Self-care in the Midst of Chaos: 25 Surprising Hacks for the Homeschool Mom

by Jen

Homeschooling is a fulfilling experience in the long run, but it can also be quite overwhelming on a day to day basis.

Between managing the house, running errands, meal planning, keeping up with extracurriculars, working a job, maintaining a side hustle, it’s easy for us homeschool moms to neglect our own self care needs while focusing on everything and everyone else around us.

However, neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and stress which can ultimately affect your ability to manage homeschooling.

That’s why I have complied 25 self care tips specifically for homeschooling moms to help them prioritize their well being while also being effective teachers and caregivers.

These tips are practical, and tailored just for homeschool moms. They are ways to gain more downtime so you can focus on your needs too.

1. Take lots of breaks throughout the day

I call them “brain breaks” for the kids when I let them take 10-15 minutes between each subject. I encourage them to go outside and get some sunshine so that they can be ready to go again. The same concept applies to us moms. Little breaks where we walk away from school can help immensely.

We need to give our brains breaks throughout the day when we can squeeze them in. Whether it’s just 10 or 15 minutes to sit in the sun or do something that’s unrelated to chores or school can help us feel a tiny bit refreshed.

2. Take breaks throughout your school year

We homeschool year-round and it helps to keep me more relaxed when it comes to schooling. It allows us to travel and visit family whenever we want without worrying about the school schedule or whether we are on track to finish up the year.

We don’t always take breaks just for fun or holidays. Sometimes I take a week or two off just because I feel burned out and need a reset.

When I start to feel uninspired or just plain down, I will implement a break from school. Sometimes that is just a day to recover myself, sometimes it is longer so I can get the rest I need to be able to give 100% again.

3. Dont focus too much on a schedule

I started with a homeschool schedule in the early years and then switched to a routine. It was much better for my mental health as a schedule always made me feel like a failure. I could never stick to it perfectly as life always got in the way.

There is a lot of pressure that comes with trying to make a timed schedule work day in and day out. Pressure leads to stress, which can lead to burnout, and none of us want that.

By eliminating the schedule you can increase your happiness and confidence in your homeschool, leading to a better mental health state for yourself.

If you find a schedule is too hard to stick to and is causing you stress try to…..

4. Develop a routine instead

A routine on the other hand, is more flexible, more adaptable, more sustainable and therefore can lead to less stress and burnout. You will feel more in control of your day and less like you are failing.

With a routine, everyone will learn what is expected of them day to day and what comes next, which takes the burden off your shoulders to keep everyone to the schedule.

5. Let go of perfection

Your homeschool will never run perfectly. Neither will your home or anything else in your life. Learning to let go of perfection is a form of self-care and self-compassion in itself.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be perfect in everything we do. We want our kids to have the best education, the best experiences and the best memories.

However, striving for perfection will lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and stress.

Letting go takes the pressure off ourselves so we can focus on our own well-being and the well-being of our family.

It means being kind to ourselves, recognizing that we are doing the best we can and accepting that it’s okay to make mistakes.

6. Embrace the messy

Having kids home and around all day long is just.plain.messy. Embracing the mess is a form of self-care because it allows us to let go of the pressure of trying to maintain a perfect and tidy home life (which is impossible with kids home all day).

When we accept that homeschooling is messy, imperfect and that there are never enough hours in the day to do it all, we can reduce our stress, be more compassionate towards ourselves, and improve our mental well-being.

7. Less is more

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to do too much. We want to give our kids the best education possible, and we think that means filling their schedules with endless activities and lessons.

This is a sure-fire way to burnout due to a lack of downtime for yourself and your family.

Embracing the “less is more” philosophy is an act of self-care because it allows us to prioritize what’s really important.

By simplifying our curriculum and focusing on a few key activities, we can reduce stress and create more time for rest, relaxation and quality time with our children.

8. Always have a read-aloud at the ready

We always have at least two read-alouds happening in our house. One historical fiction or biography and one novel. When we have an off day that feels really hard or chaotic or if I’m just not feeling well, I pick up one of our books and read a chapter or two.

This can help calm down a charged situation, a frustrated child or an overwhealmed mom. Reading aloud breaks quiet the house and kids down and helps us reset and also allows us to rest while “teaching”.

9. One friend can make all the difference

Homeschooling can be a lonely endeavor, as us moms often spend long hours at home with our children without the support of a traditional school community. This is where having one good friend can make all the difference for a homeschool moms mental health.

A friend who understands the unique challenges of homeschooling can provide a much-needed outlet for us moms to vent our frustrations, share our success, receive support and encouragement, or just be plain silly and fun.

Having one great friend can help you feel less isolated and more confident, provide you emotional support, practical help and a much needed social outlet.

10. Micro-workouts

Have you heard of micro-workouts? They are short burst of exercises that you can do throughout the day and they can have a big impact on your mental health as a homeschool mom.

By taking a few minutes to move your body you can help relieve stress and anxiety, boost your energy levels and improve your mood.

Plus, it’s a great way to sneak in some self-care during your busy day. You don’t need a lot of time or equipment to do micro workouts – you can do things like squats, lunges or even dance breaks with your kids.

So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking a mini exercise break and see how it makes you feel.

Your mental health will thank you!

11. Take a shower daily

Homeschooling is a busy and stressful job, but have you considered taking a daily shower as a form of self-care?

It may seem small but not only can it help you feel refreshed and clean, it also gives you a few moments of alone time to clear your mind and relax.

Plus, it’s a great way to establish a routine and signal to your brain that it’s time to switch from “mom mode” to “me time”.

The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try taking a quick shower and see how it makes you feel. It might just be the little boost you need to get through the rest of your day.

12. Sunshine

I know you are busy, but have you been getting enough sunshine lately? As a homeschool mom, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine and forget to take care of ourselves.

But did you know that spending just a few minutes outside in the sun can have a big impact on your well being? Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, which can help boost your mood and relieve stress and anxiety.

Plus, being outside in nature can help you feel more relaxed and connected to the world around you.

13. Enforce quiet/alone/outside time everyday

This tip has been really helpful for me throughout the years and thats enforcing a quiet time for your kids. I know its hard to find a moment of peace and quiet when you’re surrounded by your children all day long, but setting aside a specific time each day for your kids to have some quiet independent play, reading time or outside play time can be a game-changer and an unexpected form of self care.

Not only does it give you a chance to catch your breath and recharge, but it also encourages your kids to develop their own sense of independence. It’s a win-win!

This can be part of your daily routine so you always have some built in alone time. Don’t be surprised is your kids don’t take to it right away and there is a transition period where you will be teaching a new expectation.

Be consistent and encouraging. You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel after a little bit of peace and quiet.

14. Wake up early

Let me tell you why waking up early is self-care.

First, it gives you some quiet reflection time to yourself before the chaos of the day starts, allowing you to start on your terms with a calm and relaxed mind.

Second, it gives you more time to accomplish tasks, like planning for the day or reading a new homeschool book.

Finally, waking up early can be a great way to prioritize your own needs and practice self-care, helping you be a better parent and teacher in the long run.

15. Nightly wine is not your friend

I am not a fan of the mom/wine culture that tells us it’s cool to drink.every.night. Having wine every night is not self-care. It may be relaxing and an enjoyable way to unwind, but relying on alcohol as a daily coping mechanism can lead to a host of negative effects on both your physical and mental health.

Drinking alcohol every night can disrupt your sleep, leaving you feeling groggy and unrefreshed in the morning. It can also contribute to anxiety and depression, and increase the risk of developing addiction and other health issues.

Self-care is about nurturing your well-being and making choices that support your overall health and happiness, and relying on wine every night does not align with that goal.

16. Find a workout buddy

Homeschooling is a demanding job that requires a lot of time and energy, and finding the motivation to exercise can be challenging. That’s where a workout buddy comes in!

Having someone to exercise with can be a great source of support and motivation, making it easier to stick to your fitness goals. It can also be a fun and social way to stay active, giving you the opportunity to connect with a like-minded friend and share your journey towards better health.

Additionally, regular exercise is proven to reduce stress, improve mood and boost overall physical and mental well-being. So, finding a workout buddy is a win-win for self-care!

17. Set boundaries with others

For us homeschool moms, it can be easy to fall into the trap of putting everyone’s else’s needs before your own, whether it’s your kids, spouse, friends, work or community obligations. However, constantly putting others first can lead to burnout, resentment and a lack of fulfillment in your own life.

This is why setting boundaries is a form of self-care! By clearly communicating your needs and limitations to others, you can create more space and time for yourself to pursue your own interests, recharge your batteries and prioritize your well being.

This may mean saying no to social invitations, or delegating more responsibilities to your spouse or kids. While it may feel uncomfortable or even selfish at first, setting boundaries is an essential act of self care that helps you preserve your mental and emotional energy, reduce stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

18. Have a set end time everyday

Having a set end time to your homeschool day is an act of self-care because it allows you to establish clear boundaries between work and personal time.

Without a set end time, it’s easy for homeschooling to bleed into the rest of your day, leaving you feeling drained and overwhelmed.

By setting a specific time to wrap up, you can create space for other important aspects of your life, like self-care, hobbies, and quality time with family and friends.

This simple boundary can help you maintain a healthy homeschool-life balance and prevent burnout so you can continue to enjoy the benefits of homeschooling without sacrificing your own well-being.

19. Make those Dr. appointments

Do you find that your health has suffered because you are hyper-focused on everyone else’s needs. Or do you choose not to go because you don’t want to take the kids with you?

You need to take care of yourself Mama, as you are the most important piece of this homeschooling puzzle. If you are not feeling good and ignoring symptoms that plague you, especially when dealing with undiagnosed depression, anxiety or adhd, your homeschool will suffer too.

Sometimes it feels hard just to pick up the phone, but please do. Take the kids with you if you have to but call and get the help you need.

20. Does your state offer homeschool enrichment programs? Take advantage if they do

Some states, like Colorado, offer homeschool enrichment programs through public and charter schools where one day a week, for a whole school day, kids can attend school/homeschool day programs for free. So once a week, mine attend a Spanish immersion program with a charter school that allows one full day to myself to run errands, attend a workout class, grab coffee with a friend, or just enjoy a quiet house.

It’s a win-win for my self-care and my children’s education. If your local schools don’t offer these programs, look elsewhere for options that are full/half day or even a few hours that will allow them a different educational experience and you a bit of time off for yourself.

21. Stay hydrated and eat well

Taking care of yourself is essential to being the best homeschool mom you can be. Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet are two simple yet powerful forms of self care that can help you feel more energized, focused and balanced.

Drinking plenty of water can help you avoid fatigue and headaches, while a balanced diet filled with nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and boost our mood.

By prioritizing our hydration and nutrition, we can be the best versions of ourselves for our families while also taking care of our own wellbeing.

22. Stay off social media

While social media can be a great way to connect with others and get inspiration, it can also be overwhelming and time-consuming, taking away from the important things we need to do.

By limiting our time on social media, we can reduce our exposure to negative news and comparison traps, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

Instead, we can use that time to focus on our own priorities, spend quality time with our families, and recharge our minds.

So prioritize your mental health and limit social media use as a form of self-care.

23. Create a cozy space just for you

It can be a quiet corner of the house or a special chair with a soft blanket and a good book. Fill a basket with a stack of books, magazines, headphones for soft music and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.

24. Homeschool 4 days a week

If you focus on less is more, and homeschooling year-round, then homeschooling 4 days a week is the next step. By only schooling 4 days, you’re giving yourself a well-deserved break from the daily routine and a chance for everyone to recharge their batteries.

This break can help you feel more refreshed and energized, making you better equipped to handle the challenges that come with homeschooling. So, don’t feel guilty about only schooling 4 days a week, it’s an act of self-care that can benefit both you and your family.

25. Practice gratitude and self-compassion

This is the ultimate self-care for your brain because it can help to shift your mindset from one of stress, overwhelm and feelings of doubt and inadequacies to one of appreciation and self-love.

By focusing on what you are grateful for, whether it’s a supportive partner, healthy children, or a warm home, you can cultivate a sense of contentment and satisfaction, even on your toughest days.

Additionally, practicing self-compassion, which involves treating oneself with kindness and understanding, can help to alleviate feelings of guilt, self-doubt and inadequacy.

By recognizing that you are doing your best and giving yourself the same compassion you would offer a friend, you can boost your overall well-being.

Take care of yourself Mama, your family needs you to be relaxed, happy and healthy! You deserve that too!

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