Perhaps the catastrophic national health crisis propelled you into a home education journey. Before you embark on your school year expedition, here is an invitation to cultivate a few simple healthy living practices. These sanity-saving healthy living tips will help you serve your family and others from a place of wellness and wholeness.
The Blue Ocean Rip Currents
Along the east coast beaches, signs warn swimmers about rip currents, the channelized currents of water flowing away from shore at surf beaches. Rip currents pull even the strongest swimmers away from the shoreline.
For years, whenever we went to the beach, I possessed a nagging fear of a powerful undertow sucking one of my kids out to sea.
Perhaps, you feel the same foreboding about your upcoming homeschool journey. Suddenly, without warning, your life is being pulled out to sea.
Writer Madeleine L’Engle says, “We have to be braver than we think we can be because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are.”
Home education, while a riveting expedition, can leave you emotionally and physically exhausted. That’s why it is essential to maintain checks and balances in your health and wellness.
Use this list as a sanity-saving framework for self-care. You can easily integrate these eight healthy living tips into the rhythms of your days and weeks.
Your growing “to-do” list could easily overshadow the priority of spiritual growth. The keys to spiritual growth are like a casserole—lots of layers, which include reading, memorizing and meditating on scripture. Then you add prayer on top of each layer.
Over the years, I made far more progress in my homeschool journey when I maintained a spiritual sustenance plan. Christian counselor Edward T. Welch reminds us, “The goal is to establish a daily tradition of growing in the knowledge of God.”
Here are four simple yet soulful ways to deepen your spiritual life daily.
- Meditate on a specific piece of scripture
- Gratitude or Prayer Journaling (or both)
- Read a faith-based non-fiction book
- Scripture memory
You can decide how much time you want to spend on each area then structure your plan to fit your day.
If you are nursing, then take advantage of the time to sit down and read or journal. There is nothing wrong with allowing your kids to watch an educational show while you grab a few minutes to pray or study.
Effectively managing stress is a part of self-care. Managing the strain of routine stress calls for a strategy. It’s not “if” you encounter stress as a home school mom, its “when” you do.
I am a recovering self-care skeptic. My love-hate relationship with the concept spans two decades. In the twilight days of my mothering, I confused self-care with selfishness.
I thought a much-needed respite was a trademark of weakness. Since stress “accounts for 75%-90% of all visits to the physician,” it ranks as one of the most important healthy living tips.
Self-care cultivates a vibrant spiritual life, manages stress, prevents burn-out, fosters a lifestyle of healthy living, and helps achieve balance at home, work, and school.
Dr. Robert “Bob” Cutillo, M.D., suggests that we view health as a gift. Rather than seeing health as a material good managed for our personal happiness, we receive it as a precious endowment.”
If we see health as a gift, Dr. Cutillo further explains, then “we become better able to discern its deeper reason—it is given for a purpose, to accomplish some good beyond itself.
David M. Dunaief, M.D., an internist specializing in lifestyle medicine, suggests “by implementing whole foods, plant-based diet can improve or even reverse these chronic diseases, decrease inflammation and strengthen the immune system.”
If you need help getting started, try my Healthy Eating Meal Plan for Busy Moms.
Sleep and Rest
Sleep helps fight infections, supports the metabolism of sugar to prevent diabetes, and enhances performance in daily activities.
- establish a bedtime routine
- get to bed early
- avoid electronics an hour before bed
- darken the room
- diffuse essential oils that induce relaxation and sleep
Exercise and Movement
Do you associate exercise with a gym membership? There’s no doubt that a spin class or weight lifting offers a host of physical benefits. But maybe the idea of membership to your local gym doesn’t fit in your budget or schedule. More importantly, does a crowded gym offer calmness or a place for quiet reflection?
There is a soulful way to get exercise. Walking provides not only physical benefits but also well-being benefits too.
Walking is a great way to get physical activity, boost your mood, and manage stress. You can stroll down a tree-lined street in your neighborhood, visit a park, or green space.
Recreation and Fun
There will be some homeschool days where you believe that ascending Mt. Everest is more achievable than another day of home education.
That is why you must find something fun to do after the school week comes to a close.
What words do you associate with fun: relaxation, laughter, joy, memories, exciting?
Recreation resuscitates a stressed and over-worked mind and body. Decide how to define fun and make it happen.
For the introverted mom, a 15-minute invigorating walk down a wooded path will feel like someone tossed you a life preserver.
Many of you know that I enrolled in grad school last fall. My mother’s nest is near empty, so I have the time and mental energy to keep up with a rigorous academic program.
But in the early days of parenting, I had to seek out a different way to grab inexpensive personal growth. Often, book clubs hosted by our local library served up robust discussions with free lattes.
These days, online courses and webinars allow you to engage in intellectually stimulating pursuits while the kids are napping.
Find something that captures your attention and sign up.
A friend or Friends
Some women prefer a list of friends while others find contentment in a handful. There has to be someone that you can invite into your weakness. Someone that hands you a tissue during an ugly cry.
It’s the kind of companion who hears a quiver in your voice then shows up with a strong coffee from your favorite roaster. You sit out under the poplar tree, slowly sipping coffee as you watch the kids play.
For homeschooling moms, the days can blend into weeks then mix into months without any regularity of female companionship. For sure, the kids receive an abundance of opportunities to socialize, but what about mom?
It’s soothing to your mom-heart to have a small reservoir of soulful companions.
Healthy Living Tips for the Homeschool Mom
Jane Austen nailed it when she wrote, “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” You know what you need better than anyone.
Sometimes, though, it takes a little trial and error to get to know what you need as a mom. In the meantime, do what comes naturally: love your husband and kids with a fierce love, homeschool (for now at least), and do what you can to nurture yourself.
It’s possible that you have some of these healthy living tips already in place. If not, run your own race and add a few in when you catch your breath.
Books quoted or referenced:
Here is the link to the recording of the event: 8 Healthy Living Tips for the Homeschool Mom. Listen here.