It's hard to homeschool when your joy is missing. Maybe you are schooling without one of your kids because they're going to college or to school for the first time. I've been there and will be missing my Sam who started college last week. Maybe your homeschool friends have moved or put their kids in school. I'm dealing with that, too! Or maybe you are pregnant, have a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, or all of those and you're just worn out. Maybe something else is going on, but whatever it is has been stealing your joy. In this episode we'll discuss how to get it back.
But first, I'd love to have you follow me on Instagram. I've mentioned our kitchen project. That's where I share pictures. We have the floors and the counters done and I couldn't be more thrilled. In a few weeks I'll be sharing pictures of the backsplash and finally the cabinet refacing. I'm Psychowith6 on Instagram and it's the next best thing to inviting you over. If you're a homeschooler, I'll be happy to follow you, too.
Teaching Tip of the Week
is online unit studies. These no-prep required unit studies from Beth Napoli are incredible. I plan to use the election unit study with my kids this fall. It includes websites, videos, and projects all on a safe platform for kids. Just click and go. To find online unit studies, go to Psychowith6.com/save. You can find a famous artists study, a solar system study, and season studies as well.
The Organized Homeschool Challenge of the Week
How to Get Your Joy Back
Sometimes you don't even know that your joy has gone missing. Day after day a little more of it can be lost. Before we continue, I have to share my perspective on joy. Joy is a fruit of the spirit. Joy isn't happiness that comes and goes according to our circumstances. We can have joy in the midst of the worst circumstances. And joy is made complete by overcoming trials. True joy isn't experienced when everything goes our way day after day. But there are times in our lives when our joy seems to have gone missing. That's what I want to address today.
The first thing we can do to get our joy back may surprise you. It's sleep. We don't need research to tell us that sleep deprivation makes us cranky. But chronic sleep deprivation can be more serious, leading to anxiety and depression. There was a time when I told myself I only needed 7 hours of sleep. I wanted one more hour a day to get things done. But I need at least eight to feel my best. As often as I can, I don't use an alarm. I sleep as long as I need it. What I have found is that depending on my cycle, I sleep more or less than eight hours.
You may be thinking, “That's great for you, Melanie. I would love to get eight hours of sleep, but I can't.” I've been at that stage of life, too. My recommendation is to nap when your kids nap. Yes, you're giving up kid-free productivity time then, but you'll get more done simply because you've had enough sleep. You can ask your spouse or hire a mother's helper to give you kid-free productivity time when you're well rested.
The amount of sleep isn't the only way sleep can help us get our joy back, however. We also need to keep our sleep times consistent. I have not been doing well with this and it shows. Few of us would have our kids on an erratic sleep schedule, going to bed at 8 and then midnight. But many homeschool moms do this to themselves. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, not even changing it much on the weekends. That's challenging, but when we change our sleep patterns, our bodies struggle. Our mood suffers as a result.
The second way we can get our joy back is to exercise. I don't just mean a 20-minute workout in the morning although that's a great place to start. Now that I don't have little ones to chase after, I have found that I am not moving as much as I need to. I do a lot of sitting. I have written about how my deskcycle helps me get movement in as I write. I have also shared the Move app that gets me and the kids moving every half hour to an hour. But I need more. My energy level really drops in the afternoon, so I am going to go for a walk then too, weather permitting. Even shopping is a great way to get steps in. Exercise is the most powerful mood lifter I know and it's free! You may want to consider getting a fitness monitor so you can see if you are moving enough. The added benefit of exercise is that you will sleep better.
The third way we can get our joy back is to listen to music. In the Bible we read that Saul called on David to play for him when he was in a sour mood. Music can lift our spirits. I always listen to music when I walk. I love my Mpow Cheetah bluetooth headphones because they stay in my ears when nothing else did. Yesterday I put on the Feelin' Good Spotify playlist while the kids and I decluttered. I couldn't believe what a great mood I was in as a result. This is an oldies playlist that may not be right for you, but find music that lifts your spirits. Play it and dance with the kids. Or play it while you do chores.
The fourth way we can get our joy back is by doing something new. Newness in the Bible is associated with joy. My daughter had a severe ankle injury this summer that prevents her from doing the gymnastics she loves. That was discouraging. But she is doing something new. She is on a beginners volleyball team with homeschooled girls. She isn't doing anything to aggravate the ankle, but is really enjoying it. I do something new every year. This year we have new curriculum and new co-op families. If your joy is lagging, try something new in your homeschool — a new curriculum, schedule, or activity. It can help you get through a low period.
The fifth way we can get our joy back is to worship. Last Sunday at church, the pastor was so full of joy. I marveled at this because he is a man who lost his wife and was diagnosed with cancer himself last year. He reminded us of the reason we can have joy despite our circumstances: Jesus has taken our reproach away. He is our hope, our Friend, our Savior. When we worship Him in song, in prayer, in Word, we come away with renewed joy. We see the big picture. We remember that our story has a happy ending.
The final way we can get our joy back is to fight for it. If the enemy can convince us that our joy is gone, he can take ground in our homeschools, our families, and even our faith. We have to be intentional about keeping the gift of joy. We can meditate on Scripture, pray for it and for the self-control to take the other five steps I've mentioned. Fighting for our joy means that we stay in community. We share with others. We talk about what's going on and we ask for prayer. We would love to have you join our community at homeschoolscopes.tv. It definitely helps me maintain my joy.
But fighting for our joy may include getting professional help. I did an interview with the Fletchers on Homeschooling in Real Life on depression. A mom who listened said that she was going to get help. She saw herself struggling and knew she needed to fight. Taking medication or learning skills to deal with depression and anxiety isn't weakness; it's strength. It takes courage to admit that you need help.
Today's Action Steps
Follow me on Instagram at Psychowith6. Check out online unit studies at psychowith6.com/save. Regain your joy by getting enough sleep and exercise. Turn on some uplifting tunes. Try something new in your homeschool. Worship God and praise Him in song or prayer. And fight for your joy. Join our community at homeschoolscopes.tv. Ask your pastor for a recommendation for a doctor or counselor near you if you need professional help.
This episode of The Homeschool Sanity Show has been brought to you by Grammar Galaxy, an elementary language arts curriculum kids love.
Have a happy homeschool week!