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Homeschooling with Depression, Part I – Survival Tips

Happy faces group. 3D rendering

I have been dealing with depression* off and on for much of my life, and although people don’t talk about it much, I’m beginning to learn that many homeschooling moms struggle with the same issue. Sometimes we struggle for a season; sometimes we struggle for longer. I’ve found that there are definitely certain things that I rely on to help me get through my days.**

Simple Pleasures

It helps to have something simple that you can find joy in. Even when we have trouble finding true joy, sometimes there are small things that make us smile. In the summer, I make lemonade and put fresh mint in it. In the winter, I take hot bubble baths at night. Because I love my purple pens, I only write with purple. I light candles that smell pretty and make me smile. What are simple things you enjoy? Do them.

Some Is Better Than None

Often we are racked with guilt over what we are not doing, thinking if we’re not reaching our goals, we’ve failed. It is important to remember that some is better than none!

When homeschooling our children, some math is better than none. Some read-aloud is better than none. Concentrate on what you are doing instead of what you’re not doing but think you should be.

Success Lists

Some people call these to-do lists. I call them success lists. The key is to keep the tasks achievable. And if you accomplish something that was not written on your list, for heaven’s sake, write it down and check it off! You will feel better when you see what you have done.

Spot Check Schoolwork

Correcting schoolwork is overwhelming. Especially in grade school, you can release yourself from the need to correct every paper. Spot checking is fine. By checking every few days, or every few problems, you will save yourself time and still be able to determine if your child is learning.

Use Your Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is my new best friend for a few reasons. One is that I can make dinner earlier in the day when I have energy before I am completely worn out. Another is that it allows dinner time to be more flexible  and thus less stressful. Besides those reasons, my slow cooker recipes are normally well-rounded meals with everything all in one pot. My favorite recipe is King Ranch Chicken, but be sure to check out all the wonderful options at Crockin’ Girls.

Move More

Professionals say exercise. I think that’s a scary word, so I just try to move more. Whatever you call it, it has been proven to help depression. So get out. Walk around the block. The sunlight will help. Or play a dance game on your game console.

Get Off Facebook!

Facebook can be like reading a thousand Christmas letters all at once where everyone shares their achievements and successes and we rarely see their struggles. We automatically compare ourselves to our Facebook friends and feel we’re failing. When I am struggling, I turn off my Facebook account and take a break until I can handle it again.

A Team of Friends

Find a few friends you can rely on. I have a small handful of friends who really know me and walk through life with me. I’ve found that as much as I sometimes don’t want to share, I need to have more than one friend I can open up to, or, sadly, I risk burning my friends out. So carefully build a team of close friends and be real with them. Sometimes just bringing your problems into the light makes the load lighter.

Seek Help

If you think you’re dealing with depression, it is important to get help. Talk to your doctor. Find a Christian counselor. Your church might have a Stephen Ministry which can help you through difficult times.  You might even consider medications for short periods of time. Don’t try to suffer through depression alone!

*If you’re not sure if you have depression, The Mayo Clinic has some great information.

**I am not a doctor or a counselor. These are just practical tips to help you get through your days. If you are suffering from depression, please see a health care professional.

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