Stress

Is It Break Time Yet?

I have days when things just aren’t going well. We all do-it’s a part of life. Sometimes I have a sick kid that needs extra attention, or sometimes a special event that requires time to get ready for, or sometimes I’m just plain stressed out and exhausted from life. Those are the days I give myself permission to take a day off. In fact, I even plan at the beginning of my school year, for some of these days. I try to schedule our work to be done a few weeks before I absolutely want it done in the spring. That way I have more wiggle room and can take a few days off when I want to without having to stress about it.

Now if you are reading this and really want a day off, but feel you can’t because you haven’t planned for it. Don’t worry! You can still take a day off. In situations like this, I try to stay rational and ask myself “What’s the worst that can happen?” My children may have to do an extra page in their workbook tomorrow. They may have to do some schoolwork on Saturday. We may have to work an extra day later in the spring than we planned. I might save their extra schoolwork for a rainy day in the summer.  I might just skip a page in their schoolbook (I know, if I do this, I start to panic temporarily that my child might spend the rest of his life not know the sound of the letter “h” or something equally important. I come back to reality quite quickly and realize how erroneous this thought really is.). My point is that it’s great to plan for days off so I don’t stress when I need one, but even if I don’t plan for it, it’s still okay to take an occasional day off.

Now I do have one caution to keep in mind. I need to make sure that when I take my occasional days off, they are “occasional” days off. I don’t want to get into the habit of taking too many days off and find myself stressed out because I still haven’t finished this year’s schoolwork and it’s the middle of August. If I do find myself taking a lot of days off, I consider changing something in my life. Maybe I need to take a break of one or more subjects, or lighten up my schedule, or sometimes it’s as simple as have devotions be the first thing in our day to set us on the right path in the morning.

If I find myself in a season of life where I am struggling a lot, yet can’t change anything like after the birth of a baby or a long illness, I tell myself that it’s okay to do light schoolwork for even a whole year (though I’ve never had to). I focus on reading, writing and math during these times. I do the rest when I am up to it (which usually comes quicker than I expect). My children are still learning during these times just not the way I planned.

My favorite verse at these times is Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (NIV) I hope my struggles can encourage you in your times of struggle as well.

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