5 Steps to Beating Burnout

Homeschooling can be a physically exhausting undertaking. Even for those who have been “in the trenches” for years and are firmly rooted in their commitment, there are days or seasons when the homeschooling parent – and in most cases we’re talking moms – tire easily or frequently.

Burn-out is usually characterized by, among other things, low frustration tolerance, an inability to focus, loss of interest/joy in activities, and of course, low energy or enthusiasm. If you’re finding yourself suffering from some of these symptoms, here are some areas to examine and adjust so you can extinguish exhaustion and get your energy back!

Are you getting adequate quiet time first thing in the day?

I have to tell you right up front – I’m a Christian. The first thing I do each day is spend a few minutes in prayer and Bible reading. Some days it’s not much, but even then, I leave strengthened, grounded and ready to focus. No matter what your spiritual orientation, however, quiet time is useful for getting your act together and getting ready for whatever’s coming down the road that day!

What’s your schedule look like?

Are you planning too much for yourself? For the kids? One of the things that can be most exhausting is constantly trying to get the kids moving to the “next thing”. If there’s too much on the calendar, everybody moves in slow motion eventually – and having to keep pushing everybody can be lethal for mom’s energy level. Some evening, write down everything you have planned for each day of the week, and then take out your red pen and cross some stuff out! I had a good friend who always used to ask me “It’s all ‘good’, but what’s the ’best’?”

Are your sleep needs being met?

This seems like an obvious question, but in my experience, when there’s too much to do in a day, my bedtime is the first thing I push back – bad idea! You know that saying “When mama’s not happy, nobody is”? Well, when mama’s tired, she’s not happy! Take a few nights to experiment with how much sleep you need. If you’re sleep deprived already, it may take more than “a few” nights! Most health professionals agree an adult needs at least 7 hours to function well.

Take a look at your diet; consider vitamins or supplements

Even with a good diet, the foods we eat today are full of hormones, fertilizers and other chemicals. A good multi-vitamin is a must for busy moms; check with your health professional to see if other supplements may be necessary for you.

Do you get outside and get some exercise – every day?

I find that if I get a mid-afternoon slump, my best defense is a walk around the block with the kids, or raking leaves, or a jump on the trampoline. Besides the boost in energy that comes from it, I’m making fun memories with my kids.

If none of these tips work for you, it may be time to see your doctor. Chronic exhaustion may indicate a more serious issue. And your health is critical to functioning at your personal best. Homeschooling demands our best, even in the best of health, and no matter what your reasons for homeschooling, don’t you want to give your family the best you can?

Pat Fenner offers encouragement to homeschoolers at Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com. For monthly doses of encouragement, inspiration and ideas, sign up for her free newsletter “Sparks for the Flame”.

avatar Pat Fenner (23 Posts)

Pat and her husband Paul have been homeschooling for 15 years. They have 5 children: 2 in college and 11-, 9- and 6-yr olds at home. Besides homeschooling, Pat publishes Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com, where she offers creative homeschooling solutions; they also own and run a neighborhood coffee shop.

One Response to 5 Steps to Beating Burnout

  • avatar
    Sarah says:

    Thanks for this article. I’ve heard all these suggestions before but it’s easy to let these things slip when you are “in the trenches!” I enjoy this site very much. Keep blogging!

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