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5 ways to support your mental health whilst home schooling

5 ways to support your mental health whilst home schooling

covid-19 gender equality homeschooling mental health wellbeing Jan 21, 2021

The evidence from the pandemic has been that this pressure isn’t distributed equally between men and women.  A range of studies have found that women have borne the brunt of both the financial and domestic impacts of the crisis.  In the long 2020 lockdown, women completed an additional 15 hours per week of unpaid work in the home when compared to men and were much more likely to be supporting children with homeschool.

Here at The Rising Network, we pride ourselves on being a supportive community for women who want to thrive in their lives, which is why we asked our experts for tips on how to cope with the additional stress whilst schools are shut for the majority.


1. Check in with yourself

Social media is full of memes and videos of parents lamenting the impact of home schooling on their parenting.  Suzanne MacDonald-Carr, founder of the Business Coaching, Mentoring and Training Centre and speaker at our upcoming Rising Festival, recommends taking an honest appraisal of where you are now.

Parents naturally differ in their parenting styles and each family will have their own approach to the challenge of home school, but asking yourself “if you are consistent in your style before home schooling and now” can give great insights into how your family is coping with the added strain.

Take time to get quiet with your thoughts and check in on your own mental wellbeing each day.  The way your family is interacting will have a huge impact.


2. Do what you can, not what everyone else is doing

“We all want to be super mum but it’s not real”, says Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of the Centre for Mental Health “Don’t compare what you are doing with others and step away from social media that encourages this.”  There can be such huge pressure from social media or well-meaning parent Whatsapp groups, and it can quickly feel like we’re falling short as parents.

“Remember that whilst we are all sailing the same stormy ocean, we are not all in the same boat, our challenges are different,” Sarah cautions.  “You do you.”

You don’t need to be anxious about the amount of time your child spends learning.  “Children aren’t academically learning the whole time they’re at school,” reminds Suzanne MacDonald-Carr.  Incorporating “relaxation, time together and balance is important to all of us, child and adult alike.”


3. If things start to feel on top of you

“When you need to calm down and your mind is racing, try this simple breathing technique,” suggests Lisa Sibley, founder of Breathing Bliss and mentoring speaker on anxiety for our upcoming Rising Festival.

“Simply take your right hand and block off your right nostril. Take long, slow, deep breaths through the left nostril and just as gently, exhale slowly and completely through the left nostril. Repeat for at least 5 rounds. You will feel your body relaxing. As you exhale, feel your whole body letting go of stress. You can do this anywhere and it’s a great one to teach the kids too!”


4. Build your resilience

“Good mental health is critical for everyone right now with conflicting demands on their time. Be kind to yourself and ask for help if you need it, as well as asking yourself what you can do right now to help build your resilience and reduce anxiety and stress” says Sharon Budworth, Chapter Lead for the Rising Network and Head of HR UK & EMEA at Domino Printing Sciences.  Ideas such as “more quality sleep, eating well, drinking more water, exercising regularly” will all help to build up your mental resilience.

She suggests listing your priorities and planning your day and week around them to make sure the important tasks get done.  That way, the small stuff can’t engulf the important things.


5. Notice the good

We wanted to close with Sharon Budworth’s final nugget of wisdom, firstly because it’s so instant and easy, and secondly because everyone benefits from practicing a little gratitude (seriously, there are lots of studies on it!).

“Find reasons to be grateful every day and remember you can’t do it all.”

Get support from a community of women who want you to succeed

If you want more expert support on thriving through the challenges of COVID, you can sign up for the virtual Rising Festival 2021.

Alternatively, take a look at our video training session on home-schooling.

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