Self Care For The Journey
Now, we chose a path that allows us to live, work & learn together. Don't get me wrong, we each have our own interests, projects & activities but on the whole, we spend a huge amount of time together as a family & that was our intention. You see, home education weaves itself into every aspect of our lives, resulting in a rich tapestry of living, loving & learning. It is a wonderful path that we are lucky enough to wander down together, but it can be tiring & intense at times.
To keep up our energies for the long haul of home education, we invest time in our own interests, we make space for connection, we carve out time to care for ourselves & support each other to do the same. It's not easy, but it is getting easier as the children grow older, & we are more able to form good habits of self-care.
As I write this, I sit in an empty house. That doesn't happen very often. It's quiet. I have space to think & write. Justin & I have just had a few days to ourselves whilst the children are off on a mini adventure with the grandparents on the river. A huge milestone. Making the most of this precious time, we walked the glorious coastal paths of The Purbecks, took photographs, chatted the day away & enjoyed the peace. It nourished, energised & refreshed us. To talk without interruption, to walk at a good pace, stopping when we chose to, no rush to get back for anything.
Today, Justin is driving four hours to Norfolk & back again to pick the kids up. It's not easy finding the time to fill our own cups, to have time to reconnect without the children, but slowly & with a huge amount of planning & effort, we are starting to get those breaks. And I know these little breaks will help us refocus & feel recharged to continue this journey of living, working & learning together.
Self Care is vital for this journey of parenting & home educating. It's not all bubble baths & massages (although I love both). There are simple ways to care for your own needs that don't require much planning, but we find if you set the intention to care for yourself, to invest in yourself, you & your whole family will reap the rewards.
"Taking care of myself doesn't mean 'me first', it means 'me, too'." L.R Knosts
Here are a few ways we add self-care into our daily life, maybe some could work for you too:
Reading. We both love reading & I find reading fiction such a luxurious activity, even if it's just a few minutes before bed before falling asleep.
Set aside one night a week where you eat with your partner or alone. Not rushing or tending to everyone else's needs, not getting up every two seconds.
Making space for a hobby or interest or starting a new one. Play around, enjoy the process of trying something new.
Going on an adventure. Alone, with your partner, your family or a friend. Exploring somewhere new gives us all such a boost.
Make eating nourishing food & drinking water a priority for yourself, not just your kids. We find this one slips down the list of priorities when we're feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, but adding it back in makes the world of difference.
Catching up with friends over a cider or cup of tea. Again, this one easily goes by the wayside but we always feel so refreshed & connected being with the special people in our lives.
Go to bed earlier. If we have enough sleep, we feel great. But, we end up staying up late once the kids are finally asleep, just to find time to catch up & relax together.
One to one time with the kids. This always fills our cup, it is rare to have time one on one with each of the kids but making it a priority is so worthwhile, reconnecting, talking, laughing, crying, whatever feelings come up it's all so valuable.
Hot or ice cold showers to invigorate your mind & body.
Early morning or late evening walks, runs, cycle rides, swims, at home yoga flows or meditation. Even just ten minutes feels so good. Weekends, lunch breaks, before the household wakes, or when the littles are sleeping.
Say No without guilt, so you don't end up feeling over committed, rushed or resentful.
You are doing an amazing job carving out this life together with your family, make sure you invest some of that energy into yourself.
How do you do self-care? Is it a priority for you or something that feels too big to add into your days right now? We would love to hear. DM us or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org