'If homeschooling has tested your sanity, you are not alone'
- Credit: Tom Duncan
Chrishall yoga teacher Becky Duncan has tips on how 'superhero' parents delivering homeschooling can look after their mental health, while getting to grips with mental arithmetic and more...
If homeschooling parents could be a superhero, I think we would be very impressed with the superpowers we have all mustered over the last two months.
The teacher, the parent, the dinner lady, the cleaner, the best friend, the entertainer, the psychologist, the sports coach, the agony aunt, the entertainer - so many different roles and we just can’t be good at them all, all of the time.
So, if like me, homeschooling has tested some of these superpowers and your sanity then please don’t feel alone! I can freely admit that after one month of homeschooling - in quite frankly the grimmest month of the year (mud season) - I was, let’s say a little tearful and overwhelmed.
Alongside feeling a little guilty, I have felt laden with feelings of fear, anxiety, topped off with a huge sense of cabin fever craving some head space and a minute to think.
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To all fellow mums, dads, grandparents and all the other wonderful literations of the support bubbles that have struggled, please know that you’re amazing, you all have done such a fantastic job so far - not the day job but the superhero stuff on top of everything else.
And I just wanted to share something I have found helpful in these challenging times, something that made me take off my super hero cloak and feel a little more human again.
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Gina Gomez de la Cuesta, a fellow parent and clinical psychologist, reminded me that we are not alone but also that is OK to want the head space and time out, in fact it’s actually healthy.
Her number one tip to help your child and families mental health was to actually look after yourself and make sure that you prioritise getting the breaks, taking time out, collecting yourself and I have to say I completely agree.
In fact how can we be the pillars of love, acceptance and support for our dependants, if we are not looking after ourselves. Kindness and love are emotions that we all have inside of us and don’t cost a penny but it’s a well that needs to be replenished.
So let’s think about that a bit. When can we make time? How can we make time? What does that time look like? Most of all you need to recognise that its important, don’t skip it, but plan it, book it in and it's OK to ask others to help.
I have recently been reading El Harod’s Miracle Morning, which has some great tips on positive affirmations we can use at the beginning of the day. I find it particularly helpful for my time out to take a minute, consider the intention and visualise projecting it over the day. I then find it serves me really well for overcoming adversity and scene setting my day ahead (my husband also listens to it on Blinkist if you are too short on time to read).
If it's five minutes or an hour or a day, stopping, switching off, downing tools so you can get some space and perhaps change your own internal dialogue - to shift your perspective into a more positive state via a consideration or affirmation - is time well spent.
Replenish your inner well and sometimes when others are demanding you to put on a cape and save the day the best thing to do is hit pause and take a break. Share the load, talk it through and make it a priority to think of your own wellbeing.
El Harod says: “I know that where I am in my life, now, is both temporary and exactly where I need to be to learn what I must learn, so I that can become the person I need to be to create the life I truly want.
"Even when life is difficult—especially when life is difficult—the present moment is always an opportunity for me to learn, grow, and become better than I've ever been before. Just as others have done, I can turn my adversity into an advantage by accepting all that is out of my control—past, present, and future—so that I can give myself freedom from emotional pain, be at peace, and create the life I truly want.”
I hope you can read these words and feel resonance with my point but mostly I just want everyone to look at the positive and feel proud of what mammoth task you have all overcome over the last few weeks and months of this lockdown.
Remember you are doing an amazing job in difficult circumstances and day by day just try and take a few steps to look after your physical and emotional wellbeing. I know I am now and I wish you all peace and namaste.