Homeschooling is a noble calling. But not one without its challenges.
It can easily overwhelm us and the tasks of being a teacher, mother, cook, nurse, taxi, business owner, and all around Domestic CEO can most often keep us from one of our most important responsibilities – ourselves.
We have all heard the example of the oxygen mask – PUT YOURS ON FIRST. You cannot pour from an empty cup. (Though we sure do try, don’t we?)
In this article (and series!), I will be encouraging you to practice self-love, self-care, and self-respect by taking care of your physical health, thus improving your minds, your homes (and schools), and your entire outlook on life.
We will be discussing why it’s important that you take charge of your health now, how to overcome common challenges for busy moms and homeschool families, and where to find the tools and support so many of us need to have lasting success in health and weight loss.
And never forget that our example is the best teacher to our children. What they see, they learn. By adopting healthy habits and being mindful of your health, you will be patterning a love for wellness for your “littles”. Health and fitness are very important for them, too! In fact, we will be covering that topic in this series.
And though these posts are being published at a very busy time of year where we are more or less in “cookie and pumpkin spice” mode, the healthiest time of year is less than a week away! Many of us will have “weight loss” and health goals at the top of our New Year’s resolutions. Let’s crush those goals!
There is no better time than now! Begin your new year educated and resolved to be that healthy homeschool mom you know you have always meant to be!
Let’s get started.
ROCK YOUR HEALTH: KNOW YOUR “WHY”
It’s hard to put forth effort in an area if it doesn’t bring immediate joy or reward, or if we don’t see a benefit to it. So, let’s explore our “why”.
Now, this may seem silly to you - anyone knows that fitness and healthy eating are beneficial. But it is all too easy to forget exactly why and get sucked into that place where we “give up and give in”, become comfortable with unhealthy choices, tire out our bodies, or get sidetracked from what’s important.
In one of my favorite books – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey explains how we often find ourselves responding to what’s “urgent” (the everyday crises) and often neglect the “important” – the things that contribute to our mission, values, our high priority goals (one being our well-being and health.) After all, taking care of our health and our bodies gives us the best fuel and “tune-ups” that permit us to respond to those “urgent matters” in the first place.
Let’s review the benefits that a healthy lifestyle will bring, especially as homeschool mothers.
Moms Need Energy
Have you ever felt like your homeschool week was more like running a marathon? “Stretched thin, sustained by grace”?
Do you drink more than one cup of coffee a day? Better yet: can anybody talk to you before you’ve had your morning coffee? Lol.
Do you ever feel that afternoon slump? Fall asleep during reading time? Can’t seem to quite make it through an entire day of assignments?
We need energy. I don’t care who you are, we could all use some more energy. And not through drugs either.
I’ve been living a more active lifestyle for six months and the number one change I have noticed is in my energy. I sleep better. I feel better. I feel loose, strong, flexible. I don’t get afternoon tension headaches.
And I’m so happy to say that the ever-so-tired “slumpy-dumpy” feeling that carried with me day after day from sitting down at a computer and not getting enough movement is gone. You know that feeling? Stiff. A little achey. Gone!
Even if I never lost another pound, I would keep up with my lifestyle simply for that reason alone. I feel 100% different and the energy, endorphins, and high I get from sweating daily is priceless. Absolutely priceless.
Now I know that many of you may be thinking, “But I just don’t even have the energy to start.” But listen carefully, sweetie:
Neither. Did. I. But here’s the magic: when you expend energy exercising, it gives you energy.
Within just a few days of embarking on my new healthy journey as a Health & Wellness Coach, I noticed results. Every day I could go longer. Every day was a bit easier. And my energy was steady climbing.
It works if you work it. Commit to a few days and you will feel the difference.
Brain Health Matters
We are in the business of shaping and filling brains. Teachers. Leaders. Visionaries. Inventors. Artists. Scientists. Writers.
We are all keenly interested in our children’s brains, no doubt, but how about yours?
Age is a factor in our lives, ladies. As our child’s brain is growing, ours is slowing. But, exercise fights against this process. Consider the following points:
- Even 20 minutes of exercise can help with information processing and memory skills
- Exercise increases oxygen to the brain
- It releases hormones that encourage growth of brain cells
- It contributes to the brain’s “plasticity” by stimulating growth of new connections between cells
- It improves cognitive function overall
- It helps to repair damaged cells
- When done in the morning, exercise helps to protect against mental stress that will happen soon in your day
- Exercise aids attention (great for ADHD! and for us “Sidetracked Home Executives”) as it immediately releases norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin – all that work together to increase mental clarity and focus
One of my favorite Ted Talks you can find on YouTube of John J. Ratey, MD covers this very topic. He states: “…when we exercise we turn on the front part of our brain…the prefrontal lobe where our executive functions are [planning, organization, learning from mistakes, working memory, ability to focus, etc.] and when we exercise, when we move, we turn that part of the brain on…”
Better planning? Better organization? Ability to focus? Could any of you moms use that? 😉
As busy moms with many hats, our brains should be one of the most important organs we protect.
But how about protecting our sanity?
[bctt tweet="#Homeschool Mom-Get Tips & Encouragement to Rock Your #Health: Know Your Why in 2017! #ihsnet" username="rockyourhs"]
Moms Are Affected By Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Life, period, is stressful. But staying home all day with children, and possibly teaching multiple grade levels and different personalities and learning styles – maybe even having a toddler on the constant move – takes “cray cray” to a whole new level, doesn’t it? Not to mention the many personal and private issues that each family has to contend with!
And don’t forget about post-partum depression. It is a very real issue and sometimes one that brings about feelings of shame, confusion, guilt, and or hopelessness. It is a relief to know that 1) you have done nothing wrong and 2) there are many healthy options to cope with this “thorn” – one being healthy amounts of exercise and giving your body the nutrition it needs during such an important time in your bodies life.
So, though it is a privilege to be home with our loved ones and nurturers of lives, homeschool mothers are not immune to depression. We are blessed, yes, but we can also be what we call “a hot mess”.
Exercise has a profound effect on depression and anxiety.
We need coping skills.
The research done on exercise and its ability to affect stress levels show that exercise is KING.
Consider the following information:
- Exercise produces endorphins – hormones that act as natural painkillers and produce a “high” or euphoric feeling.
- Exercise has anti-anxiety effects and relieves tension in the body and even the mind.
- Exercise also reduces immune system chemicals that worsen depression.
- Exercise is at many times a good alternative to medication as it is a natural way of increasing the “happy hormones” and chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine BUT WITHOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS.
I’d like to share a quote with you:
“If you are depressed go for a walk. If you are still depressed, keep walking.” - Hippocrates
I have personally found this to be true.
My Story Leading to Rock Your Health
Allow me to share something very personal with you: this year has been the worst year of my life. In Spring of 2016, my life was rocked by a series of incidents that had the potential to destroy my family, my life, our finances, my mental health and yes, even my physical health. Though I am not naturally a “sad” person – in fact, very much the opposite – I can now completely identify with this and accurately label myself as someone who is fighting depression. I have never felt this way before.
At my lowest point in June of this year, a very sweet woman reached out to me. Despite my battle, she saw something in me and invited me to join her as a health and wellness coach. This was something I had said no to many times before but for some reason I realized at that very moment that it was probably the best thing I could do for myself (next to putting my God and my spirituality as number one in my life.)
So for the last six months, I have battled through a very turbulent year, many moods, many lows, many “bad days” by giving myself – my mind, my body, my soul – the best nutrition and consistent workouts. Where I would be…what I would be like…how I would feel without this healthy lifestyle…it makes me shudder to think of it.
I have cried almost every day for the past seven months. It’s like every tear that I’ve held in for the past 36 years has been shed. Getting up and sweating was my “me time”. It was my “lift”, my medicine, a way to heal and to maintain insanity. And more than that, it was a major dose of “happy” every single day - better and more lasting than “retail therapy”, a cupcake, or a compliment. My body feels great. My energy has lifted. And I looked forward to my high. In fact, if there was anything that I did each day, it was talking and listening to my Heavenly Father, and finding the strength to sweat and care for this temple He gave me.
It is amazing what this has done for me. I know that now, after six months of living this lifestyle, there is no going back. I crave a healthy lifestyle and am so thankful for the opportunity to share this and inspire others.
I talk to so many women who are depressed, tired, unmotivated, and simply cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. “I wish I had the motivation you do.” I hear this ALL THE TIME.
I just wish they realized that they are no different than I am. I am addicted to sugar, have ADHD, low self-control, and have the best donut shop you’ve ever been to within walking distance. I mean…COME ON.
I wish they understood that it’s completely possible and that if they did it, they would reap all the benefits I am and realize that they were doing something incredible for themselves, their families, and their happiness.
Let me ask you something: how many people do you know that are consistent with their fitness and healthy lifestyles complain about it?
Now let me ask you this: how many people do you know that are consistent with their fitness and lead healthy lifestyles and actually seem happy about it? They seem more energetic? Positive?
Now let me ask you one final question: how many people do you see that are neglecting their fitness, overeating, complaining of feeling tired or having aches and pains but secretly (or openly!) upset about it? Maybe even depressed?
I know you understand this point.
So what are you waiting for?
My guess is that you are hesitant. You want to be healthy, you understand the benefits, but something is stopping you from making this choice now.
Maybe you are afraid of failure. Maybe you doubt yourself - that you will actually follow through. So many of us have all-or-nothing mentalities. We don’t want to begin unless we are confident we can execute it exactly. (This is a poisonous mentality…one that I will be addressing this week as I’ve had to overcome this myself.)
Maybe you are afraid to commit. Maybe spread too thin – like we talked about. Maybe so busy responding to the urgent and giving more and more of yourself.
Maybe you wonder how much it will cost. “What is she trying to sell me?” You might think it takes a lot of fancy tools, new shoes, and expensive supplements.
Maybe you feel you have no time. Time is a big one. You don’t have an extra hour. You can’t leave your kids and get to a gym. You have a baby and he/she needs 24-hour attention.
There are so many things that it could possibly be that are holding you back. I know. I have used every excuse in the book at one time or another. But, here I am - 25 pounds down, halfway to my goal - and I’m here to tell you that with every challenge, there is a solution.
You can most definitely “Rock Your Health” in 2017!
I wish you the best in health, happiness, and homeschooling! Muah!
Stay tuned for Post 2 in this series: Rock Your Health – Challenges & Solutions.
And don’t miss Post 3: Rock Your Health – Tools & Support for a personal invitation to an exclusive (and free!) motivational and accountability wellness support group, led by none other than muah! We are in this TOGETHER!
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Don't miss the other posts in this series!