If you haven’t seen the rest of my posts in this How To Homeschool: Before You Start Series check them out!
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Being a homeschool family has many joys, but it also has its challenges. One of those challenges is maintaining wellness. As homeschooling parents, we start homeschooling for many reasons, but our main goal is always to provide our children with opportunities that will equip them to be successful in life. But that harmless goal can quickly lead to an obsession that will suck the life out of you, your marriage, and your family. The obsession may manifest itself as a preoccupation with curriculum, agonizing over your child’s lack of comprehension, or feeling like a failure because your children are not following directions and giving you a hard time. You may be hiding in your bathroom because your house is a mess and the kids have found all of the food, devoured it, and are still looking for more even though dinner time is four hours away and bedtime is still farther. The many difficulties of having your work constantly at home are enough to drive you to the edge of the world. You know something is amiss, you’re not feeling ‘well’, but you continue on, hoping something will just click so that you can feel ‘well’ again.
Yet wellness is a vague term. You understand that you should look after your wellbeing. But you often don’t know what that entails, nor where to start. And it is hard to focus on your own wellness when you have your family’s needs to meet. Wellness is about your emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Most of the time we tackle these things one at a time and think we are doing well. In actuality we have only strengthened a part of who we are, creating an imbalance within. We need to consistently strengthen each part of ourselves in order to be the best homeschool parent we can be.
I have by no means arrived in this area. Sometimes I neglect my own needs because I feel like I have to put out this fire and put out that fire which results in my being too tired to do anything for myself. For weeks I operate in survival mode constantly, with the effort exerted not for my own survival, but for my family’s. The problem in doing so is that I am harming myself and jeopardizing my family in the process, the very ones I am sacrificing for. So if you are just starting out, take these suggestions and utilize them so that you can start with wellness and maintain it. For those of you whose stories unfortunately sounds a lot like mine, I hope that these principles will help you move closer to wellness as it is helping me.
Take Time For Yourself
First, we need to take time for ourselves and do some of the things we like to do. If it’s dancing, take a dance class or practice with YouTube videos. Knitting and crochet is very relaxing because of its rhythmic, predictive nature. Or sketching. My favorites are knitting, coloring, singing, and dancing. Maybe your favorite pastime is watching movies or skating, maybe even cooking (GOD bless you!). If so, make the time to do it!
Food pyramid or food plate? Really it doesn’t matter much, as long as you listen to your body. Truly, your entire body will tell you how well it can assimilate the food. Besides allergies, most people have intolerances to some foods, they just haven’t paid attention. For example, for one person eggs can make them sleepy, for another person ingesting pork can result in a headache. You’ll never know until you start listening. A really great resource that helped me was Dealing with Food Allergies: A Practical Guide to Detecting Culprit Foods and Eating a Healthy, Enjoyable Diet (Affiliate Link)
Like the elements, everyone has their own melting point. To avoid yours take time to discover what your optimum sleeping hours are. Even play around with the time you fall asleep. And how long before bed will you look at electronic devices. Even moving the electronics away from your head can do wonders! We must get the right amount and type of sleep to live in wellness. For example, I really need at least 8 hours, though I’m much better with 8.5. Anything less is asking for a mommy meltdown. You know the kind where you go in your room, shut the door and scream and/or cry into your pillow. Yeah…that one.
Spend Time With Your Spouse
Remember that wonderful person you just couldn’t wait to spend the rest of your life with? The one next to you staring at the screen. They brought a pep to your step back then, and they still can, when the time is spent to reconnect, without the children.
Monthly Night out with the Ladies or Gents
Its good to have adult talk with those who also live the homeschool life. Because let’s face it, the men folk don’t understand us and we don’t understand them.
Time with GOD
This is the most important. When you spend time with GOD, all of Who HE is flows into and through you. You experience HIS love and forgiveness, then you are able to freely give love and forgive. But it is not a one time deal. Because we are finite and can only hold so much, by nature of this life we quickly empty out and we must visit with HIM again.
Again, I am definitely not perfect in maintaining wellness, but I am a work in progress. I mess up at times, but with this plan I know how to get back on the right track. And we can keep each other accountable, right? What is your favorite ways to maintain your wellness? Let me know in the comments below!