It took me a few years to be intentional about self-nurturing practices, but I’m mostly there now.
Realizing that I don’t have an endless supply of energy, organization and happiness (that I need nurturing too) was a useful moment to remember on my road to homeschool happiness.
So what do I do to self-nurture me?
Drink coffee. I’m sorry this is cliché, but I’m one of those early morning comatose mothers. I write this coherently at 10:39 am, after a night of tending to my own illness, and aware that my four are hacking in their bedrooms with low grade fevers. I am now finally awake. It only takes one good cup of coffee a day, maybe two, but coffee is required. (ps this was written years ago, not in the Year of the COVID).
Morning UV light exposure. Where I live in the mountains, cloud cover is a persistent friend in the winter season. We may have year round phenomenal views, but some days we also have cloud cover so thick I can’t determine the types of trees in my forest front yard. Sitting in front of a UV Light for fifteen minutes, an oral dose of Vitamin D and Vitamin B complex assist my brain in finding happy through this season.
Oh, and also getting outside. Seems counterintuitive to go outside when one is enveloped by that kind of cloud cover, but after I practiced this daily for a while, I understood. Commune with the world around you. Somehow it works. Find reasons to be outside: cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking do the trick for me in the thick overcast.
Go to the art gallery. Okay, so I don’t have the Louvre or the Met available to me, but I do have art books from those places. Discovering the soothing effect of staring at a beautiful piece of art in those actual places energizes me: my unschooled fine arts degree. Every morning, I research a piece of art. My ‘school’ before the kids’ ‘school’. Love.
Study composers while I build my Spotify list. Similar to art books, I have a compendium of musical composers with historical tidbits and pieces that they performed. Love this stuff. Guess who missed out on their fine arts degree? Feeds my soul: good music.
Meditate with a colouring book. I wouldn’t even believe I’d ever have written that sentence a few years ago. This practice only takes a few minutes. I focus my mind on thinking the right thoughts, and also produce a pretty page. (My version of Monet). Alternatively, I’ve also turned on my meditation oasis podcast and sat quietly as Mary Mattox leads me to quieting my mind.
Choose to reframe my thoughts. I do mindful moments throughout my days, just to check in with myself. “How am I feeling? Am I triggered by something? What is the trigger? What is my feeling? Is there an underlying need below my feeling?” And of course, can I reframe my feelings? (Cause I usually can in some way and it always improves my happy factor and my relationships when I do.)