Stress Relief for the Stressed Out Homeschool Mom!February 15, 2021
Guest post by Stephanie Wilkins.
For all of you stressed-out homeschool moms who need to find a little peace in your life, help is on the way! Today, we are discussing practical ways to relieve stress during the school day including proper planning, time out for mom, epsom salt baths, quality sleep, and good nutrition.
The Causes of Stress
During our homeschooling years, I found that most of my stress was self-induced due to poor planning. Although, I was teaching school at home, stress often came when I tried to tackle school, home chores and outside work all at the same time. To relieve a lot of stress in your life, it’s best to separate school time from home responsibilities by planning well. Children can feel it when they are being ignored and they have very interesting ways of getting the attention they need. When you are trying to fit other things into the school day, they will try your patience by doing things like getting off task, asking twenty questions, running through the room screaming while you’re on the phone, or coming to tattle on their sister while you are in the middle of your Zoom meeting. The more you can separate school time from other work, the better, and the faster the school day is through.
Separating Work and Homeschool: Planning Advice
During school time, it is imperative that you are present. Class by class, as they are working, work alongside them at your desk either planning, grading, and/or researching for the following school day or if you work outside the home, you can be answering your emails, setting your agenda, and working at your desk that is preferably within the same room as they are. Schedule Zoom meetings and phone calls for the morning before school begins or after school is over. During the school day, frequently ask your children if things are going okay, and answer all their school questions.
Make sure your routine includes set snack times, break times, lunch time and recess time for outside play. During these scheduled times, you can do things like load the dishwasher, throw in a load of clothes, or walk the dog. During lunch, you could make calls to the office, have a 20- minute meeting, or order groceries online, but when it’s time to get back to school, make sure the “teacher” is there!
Planning for “Mom Time”
Another great way I found to relieve stress was to have a “time out for mom” built into my daily routine. This is when younger kids go into their rooms for quiet play, after school, and I go to my happy place, which is maybe a chair for a chapter in a favorite book, into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and a cookie, or maybe dad comes on duty and I go to get my nails or hair done, or to a favorite exercise class. Whatever relieves pressure, give yourself a little bit of that daily. It is especially good for those days when a child is having a hard day, and you have had to discipline more than normal.
As a nutrition consultant, I often recommend an evening bath with epsom salt for stress relief. It does the body good and gives a good night’s sleep. Epsom salt is full of magnesium. Magnesium calms the mind and relaxes the body. It’s also great for sore muscles and relieves constipation. It’s an all over mind/body stress relief! You can find epsom salt at your local drug store. For a standard-sized tub, run your water and when your tub water is half full, use the amount suggested on the package, which is usually 1 to 2 cups under the warm running water. Relax and enjoy! If you have a medical condition, please consult your doctor before using an epsom salt bath.
Good Sleep is Vital
A substantial thing to remember is to get a good night’s sleep. Medical News Today reports that lack of sleep causes “negative mood, low energy, difficulty concentrating and a general inability to function as usual.” Sounds like me when I was in the middle of trying to teach junior high algebra! Stress delays sleep and causes repetitive, quick, anxious thoughts at night which cause insufficient sleep that causes even further stress. The National Sleep Foundation reports that, 43% of people ages 13-64 have reported at least once per month that they have not been able to sleep at night, due to stress.
A good night’s sleep happens when we relax the mind. Easier said than done, right? To relax the mind before bed, try some breathing exercises along with peaceful music. Put on your favorite song and begin by breathing through the nose, filling up the belly with air and then releasing the air very slowly through pursed lips several times, while concentrating on the breath. This will help you release thoughts about the day. Reading something pleasant before bed is also a good way to get sleepy and take your mind off your day and all the responsibilities you have for tomorrow. My favorite way to relax the mind that works every time is to spend time in prayer with the Lord. When I give what is “on my mind” to the Lord, it releases the anxiety and stress and allows me, in faith, to know that it is in better hands with Him than with me! I love to quote scripture to myself in the evening before bed as well. A great scripture for stress relief is: Matthew 11:28 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (NLT)
High-Quality Food Matters
Finally, to find much relief from everyday stress, make sure your family and especially yourself is getting good nutrition instead of doing what I call “stress eating” which for me, at that time in my life, was occasionally downing boxes of “Little Debbie Snack Cakes”! It felt really good, until….it didn’t! Eating sweets to relieve stress is a vacuum that is never full! Sugar breaks down fast and requires more and more to keep the euphoric feeling going that it gives you. So, a diet rich in whole grains that break down slowly in the body, while still providing the comfort you are craving. Additionally, lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins will satisfy and provide the vitamins and minerals that both your body and mind needs to handle the stress!
Are you ready for another day tomorrow? Your stress isn’t going away anytime soon, but with these helpful tips in place, it will become manageable and will not inhibit you mentally or physically as you continue to teach your children. Be encouraged, you can do it! YOU are amazing!
Other Helpful Homeschooling Articles:
Tips from Homeschool Experts (off site but we’re listed as an expert!)
More About the Author
Stephanie Wilkins is a board-certified nutrition counselor and founder of “No More Band-Aids” which is a ministry of encouragement and evidence-based research for caretakers and those suffering from chronic health conditions. Stephanie is also a veteran homeschool mom of 21 years and has had the unique opportunity to have lived in four different countries and four different states. Stephanie’s passions are homeschooling, travel, health and wellness, and her faith.