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Self Observation Basics

self observation

How would you feel if I told you to take a self observation inventory at the beginning of each day, just as you would conduct a daily homeschool observation inventory? Would you nod in agreement, recognizing the importance, or would it make you squirm a bit, self-conscious about the focus on you?

We often talk about how many of our desires as women have to go on the back burner for a bit during the hands-on parenting years. And this is valid. Parenting involves sacrifice, and no matter what responsibilities of career, homeschooling, or other involvements we might be juggling, being a mom has to remain a priority.

The problem comes when we completely ignore our own needs in favor of juggling it all. That doesn’t make us more effective. On the contrary, it wears us down and keeps us from handling any of our responsibilities well.

We may have to put some desires, hobbies, and interests on the back burner while our children are at home, but if we put our needs on hold as well, everything will suffer. It’s very important to make sure we’re taking care of our mental, emotional, and physical health, even in these full and busy years.

So how do we accomplish that?

Building a Self Observation Habit

Just as we need to establish the habit of daily homeschool observation, it’s also important to build a habit of daily self observation. We need to ask ourselves a series of questions each morning to make sure that we are where we need to be to tackle the day well.

Am I well rested?

Let’s face it, as moms we very often do not get the rest we need. We stay up too late, get up too early, and push hard every day.

But lack of rest can cause long-term issues that keep us from handling our days well. While we might not be able to completely tackle the exhaustion, taking some self observation time each morning to consider how well rested we are and to contemplate ways to improve our rest can make a significant difference in our overall health and our ability to stay on top of our game.

How is my eating?

Even in the middle of trying to feed our children healthy meals and snacks, it can often be easy for us to grab whatever or even skip meals.

Our children are not the only ones who think more clearly when we make sure to limit their sugar and empty carbs and instead give them a good balance of healthy meals and snacks. We do too!

Making a self observation habit of checking in on your eating several times each day can make a world of difference in your energy levels (and maybe even improve that rest deficit!).

Am I regularly moving?

Little ones tend to keep us on our toes. But as our children grow older, we tend to spend more time sitting, whether during school or for work. We all know that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy, but many times we don’t realize just how long we sit and how little time we spend moving. That’s why a self observation habit has to include an honest assessment of our movement habits!

Obviously, a regular exercise routine is the healthiest option. But, even being intentional to move five minutes out of every hour is a huge step in the right direction!

Set an alarm to remind you to get up at least once every hour during school or work. Walk around a bit, do some jumping jacks or lunges, find some steps to climb, choose a room to sweep or vacuum. Just make sure you keep moving for five minutes.

Is my social tank full?

It doesn’t matter if we are introverts or extroverts, we need social interaction with people who nourish us. And as much as we love our children, they cannot meet that need for social interaction.

Whether it’s intentional weekly date night, a check-in phone call with your best friend, or even a play date where you can interact with other moms while the kids play, it’s important to be intentional about meeting your social needs.

Am I learning?

Up until now, all of the self observation check-ins have probably seemed pretty obvious to you. But learning? It’s understandable if you’re a little skeptical. But think about it for a minute.

You are having to learn a lot with your students as they learn, but how are you stretching your mind for yourself?

This doesn’t have to be anything major. Even 5-10 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Perhaps you can pick up a language learning app and spend a few minutes each day working through exercises. Find a book that explores a topic of fascinating to you. You might not even be able to get through a whole chapter a day but, again, even five minutes can make a difference.

Maybe you have a hobby already that you can expand on. Perhaps you want to learn a new cable stitch for knitting, try a new cake decorating technique, or learn a new woodworking skill.

Just a little brain exercise for your own benefit can make a huge difference in your ability to pour into your family and work.

Building a self observation habit is just as important as building a homeschool observation habit. By keeping tabs on your own progress, you’ll be able to pour into your family and responsibilities while still maintaining your own health and wellness.

In addition to working as managing editor for HEDUA, Ann is a missionary kid, second generation homeschooler, pastor's wife, and mom of three. She loves encouraging and equipping others, especially women in the homeschooling and ministry communities.

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