Homeschool mom depression is a real thing. It can come and go, it can be mild or debilitating. You are not alone, and there are healthy, manageable ways to cope.
Homeschool Mom Depression: How to Cope
Today, I put my 3 1/2-year-old down for a nap, giving her the normal hugs and kisses and pulling up the sheets. She said something to me that made my heart ache even worse than it usually does.
“Mommy, don’t be sad anymore, ok?”
You see, I have suffered from depression and anxiety off and on throughout many stages of my life. I usually keep it a quiet, personal struggle. However, my sensitive child picks up on it.
Earlier today, I was trying to fix a personal, internal mess. When I go through depression and anxiety, I often feel overwhelmed and out of control. So I over-correct and tend to be obsessively controlling. Ultimately, my behavior affects my children’s sense of security. I always regret my outward behavior, which doesn’t make my depression any better. It’s like a downward spiral.
Homeschool mom depression is tough to deal with. We feel like we have to hold our emotions in, keep our act together, and remain strong and happy for the sake of our kids. But inside we feel sad, isolated, frustrated, and guilty. The guilt is the worst when we come to the realization that we’ve said or done something that has hurt our children’s hearts.
How to Cope with Homeschool Mom Depression
If our depression isn’t healed, we end up with overwhelming feelings of insecurity, doubt, self-pity, and isolation. We feel like a failure when our emotions get the best of us. We simply burst.
There are ways to cope with homeschool mom depression. Here are some things that I’ve found have helped me over the years.
- Talking to someone. When my depression gets really bad, I have found comfort in talking to a trusted mentor or counselor. Sometimes I’ve sought professional counseling services. Other times I’ve talked with a pastor at my church. They usually help me with my perspective, and just talking to someone usually helps me get through the hard times.
- Prayer. Praying usually does wonders for my depression. At times when I’ve gotten down on my knees, cried out to God, and asked him to heal me, I’ve felt immediately better. Other times, for reasons I don’t understand, the relief takes a while to come. But I never regret crying out to God and telling him all the things that overwhelm me. Eventually, I know I will understand why I suffer. And I know that God is by my side, even when I don’t feel Him in the midst of my depression.
- Journaling. Write down all your thoughts and keep them in a safe place. Sometimes going back and re-reading your journal can actually be a helpful thing. As you begin to heal, write down what helped. After you’ve gotten through a dark hour (which you inevitably will, I promise!), it can help to go back when you feel better and see how your thoughts may have been irrational or unhelpful. Seeing how you coped, what things helped, and how your emotional state fluctuates can help you in future times. Be sure to write down good thoughts and memories too – so you can see and count your blessings during the hardest times.
- Medication. There have been times in my life that I’ve needed antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication to help me get through my days. They usually relieve my symptoms and help me to function better with my daily tasks.
- Take a homeschool break. Depending on the laws and regulations in your state, usually, it is ok to take a little break from homeschooling every now and then. If you are feeling overwhelmed and burdened with emotional instability, homeschooling can add to that. Give your children a little bit of time off, and you’ll benefit as well. You can always catch up later, or just skip a few days of your curriculum. Or, take a field trip and call it a school day. If you don’t have the energy for a field trip, try watching some educational movies.
- Read. Self-help books can give you the perspective you need to face your depression. Reading encouraging books that speak to your personal struggles will boost your will and determination, and help you learn different ways to cope and promote healing. Here is my referral link for Seeing Depression Through the Eyes of Grace. It is a great book for Christian women.
- Exercise. The simple act of moving can boost your mood within just 30 minutes. Pull up an exercise video on YouTube, or take a walk around the block. You can even do most exercise activities alongside your children. Sometimes just getting your blood pumping can renew your spirits.
- Mom’s Night Out. Feeling isolated is the worst. There is nothing better than confiding in a friend over coffee or dessert. Get together with a good mom friend and share some of your struggles with each other. Share your heartache, and let her pray with you or just listen. Ask her how she is doing, and pray and be a listening ear for her as well. You’ll both come away feeling better from having a mom’s night out away from the kids and doing something “grown-up” together.
- Work on a hobby. Refocusing your thoughts on something you’re trying to build or accomplish can help you cope. Don’t worry, you’re not ignoring your depression. You’re simply taking some time to focus on other things that will uplift you and give you something better to focus on for a time. You deserve to do something you enjoy – try crocheting, reading a good book, painting, photography, or writing, just to name a few examples.
- Pamper yourself. Sometimes it feels good just to take a nice long bath, or to get a pedicure. Buy yourself the good coffee and creamer at the grocery store instead of the cheapest stuff. Find some ways to “treat yourself” to something special. Go on that diet. Take the time to paint your bedroom that pretty blue color that brings you inner peace. You deserve to indulge in a few things that make YOU feel good.
We Can Show Our Children How We Cope with Depression
Our children witness and perceive more than we think. Some children are perceptive and empathizers. They worry about us, and they want us to be happy. It’s important for them to understand that Mommy doesn’t always “have it all together” and that’s ok. They need to see us coping in healthy ways. It’s ok to talk to them about how you feel, apologize if they are worried, and let them know how you are trying to take care of yourself. They can see you struggle, and they can learn from watching you overcome.
By coping with homeschool mom depression, we are actually better homeschool moms. We are teaching our children that it’s ok to be sad sometimes and that there are healthy ways we can cope. There will probably be times they will struggle with depression in their own lives one day. By working through your own depression, they will know they can come to you for help and support in the future as well.
Depression can get to be too much if you aren’t coping well, or have no support. If you are ever feeling like you are in a critical state and may harm yourself or your family, please reach out to one of these immediate, FREE help resources:
Text Depression Hotline – Text CONNECT to 741741
Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9