Tools for Self-Care for Homeschooling Mamas

I’ve never done well with New Year’s resolutions. Not only do I usually abandon them, incomplete and unfulfilled, they also tend to contribute to my tendency to feel overwhelmed and under productive. Feeling bad about yourself is not a good motivator for self-care! Instead, try one of these tools for self-care for homeschooling Moms.

I find much more success when I start small. And really what I need is to focus and find a way to stay the course, stay inspired. 

Last year for the first time, I chose one little word to guide me through the year. My word was “hope.”  (Here’s the post about last year’s word, To Things That Have Never Been.) Of course last January, I wondered what in the world that word “hope” might bring me. I actually remember thinking “why did I even pick ‘hope’? All seems to be going fine.”

Come February when my autoimmune conditions reared their ugly heads in a major flare up of symptoms that I’ve been dealing with ever since, I was glad to have my word “hope” as my steady companion.

Feeling bad about ourselves is not a good starting point for self care! Instead, try one of these tools for self-care for homeschooling Moms.

This year, my word is “self-care.” I had decided, of course, that I wasn’t going to pick a word this year. For some reason, I wasn’t feeling called to the practice. And then as I was singing a beautiful song outdoors around a fire circle on the Winter Solstice, the words “the song of my soul” came pouring through my being. Right then, I knew that 2015 was going to be a year of intense self-care for me.

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I am in the middle of reading a fascinating book, The Last Best Cure, in which author Donna Jackson Nakazawa calls chronic illness and her autoimmune disease in particular, her “joy thief.” 

And oh, how I can relate. Her journey described in the book takes her to Johns Hopkins Medical Center where she works with her doctor to reset her brain and reclaim her joy. And that will be my journey this year, exploring and deepening my practices of yoga, meditation and prayer, and acupuncture to help restore my “rest and digest” nervous system.

As Mamas, we often put ourselves last. And over years and years (for me, twenty-five years since my first child was born), this tendency takes its toll. Couple that with my body’s response to stress and its propensity for autoimmune dysfunction, and I am in need of some serious self-care.

How do we accomplish self-care as mothers? Here are some of my new tools that I am currently using. I hope you’ll share the tools that work for you in the comments section below.

Tools for Self-Care for Homeschooling Moms

  • Yoga: Jen Hoffman at Healthy Moving is also a homeschooler and she offers a great coaching program. I highly recommend Jen’s Coaching & Challenge Program if you want to weave more movement into your life on a daily basis. Jen is on a mission to get people moving and working on proper body alignment in the process. Her Healthy Moving Podcast is really inspiring, too. (I also take local yoga classes (at Green Tara Yoga in Cleveland) and encourage you to search for a studio that offers restorative yoga, a great way to relax and renew.)
  • Meditation: I have rediscovered Health Journeys with Belleruth Naparstek. She has recordings for all sorts of health challenges. These days, I do the morning meditation and affirmations from the Meditations to Relieve Stress CD, and find the Healthful Sleep CD super helpful as well. Belleruth’s voice is so soothing and I really notice a difference in how I feel from listening regularly to these meditations.
  • Inner Work:  Rudolf Steiner talks about the inner work of the teacher (and of human beings) as being critical. One of my favorite verses of Steiner’s, that is great for a morning meditation or just to recite before greeting our children for the day, is Inner QuietAnd if you want a simple introduction to inner work, check out Start Now: A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises. This book includes simple instructions for the meditation exercises that Steiner suggests we practice daily. 

When my older kids were little and I was new to Waldorf, I wasn’t totally clear on what inner work was. So it got shoved to the back burner. For years, my main form of meditation and prayer has come through singing with a small women’s group. This has always really filled me up and kept me going, to sit and sing every Wednesday night with a supportive group of women. I also have found that I need some simple practices that I can do on my own on a daily basis. 

I often wonder if Steiner had been female and had been a Mama, how his writings on Inner Work might have been different. His approach is really one of training our will and our thinking. Self-care begins in a similar place. We need to find a way to practice a little bit each day. Even if we can only start with 10 minutes.

My tendency is to go all in and then fizzle out. So, I am heeding some wise advice this time – to focus on one small change at a time, one per month. For January, my focus is on prayer and meditation. I start each day with a meditation walk and some affirmations to help retrain my negative thinking. Next will come the practice of yoga where my goal will be a class at least once a week, and multiple yoga breaks throughout each day.

Are you getting enough sleep? For support, check out my post on 11 Solutions for Healthy Sleep

What does your practice of self-care look like? If you want some help creating a plan for yourself, consider scheduling a Mentor Session with me.

Blessings to you on your journey toward self-care.

 

14 thoughts on “Tools for Self-Care for Homeschooling Mamas

  1. So great Jean. We can only give when the well at least has a few buckets of water left in it. Here is to filling the well in 2015. I am right there with you with this intention!
    Love, Alison

    1. Yes! We need at least a few buckets!!! How often do we hear this, as mothers? But really doing it is another story. And even launching those young adults takes tons of energy! Nobody ever told us! So glad to have you with me on the path.

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I suffer with chronic inflammation and today was a bad day! I practice (half-heartedly) my own yoga at home already but after reading your post have been inspired to really gear it up and do it with real intention! So I’ve joined Stay At Home Yoga and am looking forward to my first session in the morning! Many, many thanks to you and I hope you start to feel a little better soon. ☺️

    1. Kristy-lee,
      Thank you so much for your comment. It warms my heart (and it’s 9 degrees here, today!) to know that this post has helped another. After all, that’s the intention. So thank you for being here and thank you for commenting. So glad you’re giving Stay at Home Yoga a try; Jen is fabulous at what she does, knowledgeable and encouraging. I’ll be thinking of you on your yoga mat; I’m grateful that we can send each other virtual support! May you have a sweet and healthy new year.

  3. Ummm . . . can we be in Austin already?! Because, really, there is too much to say here. I love the image I have of you and “the song of my soul” – hearing your sweet voice and picturing your lovely face.

    To the phrase “self-care” I would also add the duality of “self-forgetting” versus “self-remembering” to the conversation. Remembering our self – our needs, our soul, our spirit. Yes, we need to do this.

    And Joy! Oh my!! Mrs. Manzer and I had a talk about joy the other day. (I will admit that expletives were involved.) But I am with you about reclaiming the (*&^%$#) joy, because somewhere along the way I have lost mine in regard to homeschooling.

    Six weeks, my sweet.
    Until then . . .
    xoS

    1. Wow, yes and yes! Love the idea of self-forgetting and self-remembering. I am so there. Another great book I’ve just started reading is Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. And thank you for recommending Andrea Schroeder; her interviews this week are truly inspiring. Untangling all those tangles is way more complicated than we think! Hilarious about you and our friend Mrs. Manzer; I can just hear you two (expletives and all). Gotta figure out, whatever it looks like, how to reclaim our joy! It certainly has a way to go underground from time to time!!! Hugs to you.

        1. I highly recommend Tara Brach. She’s a Buddhist meditation teacher. I can only read a few pages at a time because I cry on practically every page!

  4. So helpful, Jean! Once a mother, always a mother! First there’s young adults to launch, then middle aged, empty nesters to encourage, grandchildren to help launch, and….. Great to have help like yours!

    1. Thanks, Barbara! Once a mother, always a mother for sure! All the phases our children go through, their whole lives, involve us. Motherhood is both a blessing and a vocation, requiring a great deal of energy and dedication. It just shifts over time, doesn’t it? I’ve learned so much about this from you, my friend and mentor! And since motherhood continues throughout life, all the more reason to find our joy now, as we go along. We shouldn’t put it off for later!

  5. To sing! Oh, yes! That really does do a soul good!

    2015 looks like it will be a year of resetting, inside and out, over here as well. No group singing at this time, just me when I’m alone in the car, or humming to myself as I walk. 🙂

    1. Yes, singing anytime, anywhere is good for the soul! I’m sure of it. Resetting is a necessity every so often, isn’t it?! And for us Mamas, we need to remember to factor in a look at how we’re taking care of ourselves along with everyone else!

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