February has jokingly been called Homeschool Mom Burnout Month. After a few years of homeschooling, I could see why! Is every February destined to be the month that pushes your sanity to the limit? This year, maybe it’s possible for us to avoid the worst of the burnout with a few of these tips from some of my fellow home educators.
The power of a good night’s sleep.
Make sure everyone is getting enough rest, and that includes Mom and Dad! If you’re constantly tired out and feeling exhausted, then everything is harder to handle. Adequate sleep reduces stress and makes it so much easier to focus. (Not to mention helping your body fight off all of the germs that go around during winter months.)
Schedule regular breaks.
Certainly, homeschoolers are used to making the most of any learning opportunity that comes out way. While that’s one of the great advantages of homeschooling, taking a break from regular lessons is important too. Our minds need time to rest just as much as our bodies do!
Bears may hibernate during the winter, but homeschooling parents should not. Never getting out and taking a break can stretch frayed nerves to the breaking point. Go meet friends for coffee. Join a book club or Bible study. Invite a friend over for muffins some morning. Time spent with friends gives you a break and a chance to recharge your batteries.
It’s not all academic.
Much as it seems like it at times, you’re not only a homeschooler. There will always be more planning to do and one more assignment to grade. Sometimes, you just need to step back and do something that is not related to school. Take an hour to work on your favorite hobby. Read a book about something other than homeschooling. Don’t ignore your own interests and projects!
Switching it up.
Now is when you want to grab a unit study, add in a few educational videos, pick up a new read-aloud, or anything else that will break up the routine a bit. Maybe there’s a great field trip opportunity that you’ve been wanting to try, and this is the perfect time to do that! I’ll bet the kids got a science experiment kit or educational game for Christmas. Things like that are great to pull out this time of year.
Eat well and exercise.
I know, this isn’t the most fun thing to do. Personally, I have a tendency to skip meals, eat too much sugar, and let exercising land at the bottom of the to-do list. On the other hand, when I do pay attention to my own eating habits and take time out to get some exercise, I feel so much better! It’s not new advice, but it turns out that it really is good advice!
When all else fails, take some time off.
Despite our efforts, sometimes burnout overwhelms us anyway. When that happens, the best advice is to just take some time off. There will be time to “catch up” later if necessary. It’s better to take a few days or weeks off and come back refreshed than to keep pushing and end up even more worn out. Everyone needs time off now and again, so don’t feel guilty when it’s your turn!
The one piece of advice that I have found to help the most of all is in Matthew 11:28:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”