Dealing With Depression as a Homeschool Mom
Now I’m going to begin this post with a disclaimer. I am not what I would consider clinically depressed. I don’t try to self-harm or anything extreme. So if you do then you need a lot more help than this article can give you. Please get it! This is just how I deal personally with depression as a homeschool mom.
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Anyway, that outta the way, the depression that I’m talking about is this overwhelming feeling of discouragement or hopelessness. Its not like I have anything to be discouraged about and that rankles me even more. I’m by nature an upbeat person and when I feel like this..It.Drives.Me.Nuts. I don’t want to do anything except curl up in bed and eat chocolate. Which might not be terrible if it only happened like once every few months.
But here lately its been happening more and more. It leaves me irritated and grouchy on top of being sad. Sigh…And obviously I can’t stay in bed and eat chocolate so how can a homeschool mom beat depression?
Focus on my motivation not the depression.
When I focus on the fact that I feel very down and discouraged, guess what? I feel MORE not less depressed. But when I begin to focus on Christ and what He has blessed me with and the responsibility I have to rejoice and give thanks I feel better. Its not necessarily a quick fix because it takes intentionality every single day but it DOES work!
Boost my vitamin intake.
Yep I get depressed more in winter than Spring and Summer so I’m betting vitamin d deficiency is part of the problem. So I’m trying to boost my vitamin absorption by using cod liver oil (yeah it tastes gross even lemon flavored) vitamin d cream, magnesium cream (Good Night Lotion) and I’m taking a whole foods green drink and a supplement of natural iron. I can tell its making a difference.
If you’re a homeschool mom dealing with depression, Exercise is a mood enhancer.
I read a lot and every study dealing with natural ways to shake depression said exercise is HUGE! Basically it releases a whole bunch of feel good endorphins in your body and makes you happier. So even though its winter and freaking freezing outside I’m trying to incorporate more indoor exercise into my daily life. It might be simple stretches, weight lifting or Pilates. I have several workout regimens from Healthy Moving by Jen Hoffman that I LOVE! My new goal is to take 10-15 minutes first thing in the mornings and do one of her workouts.
Why is depression something homeschool moms struggle with?
Probably every mom actually struggles with this to some extent but I think homeschool moms may to an even greater level. Why? I can only speak from my experience here but these are a few reasons I’ve come up with:
The stress of feeling your kids educational load on YOUR shoulders. Every where we turn its touted as necessary and needful for our kid’s futures to start them earlier and earlier in academics. So we do it and its a flop. And then the questioning and discouragement sets in. What did I do wrong? Why aren’t they thriving? I’m a failure… Then if you’re anything like me you try to cram Every.Single.Subject into one day. I mean, after all every
5 4 year old needs to know a second language and be able to read at college level, right? We put SO many unnecessary expectations on ourselves. I’m actually getting better at this on the homeschool front but I have to watch myself or I slip back into this very dangerous territory!
Being at home all day long with small, needy people is also a big deal! Yes its a blessing to be able to do it. Yes I love it and wouldn’t trade it for the most prestigious job in the world. And yes I get lonely. Its honestly not that I crave hoards of people. In fact I despise that. Instead I would love to have one close friend nearby to just drink a cup of tea with, while our kids play. But I don’t really have that option most of the time. And I’m in a season of life where its a tremendous hassle to get everyone together and buckled in the car. I know that will pass and make day outs easier but right now its a little isolated.
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Another reason I think a lot of homeschool moms struggle is the house. When you have multiple people there.All.Day.Long it is extremely hard to keep clean. Especially if you have small tornadoes who follow you and destroy everything you’ve just cleaned up. Its really tempting to sit down and cry after you’ve cleaned all morning and your house still looks like ground zero…just saying!
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It can also be so difficult when you feel like you have NO alone time for yourself or your spouse. I mean, the kids are with you 24/7 7 days a week. Seriously it can be super hard. I LOVE my kids. I want to be with my kids. But sometimes I just want to eat chocolate WITHOUT sharing.
So what’s a mom to do?
1. Get focused on your priorities. Set down each morning and have quiet time with Jesus. Even if its just 5 minutes it grounds you!
2. Make time for things you enjoy. Even if it means getting up a few minutes earlier or deleting Facebook. Get a small, inexpensive hobby you enjoy and do it!
3. Make an effort to get involved with others. This one is super hard for me. But I do try to text my friends daily. I need to make a better habit of actually SEEING them😬.
4. Meditate on your blessings. Its a tremendous blessing to homeschool our kids. Its something we will NOT regret. Lets focus on that.. Every job has its downside. At least my job lets me take naps😸.
5. Get enough rest. Yeah I know as moms its easy to think burning the midnight oil will help us get ahead but it doesn’t. Go to bed early and you will feel SO much better. Take natural supplements like melatonin or use Good Night Lotion. I personally use both.
6. Exercise. Yes I know its hard when you are caring for so many other people. But this is your physical and mental health we’re talking about here. Get.Moving…I love Healthy Moving for a relaxing yet stimulating workout. Seriously I hate cardio though I do it some because I know its good for me.
7. Go to the doctor if you can’t shake this thing. But don’t just let them put you on antidepressants. Have them test you for things like thyroid imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, ECT. Do your homework ahead of time and don’t just accept this as a lifelong struggle to be treated with a pill.
Please don’t go through your life in a fog. Take action now and start to be an overcomer! You’ll be so thankful that you did! One of these days when this is behind you, you’ll be saying “I dealt (instead of I deal) with depression as a homeschool Mom”!