People tell me over and over that self care is important for parents, especially for homeschooling parents. Since we are around kids essentially all day, every day – it can really be draining to us emotionally, physically, and mentally to be keeping up with all their needs all the time. Taking time to ourselves to recharge and reset is important. But, how can we do that as homeschoolers?
When you hear self care, do you imagine things like spa days or getaways? Moms Night Out? These are options, but they aren’t the only (or necessary) way to get refilled. Here are some ideas of how you can squeeze some “me time” into a busy homeschool life.
The 5-minute break
You can do a mini-power up just by taking 5 minutes to yourself whenever you need it in a busy day. Step outside and take some breaths of fresh air. If you are driving somewhere, turn off the radio and just sit in the silence. Set a timer and pop into Facebook. Just find a small little activity that gives you a minute to catch your breath and clear your head.
The 15-minute break
Sometime in the day, I’m sure you can find 15 minutes of kid-free time. Some people like getting up before the kids, some staying up after they are in bed, and others intentionally set a time in the middle of the day. Use this time to do something that will take a little longer and can give you a much-needed pause. Have a shower. (Maybe sing in it for extra fun!) Pray or meditate. Read a chapter of a book. Have a cup of your favourite warm drink. Lay down on the couch and power nap. Tell the kids you are on break for 15 minutes and unless there is blood or the house is on fire to leave you alone.
The 30-minute break
If you have little ones, strap them into their stroller and, while they are contained – go for a walk. You can even put a podcast or audio book onto a mobile device and listen while you walk! Do an exercise video. Sit in the backyard and listen to the birds. Have a bubble bath. Talk to a friend. Watch a YouTube video on something you want to learn. Spend some time on your hobby.
The Longer Break
Go out for coffee with a friend. Do a Mom or Dad’s night out. Join an adult class or study group. Go to the spa and get a manicure. Do a swap with another homeschool parent who will take your kids for a couple of hours one day and then you take theirs another day. If your kids are in a class or lesson, chat with other parents or curl up in the corner or car to read. After the kids are in bed, binge-watch a new or a favourite show. Go out to the movies or a play.
If leaving the kids at home and going away is the best way for you to full recharge, go for it. Plan a weekend alone or with your spouse or friend. Go to a homeschool conference. Do a reverse getaway and send the kids to the grandparents’ house for a night.
Finding time for self care as a homeschooling parent doesn’t mean that you have to leave for long periods of time (but it can!). It’s more about making sure you remember to put yourself and your needs in the priority spot at least once in a while. I can be horrible about this but it’s important. Without a mental, physical, or emotional break from all your responsibilties and tasks, you can very quickly find yourself burntout.
Want more tips on how to better handle the different parts of your busy life? Check out the other posts in this 10 day series: Homeschooling & The Myth of Balance.