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Beating the Winter Blues: SAD & The Homeschool Mom

BeatingthewinterbluesToday I don’t want to be a Homeschool Mom.

No seriously, I don’t.

I wake up and the covers feel heavy as well as my heart.

The warmth of my bed beckons like a cocoon to wrap myself in, until winter is over and I’m finally ready to emerge.

Today I don’t want to be a Homeschool Mom.

Kids holler with happy hearts and run downstairs prepared to fill hungry tummies.

Breakfast needs to be made and all I want to do is quietly sit in the beckoning silence, unhappy.

Today I don’t want to be a Homeschool Mom.

Lessons are awaiting, kids eager for my attention.

I try to inspire but I cannot even inspire myself.

Today I don’t want to be a Homeschool Mom.

The snow falls gentle, I fight all of these hard feelings because everything else feels like a dream.

A dream I cannot wake up to the joy of, it’s there but I cannot reach it.

Today I don’t want to be a Homeschool Mom.

Last year I finally forced myself to go to the Doctor, inside everything felt awful yet it wasn’t depression, I was sure because I knew I was happy deep down. It was early January and for over a month my body had felt awful one day after another. Sure I was about to discover some big medical problem like adrenal fatigue, cancer or a thyroid disease I anxiously awaited the results of my blood work expecting the worst.

As I sat in the Doctors office and got my diagnosis it was much better than any of the horrible medical conditions that had crossed my mind but also left me sitting there in disbelief. SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder) was something I had made fun of in the past and here I sat staring at my own ridiculous diagnosis. Days went on and I began to pay close attention to the signs my Doctor had requested I observe in myself and sure enough I was finally admitting it, the lack of sunshine was turning me into a major bummer. I’m one of those people who depends on sunshine for my mood and energy to stay afloat, not the best news when one lives in the cold, winter state of Michigan and is a Homeschool Mom.

No matter how much I slept I felt exhausted and weak, depression invaded despite logically knowing that I should be happy, I felt anxious and had no motivation to do the things I enjoy. SAD turns me into the worst version of myself.

Now I am supposed to carry on as a Homeschool Mom? How?

I followed my Doctors orders to take vitamin D, pushed through the winter funk and waited for sunshine to return. Wouldn’t you know it? Everything was back to it’s amazing peace.

With the sunshine brought incredible joy, inspired lessons, a light heart and my feet hit the floor with zeal each morning.

How does a Homeschool Mom survive those hard, winter months of SAD?

Make A Doctor Appointment

It’s so easy to put off because it’s for Mama, been there done that, nobody gets an award. If you suspect you are dealing with the effects of SAD or depression, the best thing you can do for your family is go see a doctor. Waiting it out isn’t helpful for you or your family. In my case we discovered I am severely vitamin D deficient, just discovering that and getting me the treatment I needed made a big difference. Some people use light therapy to keep their mood lifted through the winter months. There is no shame in getting a plan to beat your SAD or Depression. When Mama takes care of her needs, everyone in the family is winning.

Get Dressed Every Morning

Everybody knows pajamas all day is the cure for a discouraged heart. No. Get up and get dressed! Throw on a necklace, scarf or some mascara. Throughout the day when you look in the mirror it will help to see a lovely reflection of yourself even if you don’t feel lovely inside. It will  do wonders in convincing your kids that you are feeling OK inside instead of the falling apart feelings you are fighting to control. My kids are old enough to spot my grumpy attitude from the first “Good morning” of the day. Once 8pm rolls around I am straight into pajamas, it’s winter in Michigan and that is pajama time!

Get Out Of The House

When I am feeling down this is the last thing I want to do as well as the best thing emotionally. Getting out of the house forces me to go get my mind off how I am feeling inside. Because SAD is a seasonal depression there is simply no need for me to sit around evaluating why I feel so heavy inside. So instead I get out, get around people and get focused on something other than how I am feeling inside. A brisk walk in the cold, a trip to the library, a night out with friends, even getting out to serve others does wonders for my heart. Just being around like minded friends who will encourage me to push through is enough to get me through weeks of homeschooling with SAD.  Serving others often gives me perspective that my pressures are only for a short time while others have a heavy burden even sunshine cannot lift.

Remember Your Why

Remember the moments filled with educational enchantment back in September? Now is the time to look back on those and know that those days will return. Usually by March I am back to my normal self and we are back to full on days of school that even Mama will not just enjoy but look forward to. If you haven’t made a list of your reasons you love Homeschooling, now is the time to start and you will always have that reminder when times get hard.

Don’t Try To Do It All

Now isn’t the time for all the Homeschool things. If I try to do everything when I am feeling depressed the pleasant atmosphere goes straight to the curb. In January I have learned to get down to the basics. We do Reading, Math, Handwriting, Bible and Read Aloud every day, the most important subjects as well as the ones that will help us connect as a family. Making sure those connections happen every day is a top priority to me. Most amazing of all? This has freed up more time for my kids to explore on their own and it has been humbling to see how much they learn in the afternoon when I leave them alone. In a few months, we will be back to a full schedule once again! With our sanity intact.

Take Care Of Yourself

Drink a lot of water. Get plenty of sleep. Honestly during these months I never set my alarm unless I have to, most of the time I don’t and I sleep as late as I can. These are supposed to be some of the perks of being a Homeschool Mom and we let guilt keep ourselves from being our best selves. This is something we have to choose, our kids won’t choose it for us because they don’t know what we need. Every morning I make myself a delicious breakfast. While my kids spend 30 minutes eating a bowl of cereal I whip myself up soft scrambled eggs with a bit of cheese on a plain bagel and sit with my hot coffee to eat it while they clean the kitchen. I don’t feel bad because I have a whole day of work ahead and know that eating a good breakfast will help me accomplish that. Exercise is said to help SAD, I wouldn’t know! But it is on my list!

Hard times are going to happen when you Homeschool,

We only get to choose our response.

Will you join me in this Winter battle against SAD each year?

I won’t go down without a fight.

18 thoughts on “Beating the Winter Blues: SAD & The Homeschool Mom

  1. Melissa, I am so glad you wrote about this! I suffer from the same thing and every Winter (especially here in Canada that Winters take 6 months!) I feel horrible, no desire to do anything, I feel sad and yes, I totally get it, when the sun is shining my heart feels with excitement and joy!
    I had no idea there was such a thing as a seasonal affective disorder until a few weeks ago. I know I hate Winters having lived my entire life in places like Brazil, Florida, and Israel. I take 5000 ui Vitamin D every morning but still I can’t wait to see the sun shining and feel the warm of the sun on my skin! I just keep pressing on. 🙂
    Thank you so much for this article!!

    1. Ana thank you so much for sharing. It helps so much to know we are not alone. The sun does wonders but yes when you live farther North you know how much it can mess with the way you feel when it doesn’t shine!

  2. An amazing article giving everyone the knowledge that with the sunshine things will get better 🙂 It’s hard when any problem hits a mum, let alone a homeschool one where there’s no rest time!

    1. Sonia thank you so much for sharing! Yes it is difficult! But if we can remember it is temporary it helps to push through it!

    1. Erin I am so glad! Thank you for sharing, the feedback I have gotten from this post has been staggering. So many of us dealing with the same trouble yet it is so easy to feel alone!

  3. My heart hurts for those with any type of depression. I always try to be encouraging to anyone I run into because you just never know their inner struggles.

    I love that you won’t go down without a fight! Be strong! 🙂

    1. Lana I am so glad you see it as a chance to encourage because Moms dealing with that type of depression really need that. It is tough to push through but just being there for one another lifts so many burdens.

  4. Ty ty ty. I am so glad you scoped about this today. I am so glad. This is not all in my head. Ty for giving me hope. My phone not working well at moment so a short note to say TY! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Nova I am so glad to hear that! No it is not in your head although at first I thought it was in my head too! But now that I’ve been able to identify what is going on it has helped SO much! I am glad this was helpful to you!

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