Hi friends! You might have noticed that you haven’t heard much from me this past year. I usually take a few weeks off from blogging around the holidays, but those few weeks turned into many months!
About a year ago, it really hit me hard that my kids are getting older and we have precious little time left with all of them at home. I realized that the years were rapidly slipping through my fingers. I decided to be very intentional about our remaining time together and soak up every minute.
On top of that, I figured out that I have adrenal fatigue. The last 7 years of life have been extremely stressful. I did not have any systems in place to deal with it, so the overwhelming anxiety of it all left my body stripped of the defenses it needed to keep me healthy.
All of this meant BIG changes for me. I had to figure out how to get off the crazy train. I had to stop saying Yes to allllllllll the things and start saying Yes to what was best for my family.
I am always telling people that you have to put the tools in your mental toolbox that you need to get through the day. I have spent the last year working on these changes, and I hope these ideas are helpful to you!
First things first:
Pray – Ask God to guide you and show you what is best for your family.
- read your Bible faithfully
- pray about your day – that God will order your day & help you speak words of grace to your family
- ask God to help you not worry about things out of your control
- find a verse to remind you of Truth on the hard days
Not a person of faith? Spend some time deep in thought about your life. What is working? What is broken? What is in your control to fix? What can you let go?
Take Charge of Your Health – You cannot function with a rundown body. We all know this is important, yet it slips through the cracks of a busy day. Write yourself a note. Set a reminder on your phone. Do whatever it takes to make these a priority.
- drink water
- take vitamins
- eat healthy food
- move your body
- get enough sleep
- rest when you need to – don’t just keep pushing through until you collapse
One thing I discovered is that sugar greatly affects my anxiety. It inhibits my ability to step back from a stressful situation and think rationally about it. Even a little bit of processed sugar will stoke my anxiety fire and I will work myself up into a state of overwhelming fear.
Take a hard look at your YES and NO – Only take on what you enjoy or what you have to do. I had to take a hard look at what I needed to be doing vs. what others thought I needed to be doing.
I said Yes to homeschooling, current church responsibilities, and spending time with my family. This meant I said No to lots of good things because they weren’t good-for-me things. Things like:
- church activities that took me away from my family
- elaborate homeschool plans that would end in frustration because I couldn’t keep up
- organizing a mom’s book club for the summer
- hosting friend events for holidays
- volunteer work that I didn’t feel called to do
- blogging – I love sharing with you, but it wasn’t a priority during this time of restructuring (I am a hobby blogger & don’t rely on it for income)
What causes you anxiety? Say no to any non-important things that will trigger those feelings. Remember that this is only temporary. Put some white space into your life so that you can hear yourself think. You will eventually start to notice what brings you joy and what sucks the life out of you.
Get a grip on your emotions. Put your big girl panties on. Your brain is sometimes a liar, telling you stuff like:
- That’s too hard!
- You’ll never get it right!
- What will people think?
- What if you mess up?
- They will be so disappointed!
Learn to recognize when you are struggling, and have a system in place to combat it. Ask yourself some questions:
- What is the reality of this situation?
- What is the worst that can ACTUALLY happen? (NOT the worst scenario you can dream up)
- Am I REALLY the only one who can do this?
- Are my feelings based on facts or fear?
Don’t Fix Other People’s Problems – This is the most liberating thing that I have learned this past year. Listen to me: You don’t have to fix everyone’s problems just because you can! My personality is one that says “I can help you fix that”, even when no one is asking for help. I’m working on not getting involved in another person’s decision-making process unless they specifically ask for my advice. This includes my children!! I realized that I was projecting my anxieties onto my kids and undermining their confidence every time I asked if they had considered this-or-that. The first few times were hard, but now I take great delight in letting others make their own (sometimes dumb, but not dangerous) choices.
Simplify Homeschool – It’s okay to read books and fill out worksheets this year instead of designing elaborate unit studies. Watch Netflix documentaries or YouTube videos. Don’t bother with co-ops or field trips unless your family loves those things. Designate one day a week as Homeschool in Your Pajamas Day.
We do a 4-day school week with our core subjects. Friday is reserved for cleaning house, nature study, and finishing up any leftover school work. This schedule gives us breathing room to stay caught up on household duties without sacrificing precious family time with Daddy on the weekends.
KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie – What can you do to build some space into your schedule when life is hectic? Some of these suggestions are only helpful if you have more money than time. I understand what it is like to be on a very tight budget – been there, done that – so take some time to brainstorm solutions that will work for you. Pinterest is your friend!
- use paper plates for breakfast & lunch to cut down on dirty dishes
- double the recipe on favorite meals & freeze one for later
- grocery shop at only 1-2 stores
- order gifts online
- simplify parties & celebrations
- break big projects (like decluttering) into bite-size tasks and then just do SOMETHING every day
Choose the 3 most important things on your To Do list that you need to get done each day. Consider it a successful day if you accomplish those things, even if you didn’t touch the rest of the list.
Do something that you enjoy. Find a peaceful spot in your home where you can retreat for a few minutes to rest. Fill your home with scents that make you happy. Open the curtains and let in the sunshine. Read some of those free eBooks that have been on your Kindle for ages.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get professional help. Maybe your problems run deeper than this little list can fix. Don’t be ashamed of that!
Sweet Homeschool Mama, you are not alone and you can do it!!
I plan to start puttering around this blog again as I have time, so leave a comment and let me know what kind of new content you would like to see!