While homeschooling, I’ve experienced a pregnancy requiring bed rest, cared for my husband who survived a massive heart attack, cared for my sister who was in ICU and needed long-term care and now we’re facing our dreaded fear that we have an aging parent who can’t care for herself any longer. You’d think I would have coping techniques down pat.
What I’ve learned so far is that each crisis in life is different. And though these types of experiences are never welcomed, I find that with each hardship my ability to cope is better.
Today, in sharing how I cope when I can’t homeschool (or blog), I hope to energize and encourage you to not lose your balance. Easier said than done.
Look at my innermost thoughts I bring up when life happens again.
►One/ Most changes are temporary.
Most stressful situations are temporary. Even if a stressful situation is prolonged, I always find a way to make it easier on my family.
For example, when my sister was in ICU, the long-term care facility she stayed at allowed me and my boys to visit for a long time. The room was large enough to bring my boys and her young girls.
Looking back, six months past quickly though it didn’t seem like it at the time.
Unless You Want To Be In A Bed Next to Them . . .
►Two/ Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t.
I can’t say enough about a positive attitude. It affects your physical well-being and unless you want to be in a bed beside your loved one, you have to shift your focus to positive.
I wanted to be with my sister, my husband and now my aging parent at all times and as much as I could, but I learned that they are receiving professional (hopefully) medical care.
However, so that I could take care of my sister’s children and my children and take care of my husband when he recuperated, I had to take care of my physical and emotional well-being.
Guess what? That requires rest not just for your body but for your emotions.
This is very different than saying to dismiss negative thoughts. That is almost impossible because negative thoughts are tied in with the present stressful situation. They can consume you unless you find something stronger to replace it with.
Hear my heart on this because the very thing that could add to your stress at a tragic time is the very thing you should allow to consume your time when you need a break.
When I was pregnant and was on bed rest, I wanted to follow my well-laid out lesson plans perfectly. Why do we do that to ourselves?
I had to swallow my self-will because continuing on with my lesson plans was just not going to work because I was limited in how much I could be on my feet during the day. And I needed to save the time for taking care of my preschoolers.
The day I relented, my preschoolers had an all day marathon movie watching day. I learned a valuable lesson from that first time, which is that doing something normal consumed my mind and time while my body rested. It eased a stressful situation.
“After all tomorrow is another day” (dramatic but true)
Then, when my husband had a heart attack, it seemed like the longest drive of my life to get to the hospital not knowing whether he made it or not. I still have those texts from him on that day. (Yes he texted me while having a heart attack because he thought they would be his last words. That is all I can say about this.)
And after I found out that he survived when I arrived at the hospital, I could hardly stand. That night I came home to a very quiet and dark bedroom. It was so easy to just mentally collapse thinking of how close he was to danger. And I allowed myself time to have a good cry in private. But, then I hit a reset button.
Allowing too much sadness to overcome me was not going to help me to get my husband on the long road to recovery. Plus, I had three boys to think about.
Again, I turned to something normal to fill my time instead of my emotions and that was homeschooling.
Unlike my bed ridden pregnancy many years before, this time I learned that I should do some homeschool but that I needed to lighten my load.
Digital products were a life saver then because my boys could take their devices in their backpacks and already have some kind of school work to do whether we sat long hours in a waiting room or were in the ICU with my hubby.
►Three/ Write it down. Close the book and forget it.
Another coping technique, which I can totally relate to when it was told to my aging parent by a clinical psychologist was to write your worries away.
The doctor encouraged my parent to write her worries in a book and close it for the day. She can look at it tomorrow, but to give her mind time to rest, recuperate and re-energize.
I had an aha moment because I felt like I could relate. This must be one of the very reasons I blog.
Writing has a way of allowing all negative thoughts to escape, loom, fill and overflow the space on the page so that your mind is empty, calm, peaceful and serene. Then, it can reset.
What I find ironic is that I don’t feel like a writer that pines to pore over every word of creating a story. I do prefer writing that is full of facts and help and not story telling.
Whatever type of writer I am, writing or blogging allows me to put each crisis to rest.
Accepting when I’m limited makes me powerful, rested and ready to cope with the present challenge, which now is an aging parent.
These coping techniques are tried and true. They worked for me, they will for you too.
Remember one last thing. And that is to allow people to help and support you. Being an independent, capable and competent momma doesn’t mean we shouldn’t accept help. We all need encouragement to not give up homeschooling and especially when experiencing hardships and what may be overwhelming sadness. Allow others inside and don’t keep up the wall.
As I learned from my husband’s text to me the day he had the heart attack, words matter.
Look at some of these other blog posts that you’ll find helpful when going through a crisis. Digital Homeschool Curriculum – Big Ol’ List, Taking a Hit Doesn’t Mean to Quit– Homeschooling Through Crisis, and What I Gave Up to Homeschool (and what I got in return).
Hugs and you know I love ya,
Don’t forget to follow BOTH of my Pinterest accounts for AWESOME pins.