[Adapted from Staying Sane as You Homeschool by Kathy Kuhl.]Take a break!

Feeling frazzled? Or just tired? In this series, so far, I have urged you to focus on loving and enjoying your children, and nurturing your marriage. I saved the most important for last.

Take care of yourself. Surprised? I’m not saying “live for yourself.” I know children heartbroken and families destroyed by parents who decided that “me time” was their top priority.

But you need to rest and replenish so you can keep giving. Otherwise, we can become too weary and discouragement creeps in.

Take care of your body. Are you going to bed soon enough to get enough sleep? Eating healthily? Getting fresh air? Taking walks? Even if you are as un-athletic as I am, exercise. Try new kinds of exercise; you might discover something fun.

Nurture your mind. Find a way to stretch it: follow world events, serve your community, join a book club.

Plan breaks. One couple I interviewed with a child with special needs gives each other “sanity weekends” in which one parent goes away overnight. Scouting trips, camps, grandparents, and friends can provide overnight child care and a chance to recover your vision.

Short breaks can help, too. As one Iowa mother told me, “Sometimes Mom is the one who needs the time out.”

(While the photo looks like I’m living a life of ease, that was my fast breakfast at a convention where I was working very long days. To keep myself going, I choose fresh air, a healthy snack, and a chair angled to see the most trees and least concrete possible!)

Take care of your soul. Look for beauty to savor. Give thanks. Watch for roots of bitterness that worm into your joy. Don’t tell yourself lies. Squeeze moments out of your mornings and evenings for Scripture, prayer, and reflection. God knows all about our life stages. He knows how busy we are, yet Elisabeth Elliot drily noted, “God apparently thought the twenty-four hour day was sufficient.”1

Homeschoolers can burden themselves with guilt. Asking for advice, one California mother told me all she had done to help her dyslexic son. When I told her how impressed I was with her work, this competent woman wept. Many homeschoolers work conscientiously but battle guilt and anxiety. Seek the best help you can, make decisions prayerfully, and trust God to work through it all.