So how do you know you’re in survival mode? How do you know if you’re just surviving rather than truly thriving. As a mother who works and homeschools, there’s a lot to do. So it might be something you’re familiar with!
When life becomes too much, we try to protect ourselves by going on autopilot. We fall into habits because they are easy and comfortable. We neglect ourselves because we just can’t. We can’t plan for the future because goals seem impossible to achieve. No judgment! I’ve been there more than once!
So in this post I want to chat about what just surviving looks like. And more importantly to move from there to truly thriving! You deserve to thrive, so read on to see how!
What Just Surviving Looks Like
I would hazard a guess that you have a pretty good idea when you’re in survival mode. But let’s break it down a bit anyway. Just surviving could look like this…
- You can never catch up on work/cleaning/homeschool (insert one of the millions of things we have to do as working homeschool moms)
- You get to the end of the day without being able to remember how you go there.
- You are utterly and totally exhausted but you also feel frantic and buzzed most of the time.
- You’re using stimulants like sugar, caffeine and alcohol to give you the energy you need. But often they don’t actually help!
- You are reactive and impulsive. You make bite the head off a family member or buy all the things on Amazon.
- You can’t really concentrate and may even disassociate. You find it hard to finish things or find yourself daydreaming.
- You forget about taking care of yourself because there’s just no time.
- You have no long-term goals or dreams for the future. It’s all about getting through the day in one piece.
Survival mode can be triggered by stress, trauma and changes in routines. If you’re feeling really overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to see your doctor or a mental health professional.
Be sure to listen to the Strike a Balance Podcast for Working Homeschool Moms – Episode 43, where Beth McCarter from The Homeschool Graduate discusses the importance of prioritizing your mental health as a working homeschool mom. Such a great episode!
Moving from Just Surviving to Really Thriving
I have to say upfront that there’s no quick and easy fix. But the fact that you’re reading this means that you have taken one of the first steps towards thriving…and that’s being aware of the state you’re in!
Without awareness, you’re never going to be able to change! Because you can’t overcome something you have no idea about! And it also means you are clear about what you don’t want!
What is Thriving?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines thriving as…
- Growing, developing, or being successful
- Very healthy or successful
- Very successful and developing well
I’m sure you’d agree that there are some great words in there! Who doesn’t like growth, development, health and success? I certainly do!
Ok, so now you know what just surviving is and about what thriving is, so let’s look at ways to go from the one to the other.
Mindfulness has many uses. It can help so much during difficult periods like being in just surviving mode. You can practise being mindful through meditation, yoga journaling or by just stilling your mind for a few minutes during the day. Start small!
Mindfulness helps you to move from survive to thrive in a number of different ways…
- It allows you to still your mind so that you can come back to the present moment.
- It’s an opportunity to take healing breaths.
- It helps you to react more calmly in fraught emotional situations.
- It gives you the space to see what’s really in your heart.
Put Yourself First
Yes I know that prioritizing yourself is hard. But it’s vital if you’re in survival mode! You need to take care of your needs because otherwise you’re going to burn out!
As I always say, if a goal seems really overwhelming but you want to achieve it, break it down. And make a commitment to yourself to take the tiniest step…but consistently.
As I mentioned above, if you feel there’s something really wrong, please visit a healthcare professional or seek help. But if you think you can manage to overcome just surviving on your own, you can take some of these steps…
- Commit to 1/2/5 minutes of mindfulness/meditation/yoga/exercise a day. Set and alarm on your phone so that you can get a reminder to do it and then do it every day until it becomes a habit. Then you can increase the time.
- Speak to your family members or friends about how you’re feeling and get them to help you. There’s no shame in asking them to pitch in. In fact, it’s pretty darn brave!
- Set boundaries around your time. Explain to those around you that you need some time to rest and regroup. And learn to say ‘no’ to people who suck your energy.
None of these steps are easy. So be sure you always remind yourself that you’re the most important person in your life. And that you can start very, very, very small with any change that seems overwhelming.
Simplify Your Life
I wrote a post recently about simplifying your life, because it’s such an important part of time and stress management. When you streamline the processes in your life, they become much easier to manage. And you have more time for what’s important. Some examples of simplification for working homeschool moms is…
- Using an online homeschool curriculum
- Batching tasks like cooking and emails
- Outsourcing, if you have the possibility to
- Getting organized
Being on autopilot might mean that you fall into habits because they seem easy and comfortable. But once you’re aware of your need to switch off survival mode, it’ll be easier to identify what isn’t working. Then you can start forming habits that serve you better.
Give up the Stimulants if You Need To
Society wants us to eat sugar and drink coffee and wine. We get bombarded with messages about how fun they are! But they might not be the best thing for you. The short-term high you get is inevitably followed by a nasty crash.
Stimulants have a myriad of negative effects on your body and brain that can definitely aggravate stress, anxiety and depression. Matt Walker has a great TED Talk about the effects of caffeine and alcohol on your sleep. And as we all know, sleep is one of the most important forms of self-care there is!
How Can You Move from Just Surviving to Thriving?
These are just some ways to move from just surviving to truly thriving, But at the end of the day, thriving looks different to all of us. Once you’re able to become more aware of yourself, you’ll be able to identify what a thriving life means for you.
In what way can you take a tiny step towards growth, development, health and success today?
Follow me Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more homeschool shenanigans, advice and resources. And please book in a coaching call with me if you feel you need some extra support or encouragement.
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