor, you’ll think with more clarity and be lighter to boot!
Protect your health by getting consistent about your quiet times.
How does Bible time help your physical health, you ask? Not only does regular Bible and prayer time help guide you as you guide your kids, but it also helps give you a healthy perspective on life.
It eases your stress. It helps you get a glimpse of the big picture, rather than worrying about the less-important details homeschool moms tend to focus on. What’s the opposite of worry? Worship. It works every time.
Protect your health by getting time by yourself.
This is the hardest one of all to achieve, but mom you are so worth it. Pay a babysitter, enlist your husband’s help or trade child-watching time with another homeschool mom and get some time away.
A biweekly mom’s night out with friends or even drinking coffee and reading at a Barnes and Noble by yourself is invigorating and restorative. If you have the means for an occasional pedicure, massage or even a weekend with girlfriends, DO IT.
I know you’ve heard it all before. But it takes determination to actually do it. Put these six simple steps into practice regularly. You’ll be amazed at the difference they make!
Tell me which one you would like to do first and what change you are hoping for in the comments!