Ready for some tried and true advice from moms who know? Check out what real self-care for homeschooling moms can look like, and how you can benefit from it.
Self-care is quite the buzzword these days. Endless Facebook or Instagram ads or influencers insist that we all simply must take time out of our busy lives to focus on ourselves. We must schedule time to refresh and rejuvenate so that we can be our best selves for our families, jobs, communities, but most importantly for ourselves. We should take relaxing bubble baths, get massages, go out for a girls’ night, read a book with a hot drink, or meditate….
I don’t know about your life, but the above suggestions are simply not going to happen in my life. At least, not on a regular enough basis to make a difference in my attitude. You see, the thing about self-care is that it needs to happen every day in order to be effective. Or at least weekly.
Our minds, bodies, and spirits need attention just like our husband, our children, our callings, our work, our house, and our to-do list need our attention. But pop culture seems to focus on the most extravagant methods of self-care, which also happen to be expensive, time-consuming, and impractical for those of us who live in the real world with real financial, child-care, and energy constraints.
What is self-care?
Perhaps you don’t have same angst I apparently do towards the term “self-care” but if you do, if you feel guilty and unfulfilled every time you hear that irritating-fix-all-magic-pill mentioned, you’re in good company. I’m here today to share what I do to care for myself, in real, attainable ways that truly do make me a better person.
All these methods are FREE, so no budget constraints or over-spending to stress about, and easily accomplished at HOME. To be clear, often the best way to care for a homeschooling mom is to get her out of the house for a while. But when you happen to be the homeschooling mom, finding childcare, dressing all the children in socially accepted attire, and making it out the door on time can actually add to your stress levels. Believe me, I get it!
Below I’m including a list of what I do for self-care. I hope this list does one of two things (or both, if I’m lucky.)
- I hope you are inspired to do what I do, or your own simple method of self care. Or…
- I hope you are relieved that someone else on the internet also lives in the real world and can’t afford weekly massages 😉
My methods of self-care for homeschooling moms:
I developed the habit of gratitude journaling in 2019 and nothing helps soothe me or bring miracles into view better than a journal filled with gratitude. It’s simple, force yourself to write 3 to 10 things you are thankful for every. single. day. On the rough days, flip open your notebook and read for a bit. See the many ways the Lord has blessed you. See the miracles within your own life story.
To really super charge this practice, in addition to your 3-10 gratitude entries, jot down your top three needs for the day. Whatever is bothering you most or you feel needs the most divine assistance. Then pray specifically for those things. Read your scriptures with those in mind. As you continue this practice over weeks and weeks of entries, you’ll look back to see that your greatest needs or stressors start to turn up on your gratitude list. Little mercies the Lord will show you in your most pressing struggles.
Intimacy with My Husband
Now let’s get really real! The one thing I crave absolutely more than anything else after a long day with my kids, is connection with another adult. What better way to achieve that connection than with my most trusted partner, best friend, and eternal companion? Intimacy encompasses a wide variety of activities which are all well-suited to caring for a person. Whether it’s talking about my day, talking about nothing important, snuggling, laughing together, or being sexually intimate, spending time with my husband refreshes me.
The best advice I have for making this intimate time a daily occurrence is to install a lock on your bedroom door. Not that you always have to be having sex behind locked doors (though that’s not a bad idea…) but it keeps the kids at bay and gives you and your spouse time together, to do whatever you want!
Long walks by myself
I love being outside. Taking a long, leisurely stroll allows my mind time to wander and sort through the many, many things on my plate. To be completely honest, long walks are hard to achieve with pre-school and toddlers about the house. Lately, I’ve been going for a short walk, around my yard, every day during naptime/quiet-time. It’s not exactly what I love, but it still boosts my mood and sifts my thoughts. I feel better after twenty minutes and that’s what counts.
Try going for a short walk every day for a month. See if you look forward to the experience and feel energized afterwards. Get up 15 minutes earlier. Go out while the kids nap. Walk around the yard while the kids play. Turn on a show for your kids and walk while they watch (I totally support the use of screens in this manner.)
Reading Purely for Pleasure
Absolutely no self-help books during this reading time! I don’t love self-help books anyhow, but especially not during the precious 5-15 minutes I can sneak throughout the day. Choosing to read something purely delightful when I have a few minutes to myself, refreshes my entire perspective on life and this big, beautiful world.
Ordering an Area of my Life
Folding a basket of laundry. Making my bed. Preparing vegetables for dinner. These simple tasks organize my space which helps order my mind which helps establish peace in my soul. Plus, I get inordinate amounts of satisfaction from checking something off my to-do list; it feels wonderful to visually witness the house tidying up and the list shrinking.
Call someone, I call my mom, a sister, or my husband depending on the situation, and vent. Totally all out word-dump and then stop. Give yourself 10 good minutes to get it all out then stop and move on with your day. Often helps to preface the conversation with “I just need to vent!!!” Can also accomplish this with a smooth pen and an open journal. Pour it all out, against the lines if it makes you feel better.
Take a breath and move on. What’s the difference between venting and complaining?
I am amazed at the improvement in my attitude, personal-speech (the thoughts I think and speak to myself), and ability to cope with all stress when I do something to care for myself every day. Actually, I try to do many of these things every day, as preventative self-care.
In order to be our best selves, we have to get to know ourselves and discover what things really make us joyful, fulfilled, and more emotionally balanced. Our emotional self-regulation is our responsibility! Just as we teach our children to use their words, delay gratification, take the perspective of others, and accurately label their emotions, we must take our own emotional temperatures and find ways that are within our means to regulate ourselves.
My list isn’t perfect, and certainly doesn’t encompass every method of self-care. My list does work for me, my family, and my means. I hope in reading this you’ve been able to see yourself more clearly and feel inspired to take care of your own needs in simple, yet very effective ways.
PS – Note from Marcy
As you noticed above, this blog post was written by Rachel who is another homeschooling mom like myself. She is doing a fantastic job providing great articles to help with all of our mayhem! When I first read this article, Real Self-Care for Homeschooling Moms, I didn’t really connect with it (I don’t have any idea why), but yet I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept contemplating about what I do to take care of myself and realized I need to do more of these little, yet simple things.
Like Rachel said above, “I hope you are inspired to do what I do, or your own simple method of self-care.” Even though I didn’t connect to it at first, when I read it a second time a couple days later, I loved it! It made me think in a different light that has inspired me to be intentional at filling up my bucket everyday. I hope you do too!