Preventing S.A.D. for Homeschool Moms in 13 Ways

Our kids need us to attend to their physical needs all day long. When they’re older, we make sure they are dressed for outdoor weather, when they’re younger, we help them on and off the potty, and at all ages, we make snacks and meals, and attend to their illnesses.

Our homeschooled kids tell us when they need something. On the other hand, we don’t have someone noticing what we need: we might not notice what we need ourselves either because we are busy noticing the kids’ needs.

Let’s chat S.A.D. for homeschool moms.

5 Day Wellness Challenge for Homeschool Mamas

S.A.D. for homeschool moms is a required discussion, but why?

So when the seasons begin to shift, the sun lowers in the sky, and we spend less time outdoors, we gradually lose our vim and vigour as we attempt to continue the homeschool plans and routine we excitedly created last summer.

Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) might have hit us but we aren’t practiced in recognizing that it has. The seasonal shifts affect us, but we’re not paying attention to the signs it’s affecting us.

Therefore, we might find ourselves spending more time laying on the couch scanning our phones. Or just losing our excitement for the homeschool activities we excitedly planned last summer. Maybe we’re eating a whole lot more snacks just to soothe our bored or sad souls.

But we’re most likely assuming that how we do homeschool sucks, or we need to change our routine, or we might need to change our curriculum altogether.

However, this might not be the reason we’re feeling down during this season.

According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of S.A.D. may include:
  • Feeling listless, sad, or down most of the day, nearly every day,
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed,
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish,
  • Having problems with sleeping too much,
  • Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating, and weight gain,
  • Having difficulty concentrating,
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty and/or,
  • Having thoughts of not wanting to live
So because I’ve homeschooled for nearly two decades and have lived in the northern hemisphere, I’ve noticed my physical response to the season (& also listened to many homeschool mamas share their experience around this aspect of the homeschool year, aka Slump Month season).

Consequently, what strategies should we include to address S.A.D. for homeschool moms?

First, we need to pay attention to our physical experiences, especially at this time of year. Notice how you’re feeling and what’s going on for you.

Then we need to ask ourselves, what we might need. (So what do you need?)

Therefore, I share some of the strategies I’ve used to address my needs at this time of year.

1. Learn how to include exercise every day (or almost every day).

Just get active for a half-hour a day to burn off that tension. Exercise increases a happy-making hormone in your brain, serotonin, which helps ward off depression. 

Learn more about including exercise in your homeschool here.

2. Remember, a shower a day keeps depression away.

FYI there is nothing statistically supported in my statement as far as I know, but there’s something to be said about feeling good in our physical bodies.

Bathing scrapes off the cobwebs of haziness and prepares us for the day.

Everyone’s version of grooming is different, but when we feel presentable, we feel present for our day. 

3. Consider using supplements.

Before I mothered my four kids, I was trained as a Registered Nurse in the Western medicine model, and I’ve been married to a medical physician who has worked in Western medicine for nearly three decades.

Note that naturopathic or Eastern medical approaches are not my training; however, I live in a community that encourages holistic health care and my health has reaped the benefits of this learning.

Therefore, I can’t NOT share naturopathic and Eastern medicine possibilities with you:

(Note: the information here is not intended to take the place of qualified medical advice. Please consult your physician and natural health care practitioner before implementing these ideas.)

  • Taurine, an amino sulfonic acid, is a building block of protein and has been used for perimenopause. Taurine is known to improve attention, memory, and reasoning. (All necessary characteristics for a homeschool mama).
  • Passionflower is useful in easing middle-of-the-night wakings, decreasing anxiety, helping to regulate mood, and regulating sleep-wake cycles. Passionflower enables deeper sleep and relaxation.
  • Turmeric comes from the root of a flowering plant of the ginger family. Turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, has been shown to improve major depression, promote resilience to stress, and reduce anxiety.
  • St. John’s Wort is an herb that helps the brain increase the uptake of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It can relieve anxiety. Sometimes St. John’s Wort is as effective as an SSRI (an antidepressant), so if you’re taking an SSRI, consult your physician. 
  • Theanine, when taken with caffeine, is known to enable people to switch between tasks more fluidly. (Ummm, where have you been all my parenting life?) If taken each night for eight weeks, theanine can decrease depression too.
  • 5-Htp helps with sleep and depression and is a chemical byproduct of tryptophan, increasing the brain hormone serotonin. (Or you could just consume a turkey every day; lots of tryptophan in that too). 
  • Black Cohosh is used to reduce hot flashes, excessive sweating, and night sweats.
  • Get enough iodine. You can get these through kelp, seaweed, or Lugol solution.
In my opinion, these supplements are must-haves in the northern hemisphere during the fall and winter seasons.
  • Get your Vitamin D to optimum levels. Women who have optimal levels of Vitamin D reduce their breast cancer risk by 80%. (Having a few babies will also help decrease breast cancer if you’re open to that. I’m not, ha.)
  • Include enough magnesium. This might be why some women crave dark chocolate. Magnesium helps you get a good night’s sleep and helps treat hormonal imbalances.
  • Get your Omega 3 supplements. Or regularly consume flaxseed oil or a bi-weekly consumption of Coldwater fish.

4. Alter your diet.

So, how can you do this? By consuming garden herbs, making healthier food choices, and decreasing caffeine consumption. 

I am, by no means, suggesting you choose a diet book or diet plan. I am suggesting you include just one more nutritious food a day or shift just one habit toward a healthier you!

5. Consider getting support through a Homeschool Life Coach.

You can be supported beyond your direct homeschool challenges, although I love chatting about deschooling and clarifying your homeschool vision & intentions too, there might be other reasons you might need someone to walk alongside you.

I recognize that stuff happens in life: like heartbreak, heartache, fatigue, post-partum depression, a significant move, a new baby, or even seasonal affective disorder.
  • Sometimes we just need someone to bounce off an idea or plan for a new venture.
  • Sometimes we need to get a little clarity about our intentions in a relationship dynamic.
  • Or sometimes we need to get clarity in discovering who we are, why we’re here, and the next step in this season of our lives.
  • And most of the time, we need someone to help us clarify our big emotions and triggers for our homeschooled kids.
Hey, that’s why I’m here: I offer life coaching for the homeschool mama.

So if you’re curious, join me in a free coaching consultation so we can establish if we have a rapport and clarify your present challenge.

6. Learn more about using adaptogens.

These herbs are not supplements per se. Adaptogens are used to decrease symptoms of stress, including forgetfulness, exhaustion, and sleep issues. 

  • Rhodiola is known to reduce anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that assists the adrenals by reducing stress-related fatigue.
  • Ashwagandha and holy basil are adaptogens that help our body manage stress, and correct imbalances in the neuroendocrine, and immune systems. It significantly reduces anxiety and stress.
  • Asian ginseng is an adaptogen that supports cognitive function and reduces mental fatigue, boosts mental alertness, and low energy, and improves memory.
7. Use natural substances found in your garden.

(Or your friend who sells essential oils, because we all have at least one):

  • Lemon Balm is a lemon-scented herb that generates sedative effects, is antiviral and has digestive health benefits. Lemon balm grows easily in a garden and makes a delicious tea.
  • Chamomile is an extract from German chamomile flowers. It is used to improve sleep quality and decrease nighttime awakenings. It may help with menstrual period pain as well. It makes tea too, but not so delicious.

Learn more about foraging in your yard or garden here.

8. Include aromatherapy & essential oils.

Essential oils have unique properties themselves, so let me share just three I’ve used.

  • Clary sage contains phytoestrogens and is known to regulate the menstrual cycle by balancing hormone levels naturally.
  • Lavender is popular for a reason: it smells good. Lavender also helps improve symptoms of depression, insomnia, and chronic fatigue. (There are many essential oil options — just ask your friend.)
  • Thieves are one of my favourites, as it can be used as a fragrant & effective housecleaner, but also be used in a steamer when you need a decongestant. (The only cleaning product I know that can be consumed too).

Learn more from Kristin Mercer, a homeschool mama of three and an essential oils business lady.

9. Implement deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga: life-changers IMO if you haven’t tried them already.

Therefore, anything to decrease that extra blast of anxiety you gain as a perimenopausal woman. (Have I sold you on meditation and yoga already?)

Learn more about including mindfulness techniques here.

woman wearing white sleeveless top: yoga practice is a prevention strategy for S.A.D. for homeschool moms

10. Find an acupuncturist.

Acupuncture is known to increase estrogen levels, decrease levels of FSH and LH, increase estrogen receptor protein expression inhibiting GnRH, and transform androgen into estrogen.[1] And in my personal experience, it just feels good.

Listen to an interview with a Chinese Medical Practitioner (& homeschool kiddo all grown up) and speak about the benefits of acupuncture here.

11. Consider a season of sending the kids to school.

You weren’t expecting me to share this one, probably.

But if your coping skills have turned into laying on the sofa midday because of chronic illness or depression, and if you’re unsure where the kids are, you might consider that you’re no longer up to this homeschool thing, then consider making a dramatic shift.

You don’t have to assume you’re leaving homeschool permanently.

Perhaps a season of the kids leaving for school each day and returning in the afternoon will provide you rest and reprieve long enough to gather perspective, so you’ll want to homeschool. 

You can read more about Happy Homeschool Hygge Practices to Offset the Winter Blues.

12. Or perhaps just shifting towards a more unschooly method might benefit all of you during this season (and beyond).
Here are a few resources for you if you’re trying to deschool your homeschool:
13. Perhaps you need to build and create a supportive community that will accept the authentic you.

Then you’re invited to join the Patreon Support Group!

Why join the Homeschool Mama Self-Care Patreon Community?

Homeschool Mama Patreon Support Group

S.A.D. for homeschool moms can be something we address and overcome.

Finally, what one strategy can you make right now toward caring for your own physical body (not just the kids)?

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Teresa Wiedrick

I help homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.