Welcome to The Homeschool C.U.R.E. series!
The Homeschool C.U.R.E. is for anyone looking to start a healthy homeschooling journey—or heal the journey they’re currently on. If either one of these is your goal, you’re in the right place!
This week, we are discussing self-care, one of the C.U.R.E strategies that help you approach your homeschool journey with confidence and purpose. My self-care motto?
Remember, self-care is giving your family the best of you, not what’s left of you.
A Quick Backstory
Of course, I can’t just jump into the tips, I have to set the premise. So here goes.
I’m often told by other moms, especially homeschool moms, that I always look so put together. There was a time when that statement sent me into self-deprecating mode immediately. However, in this season of my life, I’m learning to accept compliments.
The truth is; when you see me in these streets, I’m going to look put-together ninety-percent of the time. Here’s another truth; when you see me in my home, you better believe I’m lounging in my bathrobe with slippers on my feet and a coffee mug in my hand.
There are many variables that play into the physical manifestation of my self-care. Yes, I exercise regularly. Yes, I watch what I eat. Yes, I make time for luxury. But what if I told you those things were at the very bottom of my priority list when it comes to self-care? What’s at the top of the list? Let’s find out!
The Root of Self-Care
When it comes to self-care, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For some, it might be soaking in a luxurious bubble bath followed by a full body massage. For others, it might be taking care of that long-overdue pedicure or taking a much-needed girl’s trip.
While those luxuries are important, there’s more to self-care than taking care of one’s physical needs. Many women forget the mental and spiritual part of self-care. I like to call them the root of self-care. Why? Because when we take care of the mind and spirit, everything else falls into place.
We’ve all heard the saying; we make time for what’s important to us. The question is, why don’t we consider ourselves important enough to make time for? We wake up and instantly get into mom mode. The rush of the day leaves very little time for even a quick bathroom break, let alone time to meditate and self-reflect.
Perhaps you’re at a season in your life when bubble baths, pedicures, and girl’s trips are off the radar. New mom. Big family changes. Unexpected life changes. We’ve all had those seasons. What I’ve found helpful during those hectic seasons is taking just a few minutes in the morning to reflect before I get out of bed.
Did you know the way you spend your first fifteen minutes upon waking sets the tone for the day? Yep, just fifteen minutes can change the trajectory of your life. That’s powerful! Let’s take advantage of the “First Fifteen” by setting the timer and tackling at least one of the following exercises to develop and strengthen those self-care roots. These exercises are a collection of tried and true methods that I’ve practiced over the past few years of my homeschooling journey. I hope they help you as much as they helped me.
8 Self-Care Tips You Actually Have Time For
1. Reflect On Your Purpose
Take a few minutes in the morning to reflect on your purpose.
Knowing your purpose is directly linked to knowing who you are. When you know who you are and what you’re doing here, you increase your sense of self-worth and wellbeing. You walk differently. Talk differently. You even approach this whole homeschool thing differently.
If no one has ever told you this before, there’s purpose in being a homeschool mom. A reason you felt compelled to sign your declaration of intent and home educate your children. That reason is bigger than you. I know you can’t see it yet, but you will.
Homeschooling is a ministry. Yes, I said “ministry.” In whatever we do, whether it’s working a corporate job or educating our children, our primary focus should be to glorify God, love others, and spread the good news wherever we are. There are people in your homeschool community only you can reach, only you can inspire. Perhaps there are even people only your children can inspire. Take all of this into consideration each morning and watch your attitude transform.
2. Arm Yourself
Being a homeschool mom is not for the faint of heart. You can’t be ready to quit at the first sign of adversity. If it’s truly a calling, then—as with all callings—you can expect to face challenges. Challenges aren’t meant to break you, but to edify, build character, and increase faith. Therefore, expect:
- The desire to quit.
- Feeling like it’s not worth the trouble.
When these things happen, it can be tough. But remember, we aren’t operating in our own strength, but God’s. When we expect challenges, we eliminate making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.
Therefore, take some time in the morning to arm yourself. Just as you would ensure adequate protection if you knew a thief was coming to break into your home. You’ve got to be proactive about protecting the confidence and peace of mind the enemy wants to steal from you. To uphold the faith that you’ve got this, regardless of the challenges that come your way.
Below are some great scriptures to read and meditate on first thing in the morning to arm yourself for a successful homeschool day.
3. Lighten Your Load
What’s weighing you down? Writing it out and establishing solutions to lighten that load is a great way to set the tone for the day.
Do you need a tutor? A coach? Resources? A cleaning crew? A babysitter? A community? Tackle that burden first thing in the morning and free yourself.
When I first started homeschooling, I soon realized that I wasn’t passionate about certain subjects. I decided to outsource them by enrolling my boys into classes and joining a cooperative. My load felt so much lighter afterward.
4. Make a Difference
Some of the happiest moms I know are those who serve others. Ever hear the adage; “the quickest way to get over your own problems is to help someone else with theirs?” Research shows making a positive difference in the lives of others increases our sense of self-worth and combats anxiety and depression.
Each morning, think of ways you can give back. This can help take the focus off the daunting tasks that lay ahead of you. Write a list of things you’re passionate about and see if your local community supports any of those causes. You can even get your entire family involved and start a cause of your own.
5. Count Your Wins
Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. The first 15 minutes of your day is a good place to start. I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.
Consider this verse:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Let’s emphasize, “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures and act accordingly. You can’t be doing it all wrong. There must be something you’re excellent at and is deserving of praise. Write your list of wins, keep them by your nightstand, and revisit them often!
6. Monitor Your Self-Talk
Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others—including our own children!
I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself and to take action. Here’s an exercise that helped me. You can do this first thing in the morning:
- Fold a piece of paper in half.
- On one side write the lies you tell yourself.
- On the other side write the truth.
It’s a simple yet effective way to bring your negative self-talk into awareness so that you can counter it with a positive dialogue that’s more reflective of the truth.
7. Establish Boundaries
Sometimes self-care means saying no. Homeschool moms are especially prone to people overstepping boundaries. Whether it’s your mother-in-law who wants to take the kids away from their schoolwork. A friend who thinks you should have plenty of time to babysit since you’re “home all day.” Or that church member that pressures you to over-volunteer because they think you have more time than you actually do. Whatever the case, setting boundaries is a must for your mental health. To get started, take a few minutes in the morning to write a list of things you need to say no to. Then say, no!
8. Appreciate Your Season
I can say this, and still, most of us will not feel the truth of this statement until after the fact—savor the moment. If you don’t stop and smell the roses in the spring, you’ll regret it and long for them in the winter.
Life is full of seasons. As a mom, I’ve gone through many of them. When I was a nursing mom, I desperately wanted my body back. When I was a new mom, I desperately wanted my baby to sleep through the night. I think you can see where I’m going with this.
I remember talking with a fellow homeschool mom at the local skating rink. After exchanging a few comical mom stories, she stared into the distance and said:
“If my kids went back to being small like yours, I would play with them more. Take long walks and crunch the leaves with them. I would steal more kisses, more hugs. I spent their childhood waiting for them to get older, be more independent. Now that they are, I realize they are never going to be small again.”
Wow! What an amazing perspective. Take a few moments in the morning to write down things you’re grateful for in this season and ways you can appreciate your season more. It will change the trajectory of your thinking—a positive change everyone in your family will feel.
Need to Catch Up?
This is Week Five of my series, The Homeschool C.U.R.E.
In this series, I’ll be giving an in-depth discussion on how to make The Homeschool C.U.R.E. applicable to your homeschooling journey. Check out the post below to catch up on this series!
Week Two: Before You Start Homeschooling, Do This
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What are your favorite self-care tips? Let us know in the comments. Be sure to subscribe for more conversations like this!