We all experience it at one time or another. Every aspect of homeschooling becomes a drudgery. We don’t want to do it anymore. We’re tired. We’re unmotivated. We’re easily frustrated. And the more we trudge through each day, the closer we come to our breaking point.
For some of us, this experience simply signals the need for a break or change. A week off, a change in the schedule, a new book here or there, or even a curriculum change solves the problem. It’s homeschool burnout – a very real and weighty struggle, yet one that can be solved with relative simplicity through prayer, creativity, and a little outside-the-box thinking.
Sometimes, though, the burnout is only a symptom. We take a break, refresh the schedule, find a new curriculum, and try to convince ourselves that things are better. But, deep down, we still struggle. It takes all our effort just to get up and start all over each day. We begin to recognize that homeschooling isn’t the only place where the joy has disappeared. Even things we used to love have lost their luster. Our diversions and typical rest, relaxation, and enjoyment activities no longer refresh us.
We don’t want to admit it. We feel like failures if we even think about it. We are terrified to confess that this is not just burnout, because the alternative is a deeper, darker word we hate to use: depression.
Despite the fact that we all know someone on antidepressants, we still feel a measure of shame when we cannot break out of the feeling of burnout or the blues. But it is important to remember that depression takes many forms and has many causes. Circumstances, hormones, and the chemical nature of our bodies can all play a role in how we handle daily life. There is no shame in admitting that your struggle is real. In fact, so many times that very admission can make all the difference!
If this resonates with you, first know that you are not alone! There is hope, and there is understanding. But there is also a need to take action, and that is one of the hardest things to do when you are struggling with depression. That is why it is important to focus on the next step only, not on the whole problem.
Verbalize to someone
Admit your struggle to someone you trust, such as your spouse, a parent, a sibling, your pastor, or a close friend. This is a vulnerable step, but it also one that will provide profound support.
Prayer is hard when you are in the grips of depression. So, enlist the help of your support person or group to help you pray for wisdom as you fight through this season.
A struggle with depression does not automatically mean you need constant therapy or medication. But, if you experience persistent symptoms of depression for more than a few weeks, and those symptoms interfere with normal daily life, it is important to prayerfully seek professional help.
It may be that a counselor can direct you to ways close family and friends can help you work through this season. And there are times when healing is at least kickstarted with the help of medication. But do not let fear of treatment prevent you from seeking professional help. Remember that, just as there is no shame in going to the doctor for a physical illness, there is no shame in seeking help for the very real struggle of depression.
If the normal methods of shaking off the doldrums or sense of burnout do not work, do not hesitate to take note of your thoughts, feelings, energy levels, and needs and take action. There is help! And finding it is the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and the moms around you who silently and fearfully battle their own struggles.