Jumping into homeschooling with ways to reduce negative mental stress is crucial because homeschooling takes a toll on your mental health. Having some tried and true techniques at your finger tips is absolutely essential to coping with homeschool mental stress; the power of a mental hygiene homeschool routine can’t be underestimated.
I’ve learned to accept happily that struggling and being stressed doesn’t mean that the homeschool lifestyle is not worth it. For my family, it has been a superior way of education.
The right view of stress, which is that not all of it is negative, is necessary to categorizing the type of stress we encounter in homeschooling. There is good stress and there is bad stress.
There is no way to eliminate stress totally from our life because stress can be an energizing and motivating force to do school day in and day out successfully.
The release of energy, the highest sense of accomplishment, and the gratifying feelings deep down in our gut we get when we teach our kids to read, to cook, or see them positively engaging with adults is hard to explain to those that have not experienced it.
Ten Tips to Manage Homeschool Stress
However, today I’m not talking about the good side of stress. We don’t talk enough about the bad kind of stress which can take over our mind, affect us, and affect those we love.
If you haven’t lived our homeschool life it’s hard to know what we experience day to day. Look at these 10 tried and true tips that have worked with me as I’ve homeschooled over the past 20+ years.
ONE/ Lowering your expectations is NOT equivalent to lowering your standards.
In many ways homeschooling back before all the devices exploded on the homeschooling scene, which are suppose to free up our time, was easier than today.
We didn’t have so much content thrown at us; we weren’t bombarded with information overload to wade through.
Pushing back and resisting the urge to cover every possible facet of a subject has not meant lower standards in learning. My sons high college grades prove otherwise. I view myself as a normal home school mom who didn’t always push her kids academically.
I was consistent each day and that was key to lowering the stress for the day and not overloading my mind with worry if my kids were performing well enough.
If you find that you keep piling expectations, extra subjects, or longer homeschool days on you and your kids ask yourself is it worth it?
TWO/ Step away from the online world and into the real world.
One of the best ways to help me rejuvenate quickly is to be around close friends or family and stay completely off my phone and off online.
Do you remember the time when we all didn’t carry phones? Some people had to actually wait for a reply.
As much time as I spend on my blog and online schooling for my kids, I realize that I’ve always had intermittent times when I’m completely away from the online world.
I find myself with instant calm for my mind when I have face to face conversations with warm individuals. It reminds me that slowing down for day to day interaction is the key to a healthy mental hygiene.
THREE/ Simple physical activities. I do mean simple.
Don’t get me wrong, if you want to knock yourself out at the gym go for it. My problem is that it takes me a while to recover from strenuous workouts and then it defeats my purpose in easing my mental stress. From there I go to worrying about what has not been done for the day.
What I have found that works for longer periods of time or through the years is a simple nature walk. To this day, I still take nature walks even in my neighborhood. I think doing it at the crack of dawn and seeing the sun rise sets the right tone for my day.
I’ve always been an early morning person, but if you’re not a morning person the evening sun or night skys is just as gorgeous. I have no favorites.
Being outside reminds me of what is important each day, it fills up my tank when I have to deal with others especially my kids, and it just reminds me to be grateful I’m alive.
FOUR/Easy activities with the kids eases mental tension.
I always read about self-care and getting away from the kids. While this is true on occasions, the truth of it is we homeschool because we love being with our kids.
Not every solution involves isolation. When I feel overloaded I change our plans for the day.
A simple walk or hike with kids, an all day reading day, or even something simple like watching a movie are all easy activities that can ease mental tension. A shift in focus, rest, or stepping back are all options depending on your needs.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to be alone and when you can’t, take steps now to have ideas in place for when you need a different pace. Besides, you are also modeling to your kids how to cope with days that are mentally taxing.
FIVE/Humor in big doses throughout the day.
There are many reasons to laugh during the day while homeschooling.
If you’ve taught for any length of time, you know your kids say funny things, think funny things, and do funny things.
Treasure those moments and don’t forget to laugh when it’s time to laugh. It’s a quick fix to alleviate stress in the air and your kids will love the stress free atmosphere you create. Better yet, write down all of those funny sayings in your planner and come back to them.
I also save pictures in one file of funny things my kids did and I have some picture of myself that ares absolutely awful while homeschooling which I would never share with the homeschooling world. But every time I look at them, I laugh so hard it’s hard to stop. It keeps me balanced of how I view myself.
SIX/ Do we really NOT have time for a hobby? Count the mental cost.
I was wrong when I started homeschooling because I gave up some of my hobbies. Okay, my thinking was a bit off. It took me years to find balance; I hope it doesn’t take you that long.
My thinking was off because when I thought of a hobby I thought of something that gave no value. A hobby could keep you from doing the more important things if it’s not kept in balance. Why do we think it has to be all or nothing?
How did I adopt such an extreme view? I know it was to prevent me from not giving attention to what I needed to do each day which is to be sure my kids get the best education I can give them. Again, I try not to go too hard on myself because I had set the right priority.
Balance is the key to doling out increments of time doing something I enjoy whether it’s photography, cooking, or blogging.
Not thinking about the teacher mom at present, but about the person and woman I am has always revitalized me.
You’re the only one to answer to if you have become unbalanced with your hobby. At times, depending on the level of stress in my homeschooling, I’ve needed more time to step back and focus on who I am. Other times, not so much.
Avoiding critical judgments of how others spend their time off from school helps. There is no time to be critical of others when you homeschool positively and care for your mental stress.
SEVEN/The power of 15 minutes.
I mentioned earlier that unless you experienced our homeschool lifestyle it can be hard to appreciate the tips. I know oh so well how at times we just can’t get away from our kids.
When I had that time period in my journey, I had to learn the power of a 15 minute shift in focus.
If your kids are old enough to be left alone or to go to another room for that long, then implement that daily tip.
I set the timer on my stove because it was the loudest and because my boys could run into the room to see how much more time was left. It was an easy timer for them to read.
Of course I explained to my kids they didn’t have come into the room to see the timer and that they would hear it.
Staying in their room was a game in the beginning because they wanted to be near me to see what I was doing. However, the more I did it, the more they enjoyed it and stayed in their room or another room to play.
Also, looking back, I realized I also taught them how to have a pause in their day for relaxed mental time. This world can be extremely stressful and our kids need tips as they grow too.
Whether you decide to lay down and read, bathing (if you can), or just do nothing, you decide. Don’t keep engaging your mental person when it needs rest.
EIGHT/Your spouse or a trusted friend are priceless.
We know that we do a majority of the homeschooling, but if your husband is like mine, he’s interested in how you’re coping.
Don’t shut him out because he may not understand completely.
Just relaying to my husband what I have been dealing with helps me to articulate it orally and I find it refreshing to get it out of my mind.
I’m all for date nights if you can.
One more technique that my husband and I have implemented is although we may not be able to get away from the kids, we make time to talk alone and teach the kids to respect that time.
Time alone with my husband while the kids were present became absolutely necessary as each kid hit the teen years and we had to deal with unique stressful situations.
We had already implemented daily or weekly management of that type of stress.
NINE/Organize it, throw it out, and kick it out.
Another huge mental release for me is being able to clean, organize, or kick clutter to the curb. This is especially good if part of your mental stress toll stems from a cluttered home.
Don’t ignore your need for a more efficient working area.
Homeschooing is about teaching kids how to cope with daily life.
So many homeschooled kids are not taught that taking time to organize is as imperative as doing their school work. Is this because some homeschool families don’t view it as essential?
It’s unbalanced to do a whole workbook of math while kids live in a monumental mess.
Why is being good at math so much more important than being a person that people want to be around as they grow into adults? I would never want to live with anyone that didn’t pick up after himself. I want my kids to be the kind of persons that others can roommate with or live with.
Did I mention they are? If you find that your mental stress comes from a cluttered home, then STOP homeschooling and declutter.
You’re not getting behind on homeschooling when you clean, you’re getting ahead of it.
TEN/ Make time for the little things. Chocolate, chat with a friend, get out of the house, or listen to music.
Lastly, make time for what refreshes you mentally.
Creating time to soothe your mental health needs to be part of daily management of homeschool mental stress.
Whether you find a bit of milk or dark chocolate helps bite by bite, a chat with a close homeschool friend which understands your feelings, getting out of the house, listening to your favorite music, exercising more, or doing like I did one time binge watch a Netflix series, they all count.
Make Daily Stress Management Part of Your Routine
Accepting the fact that I can’t do all I want to do and having daily routines has helped me to cope with negative stress.
Learning how to say no to things I can’t be involved in and recognizing stress triggers like avoiding explosive personalities in my homeschool world helps me to manage too. Some people bring unnecessary stress on themselves and those around them.
Have tips ready at your fingertips for when you need a mental break; your journey should be memorable for the right reasons.
What mental coping techniques do you use?I know you’ll love reading these other ways to empower your sticking ability to homeschool:
- Homeschooling STARTS When You STOP Caring What Others Think
- 3 Foolproof Ways I Cope When I Can’t Homeschool
- Deschooling: Step One for the New Homeschooler (the Definitions, the Dangers, and the Delight)
- 4 Undeniable Reasons People Hate Homeschooling (Keep It Real)
Hugs and love ya,