In the day to day trenches of homeschooling with all of its seclusion, we can easily succumb to the feelings of loneliness, failure, and distorted perspectives. I would love tell you that working out three times a week, eating 16 ounces of dark green leafy vegetables, and taking a nightly bath will help, but it’s not that simple.
We operate in two spheres, the physical and the emotional. We often hear how to take care of our physical bodies by doing everything from brushing our teeth to getting a good night’s sleep. But what do we do when we find ourselves emotionally drained and weary?
In our quest to be all that we can be as brave and strong homeschooling women, we must recognize the vulnerability within and around us. We must take actions to ensure that we save ourselves first in order to serve those around us.
Fight Your Feelings
It is vital to recognize how negative thoughts and influences will lead to feelings of depression, failure and condemnation. Using Philippians 4:8-9 is a great way to catalog and discard negative thoughts.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. NKJV
Influences are not so easy. Whether it’s the influence of failure or a person who brings the heavy weight of condemnation, all we can do is recognize where it is coming from and wisely navigate if we can not eliminate the influence.
Interrupt Negative Cycles
When your thinking begins to spiral downhill, it only takes a two-minute distraction to break negative cycles. It really is that simple. Train yourself to catch the thoughts, and develop a list of distractions to use at home, in the car, or in public. This could be as simple as singing a song in your head or listing things you are thankful for.
Rely on Faithful Friends
God created us for community; we were not meant for loneliness. Recent studies have shown the effects of loneliness are just as dangerous as smoking. Developing a trusted circle of friends to confide in and to pray with can make all the difference in the world.
Loneliness creates a deep psychological wound, one that distorts our perceptions and scrambles our thinking. It makes us believe that those around us care much less than they actually do. It make us really afraid to reach out, because why set yourself up for rejection and heartache when your heart is already aching more than you can stand? Chronic loneliness increases your likelihood of an early death by 14 percent. Loneliness causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol. It even suppress the functioning of your immune system, making you vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses and diseases. In fact, scientists have concluded that taken together, chronic loneliness poses as significant a risk for your longterm health and longevity as cigarette smoking (Guy Winch).
Sing for Joy
When I have struggled with depression and pain that seems to have no end, my soul is soothed through music. I create playlists on YouTube, Pandora, and my phone to keep this encouragement close at hand. Music isn’t just for those dark moments. It’s for the happy ones to. Dancing to hip tunes with the kids in the kitchen can bring new life to even the dullest day.
Talk Tough to Yourself
Spouse, kids, family, and friends can be encouraging, and can even sometimes tell us the hard things we need to hear to help us adjust focus. But the greatest source of the much-needed “heart to heart” talks should come from ourselves. When negative feelings want to keep me from getting out of bed, I am the only one who will talk the tough talk to remind myself of my responsibilities. Healthy self talk, regardless of how tough it can seem, is invaluable. A woman of strength speaks firmly to herself.
When all else fails and you can’t pull yourself out of the slump of negative feelings, make sure to seek professional help. We wouldn’t wait to see a physician if our leg was broken, and we definitely shouldn’t wait to seek help when we are emotionally broken.
Grace and Peace.