Homeschool burnout is one of those touchy subjects that no one wants to talk about. We avoid talking about it out of embarrassment or shame.
After all, a homeschool mom chose to home educate her children, didn’t she? How could something that a mom carefully discerned, thoughtfully researched, and carefully planned cause burnout?
She is her own boss and she makes her own choices, doesn’t she? It is not like being a doctor or lawyer or even a school teacher, or is it?
Could I have homeschool burnout?
Chances are that if you homeschool, you know that not all days are sunny and easy.
There are days when I want to just send my kids to a brick-and-mortar school and pack it all in.
There are days when I am too tired to teach fractions or read the same book over and over and over again to my eager listener.
But are these just bad days or am I experiencing true homeschool burnout?
How can you tell if it is just a bad day or week or if it is something more?
As a survivor of homeschool burnout, I really want to help others notice homeschool burnout in themselves and others.
I want to speak out and bring awareness to this secret topic. If I can help one person survive it, my suffering will all have been worth it.
On top of my own experience, I have done some research and compiled a list of the most common signs of burnout as they pertain to a homeschool mother.
Signs of homeschool burnout
- Severe exhaustion (go to bed tired and wake up tired)
- Headaches (frequent or recurrent)
- Insomnia (can’t sleep despite being tired)
- Fatigue (decrease in stamina, performance of daily duties)
- Depersonalization (not caring about others, increased cynicism)
- Absence of positive emotions and thoughts
- Shortness of temper and lack of patience
- Increase of emotional outbursts (crying, yelling, etc.)
- Significant decrease in social engagements or none at all
“It’s burnout when you go to bed exhausted every night and wake up tired every morning — when no amount of sleep refreshes you, month after weary month. It’s burnout when everything becomes too much effort: combing your hair, going out to dinner, visiting friends for the weekend, even going on vacation. It’s burnout when you find yourself cranky all the time, bursting into tears or going into fits of rage at the slightest provocation. It’s burnout when you dread the next phone call. It’s burnout when you feel trapped and hopeless, unable to dream, experience pleasure, or find contentment. It’s burnout when neither the big thrills nor the little moments have the power to move you — when nothing satisfies you because you haven’t a clue what’s wrong or how to fix it. Because everything’s wrong. Because something’s terribly out of whack: you.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
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I have home school burnout, now what?
1. Seek help
This will look different for every family. Dependent upon the severity of the burnout, you may need different degrees of help.
Do not be ashamed to reach out to medical professionals. I sought out both, a medical doctor and a naturopathic doctor.
My medical doctor ran blood tests. My thyroid wasn’t working properly and that added to the exhaustion. I was put on medication.
My naturopath offered me some natural remedies to help my thyroid and energy levels.
Help can also come from others. Do you have family nearby?
Can someone mind your children so that you can get extra rest? Is it possible to put off some things until you feel better?
Are there things that can be delegated to your husband or someone else whom you trust?
Can you take a break from formal lessons and spend the time outdoors?
Or can you spend time watching educational videos and how about keeping meals simple?
Ask yourself, “What would help me or my family most?”
2. Make a plan
I know that this sounds like extra work, but I truly believe if you make a simple plan, recovery from burnout can happen more quickly.
Decide how you will proceed. Write it down. If you write it down, you can refer back to it when you are too tired to think.
- In your plan, include the names and contact numbers of your help.
- Plan in times to rest; times to go for a massage or to a doctor.
- Come up with ways to simplify every aspect of your life.
- Say no to doing things that exhaust you.
- Take some vitamins, drink plenty of water, and try to eat well.
- Spend time in prayer or meditation.
- Go outdoors, even if it’s just to watch the children play. Natural vitamin D can do you some good.
- Journal – if it helps. Sometimes just getting thoughts on paper can help.
- The same goes for talking to someone. Reaching out to someone that you know will be supportive can be refreshing.
3. Take care of yourself
Remember that self-care is not selfish!
There is a reason that you are told on an airplane to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.
You’ve made a plan to overcome homeschool burnout. Do your best to commit to taking the steps you chose to take care of yourself.
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something else or ask for more help. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
We live in a world with social media. That can give us a false sense of what our lives should look like. Nobody’s life is Pinterest perfect.
While you are recovering, spend some time reflecting on how you got so worn out.
Discover your triggers and try to take steps to limit the damage they do. There may be certain times of the day that get overwhelming for you, find a way to cope.
Maybe you’ve been through a trying time and need time to grieve. Allow yourself time to heal.
We put broken bones in a cast to allow them to heal. Burnout just isn’t visible in the same way, but you can use crutches while you heal.
Lastly, take steps to avoid burnout. Make self-care a priority. Take time to recharge and put your oxygen mask on first. Breathe deeply.
The reason you got burnt out is a result of a burning desire to be the best. Be gentle and love yourself. You are an amazing person who cares so much.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and my opinions should not substitute medical or professional advice. My opinions are based on personal experience and observations only, and I do not claim responsibility for actions taken based on my suggestions. Please seek medical attention if you believe that you may be at risk in any way.
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Last update on 2023-03-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API