You know how when you fly on an airplane, you are instructed to, in case of emergency, take care of your own oxygen mask before helping your child? This is self-care at it’s most basic. We cannot help others if we are not breathing.
Self-care while homeschooling is essential as well. This week I once again learned the importance of taking care of myself first. I cannot turn around and take care of my children and the other people and things calling for attention if I am not well.
I’ve been feeling quite stressed in the demands before me. My son is ahead of his age, so I am not so anxious about his progress. But add daily homeschooling to church calling responsibilities, basic housework, and community involvement, and I’ve been feeling barely afloat. The other day, I felt almost sick to my stomach. Was it because I was too busy to eat at home and ate that nasty McDonald’s food? Or was I making myself sick by worrying?
I did a few things this week that made me realize that I have to remember to balance my duties with taking care of myself. Here are some important ideas that I need to remember that may help you too. Taking care of yourself first before homeschooling is as important as getting my own oxygen mask on before helping the kids!
- Take time for myself. I got myself a pedicure. It was the second time in about four years. It was so nice to just enjoy a mini-pampering for once. I realized that some type of self-pampering like that is needed. I won’t be getting a pedicure all the time, but taking a warm bath, a manicure, maybe even an extra long shower every now and then helps me remember that I deserve to feel physically well.
- Learn to say no; decide on priorities. The other day, I tried to squeeze school in before a meeting that I felt obliged to attend. I did not urgently need to go to it, but I did because I felt I needed to be responsible. The rest of the day I was stressed and anxious because of my rushed morning. I need to decide which things are most important (school or the meeting?) and act accordingly. I cannot do it all. Sometimes other things will take priority over school, and other times vice versa.
- Exercise. This goes along with both pampering myself and learning to make priorities. Although I hate planning and actually going to do exercise, once I get there I enjoy it. It takes a few of the stress cramps out of my back as I let myself move more than I would otherwise. I’m finding exercise is a necessary part of taking care of myself.
- Expect less than perfection on the lower priorities. When it comes to cleaning my home, for example, or making it to all the meetings I may feel I should attend, I must accept that I will not do it all. I will not have the perfect house or prepare the perfect dinner for my family. But we will homeschool together and grow in love a little more each day. That is the correct priority for now.
- Talk it out. When there is something frustrating about homeschooling, life, parenting, or anything, find a friend to talk to, whether it is a spouse, dear friend, or a mere acquaintance. Facebook groups or homeschooling forums provide a setting where you can get ideas from people who may have faced a similar situation.
- Read my scriptures and pray. Ever since my youngest has been born, it has been incredibly hard to get those personal minutes of scripture study in. As I’ve rededicated myself to finding the time every day to read some verses or chapters (even if just before I fall asleep), I’ve found it provides a sense of peace that gives me more energy for the tasks before me. My grandmother always closed her letters with “Keep prayed up.” We need that no matter our current life situation.
What do you do you take care of yourself emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually while homeschooling? Are you keeping “prayed up”?