In moments when I’m experiencing a whirlwind of emotions, like homeschool stress, frustration, or overwhelm, I look into my mirror and speak to myself. I discover there’s a distressed, anxious human being on the other side of the mirror.
And you know what happens when I witness someone’s anxiety, fear, or frustration? I feel compassion. Even if it’s me staring back.
I can’t deny the intensity of my human experience when I look into my mirror: I see her blue-grey eyes and her nearly 50-year-old crinkled creases. Pretending to herself that she’s not stressed won’t help her. Telling herself it’s not a big deal won’t help her. Because pretending requires her to function in two realms, the real realm that lives below the fake realm: and living life in two realms is too much work!
When I accept my authentic humanness and embrace my internal storms when they arise, I can begin to navigate through that stressful, anxious, or overwhelmed storm.
In conversation with many homeschool moms these last few weeks, I recognize I need to delve into strategies to help you reduce your stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
There has been horrendous violence and suffering, income decline, increasing grocery & energy prices, and loss of a special someone through suicide and other causes; there are the homeschool mom challenges, like managing our post-partum anxiety & depression, perimenopausal rollercoasters, seasonal affective disorders, brain health challenges, relationship challenges, unrealistic expectations, perfectionistic tendencies, chronic illness, and whatever else you want to put on this list.
We still have experiences of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm that challenge us in the four walls of our homeschool lives.
This podcast episode is an opportunity for you: you get to decide if you’ll allow the present challenges to be a catalyst for your growth or succumb to unhealthy tactics to self-soothe that could result in your addiction, anxiety, or depression overwhelming you.
The homeschool mom life is a journey that tests our mettle, brings to the surface our natural penchants for stress, overwhelm, and anxiety, with or without all the other challenges in our world.
So I offer practical tips for homeschool moms facing similar challenges: to help them deal with their homeschool stress, overwhelm, and anxiety in their homeschool life and beyond:
Four questions to ask yourself to assess your level of stress in your life and your ability to implement useful strategies that serve you when you are stressed:
How often do you make time to address homeschool stress, and what specific activities do you routinely engage in?
Do you find it manageable to set realistic expectations for your homeschool life when you’re having especially challenging days?
What’s your current approach to time management, and how does it help reduce your feelings of overwhelm?
How do you maintain a positive mindset and cultivate hope, even in challenging situations?
Here are 23 Strategies to Tame the Homeschool Stress Dragon…
1. Prioritize self-care to address homeschool stress:
Set aside time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day.
Recognize that being present for your children doesn’t mean being with them 24/7.
It’s important to take breaks, both for your own well-being and to ensure that the time you spend with your kids is quality time. Delegate tasks, and use the extra time to focus on self-care, recharge, and activities that bring you joy.
2. Set realistic expectations (or at least try!):
Clarify what your unrealistic goals or expectations are (write down the things you think might not be realistic, you’re probably right!)
Recognize that there will be good days and bad days, and it’s okay to adjust your plans as needed. You’re not always going to have a clean kitchen (twenty-five years into the family life and I know that you really won’t, so why keep trying for perfection?)
3. Expect positive things:
Cultivate a mindset of possibility & hope. Even in tough situations, look for the good.
People are helping people. Some people are willing to get curious, listen, and learn about others’ experiences. Some people are willing to go out of their way to speak truth, do kindness, and be a support.
Consider that what you’re learning today might benefit you tomorrow.
4. Time management:
Create a structure or routine that includes all the things you want to do. Make sure you include margins for breaks and downtime. Efficient time management can help reduce feelings of overwhelm: ask me how I know. Consider time-blocking and to-do lists.
5. Reach out for support:
You don’t have to do it all alone. Connect with other homeschool parents for support and advice.
I know an online support group for homeschool moms: these can be valuable resources.
But if you’re feeling consistently overwhelmed or anxious, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist or life coach can provide guidance and strategies for managing stress and anxiety.
(If you want to have a conversation with me, a Certified Life Coach, just send me a message and we can decide how we can create a plan to help you overcome your overwhelm).
Join me in the Patreon Homeschool Mama Support Group & drop in weekly to the Homeschool Mom Room to discuss all these things.
6. Delegate tasks:
Share responsibilities with your partner, if possible, or involve older children in household chores and childcare. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends.
Determine which tasks can be delegated to others.
- Can your kids take on certain chores or responsibilities?
- Can your partner help with specific tasks?
- Consider seeking support from family or friends.
7. Learn to say no:
Avoid over-committing to extracurricular activities or social engagements. Less is always more in a homeschool mom’s life. (And the kids will be happier too by the way!)
8. Mindfulness and relaxation:
Practice mindfulness techniques, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to manage stress and anxiety. These practices can help you stay in the present moment and help you feel more satisfied.
9. Burn off homeschool stress with physical activity:
Regular exercise is an excellent stress & tension reliever.
Find time for physical activities that you enjoy, whether it’s a jump on the trampoline, a dance workout from YouTube, a dance party on Friday night with the whole family, or a with the dog simple walk.
10. Educational resources:
Utilize online resources and educational tools to make your homeschool experience more efficient and enjoyable. (You can find an online math program that teaches and tests our kids).
11. Plan for breaks:
Incorporate planned breaks into your homeschool routine. A week off or a few days of lighter work can help both you and your kids recharge (and continue to enjoy the routine).
And if you have a fairly consistent routine, you’ll feel more at ease to take a few days off.
12. Celebrate small wins:
Acknowledge and celebrate your kids (& your) small achievements and milestones in your homeschool journey, like a 100 Day party. Positive reinforcement can boost your confidence and reduce your stress.
13. Keep a journal when you experience homeschool stress:
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a helpful way to process your emotions and identify patterns that contribute to stress. It can also serve as a way to track your progress.
Check out the journals I’ve designed for homeschool mamas:
- A Daily Homeschool Mama Journal for You!
- Build your Boundaries Journaling Workbook
- Deschool your Homeschool Journaling Workbook
- Grappling with Overwhelm Journaling Workbook
- Big Emotions Journal for the Homeschool Mom
14. Practice flexibility:
Homeschooling allows for flexibility, but you have to choose to do it! If a particular curriculum or approach isn’t working, be willing to adjust and try something new (you’ll be happier if you do).
15. Scheduled deep breathing breaks:
Set aside specific times when you’ll pause and take a few deep, calming breaths. You can schedule this into your daily phone reminder. When the alarm rings, take a breath and ask yourself how you are feeling.
16. Realistic daily intentions:
Each day, set clear, achievable intentions for what you and your children can realistically accomplish. (You won’t know unless you time block: you can use the Time Audit to clarify this).
Instead of creating a giant to-do list, consider what is most important for that day and what you can actually complete. This approach helps you focus on priorities and reduces the pressure to do it all.
By managing your daily goals effectively, you can enhance productivity and minimize stress.
17. Embrace acceptance and adaptability:
(Or at least try).
Acknowledge that homeschooling may not always look like what you initially envisioned, and that’s okay.
It’s important to accept that circumstances and challenges can change. Embrace the idea that adapting to new situations and being flexible in your approach is a powerful tool for reducing stress.
By recognizing that your homeschooling journey may evolve, you can navigate unexpected changes with a more positive and resilient mindset (ps resilience is born from practice, practice, practice).
18. Self-compassion dialogue:
When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, engage in a self-compassion dialogue.
Treat yourself as you would a friend or client who’s going through a challenging time.
Remind yourself that difficulties are temporary, that things will improve, and that you’ll establish new routines. This self-compassionate approach can help you maintain a hopeful outlook and reduce self-criticism.
Learn more about self-compassion here:
- Nurture Resilience & Big Emotions with Lindsey Casselman of Schoolio Learning
- Homeschool Help for Mom: Dealing with Her Big Emotions
- 5 Ways We Can Include Self-Compassion for Homeschool Moms
- Self-Compassion for Homeschool Mamas Course to Nurture You
19. Mirror self-talk:
When experiencing intense emotions, address yourself with the same care and understanding you’d offer to a friend.
Use the mirror as a tool to guide your self-dialogue in a constructive, supportive manner. When you’re looking into your own eyes, you’ll be kinder, because you notice that a human is looking right back at you.
This approach can help you reframe your thoughts and emotions more optimistically.
ps I have a Self-Compassion for Homeschool Mama course designed to teach you tools to do exactly this.
Self-Compassion for Homeschool Mamas Course to Nurture You
The Self-Compassion for Homeschool Mamas course teaches homeschooling mothers how to cultivate Self-Compassion, develop useful self-awareness practices, and address big emotions. By modeling healthy communication and emotional regulation, moms can nurture themselves and their children in meaningful ways.
20. Acceptance and non-complaining:
Avoid dwelling on complaints and negative aspects of your situation (I know this is easier to say and more challenging to do).
If you catch yourself on a path of non-acceptance and complaining, redirect your thoughts and refocus on what you can change or improve. This shift in perspective can help you manage your emotions more effectively.
If you’re looking for more affirmations, consider checking out the Homeschool Mama Daily Affirmations here.
21. Breathing techniques for homeschool stress:
Implement deep breathing practices to calm your physiological systems. Ten rounds of deep breathing can significantly reduce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety by slowing down your body’s stress response.
Consider using these breathing & meditation practices:
- A Meditation to Reset
- Beautiful Relaxing Music for Relaxation & Stress Relief
- 5 Minute Meditation to Re-center
- Box breathing relaxation
- Homeschool Mama Breathwork Playlist
22. Morning self-check:
Give yourself a numerical rating to gauge your emotional state, allowing you to be more aware of your feelings and adjust your approach accordingly.
(Just like you do when your phone alarm dings, but before you start the day).
23. Identify overwhelming tasks:
Make a list of all the tasks and responsibilities that contribute to your stress and anxiety. These could include homeschooling, household chores, work, and more.
Determine when (or if) they need to be completed.
Determine how much of your life you want to spend doing them. Recognize that there will always be something to do, and you just need to schedule a little time each week to do it.
You’re not alone in facing these challenges. Many homeschool moms experience similar emotions, and it feels more supportive to homeschool alongside others.
By applying these techniques to address your homeschool stress, you can navigate your homeschool lifestyle. You’ve got this, homeschool mama!
**Shayla Peterson is an experienced licensed psychotherapist who works with overwhelmed and overthinking women. You can find Shayla @ctrlshiftbalance
Grappling with Overwhelm Journaling Workbook
Journal questions & workbook that aid in your self-exploration to help address your needs, gain satisfying relationships and shift your homeschool perspective.
This can be a self-coaching workbook can be a self-coaching tool to help you discover the barriers getting in the way of your satisfying homeschool life, create a plan to address your relationships, needs & homeschools, and thereby, shift your homeschool experience.
People also ask:
- How to Develop Boundaries in your Homeschool Life
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- How to Address Worry & Overthinking for the Homeschool Mama
- Practical (& useful) steps to dealing with boundaries in your homeschool
- 7 ways to find quiet, build boundaries & handle overwhelm
Call to Adventure by Kevin MacLeod