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February is a notoriously difficult month for homeschoolers. We’re in the middle of the academic year, and neither the launching nor the landing shore is visible. It’s usually cold and dreary, and the only holidays are Valentine’s Day — and all the baggage that holds — and President’s Day. Woohoo! Mattress sales!
But to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Last year, I was actually better prepared for February than this year. This year, I’m coming off a crazy hectic weekend, and I don’t have much food for my family in the house, much less monkey bread. However, that doesn’t mean I’m coming into February unprepared. February is survivable, and I’ve got three suggestions to help you through it.
Plan for the battle
I’m currently reading The Highly Sensitive Person, and I’m gaining a lot of insight about myself and more than one of my kids. One of the ideas it presents is that you need to be aware of how things affect you and prepare for that reaction. If you know that being in a big crowd exhausts you, plan on some downtime after being in that environment. (Hello, Sunday afternoon naps!)
Likewise, if you know that February tends to be hard, prepare for it. For me, that primarily means giving myself and my family grace and acknowledging that things will NOT go according to plan. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a plan; it just means that I need to be particularly careful to make sure the plan serves my family and not the other way around. That may mean cutting back the on the workload in favor of a bit for more time outside. Yes, it may be cold where you are. Throw on a coat and get some fresh air. If you tend to succumb to eating comfort (i.e. ridiculously unhealthy) food, head that off at the pass. Take a few minutes to do some meal planning or lock the Oreos up somewhere. If you feel bad physically, you’ll feel bad mentally, and vice versa.
If your schedule is overly crowded, cancel something. Are you looking at after day of the same old thing? Schedule in time with friends or a special field trip. Look at your February calendar with an honest eye. Maybe you can do everything on your schedule, but that doesn’t mean you should. I’m realizing that we’re probably going to skip a much-anticipated field trip because it’s also the first day of the homeschool convention. We could probably fit it in, but then I’d be very grumpy. And when mama ain’t happy…
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Look for joy
Another method of surviving February is to find or make moments of joy. We kicked off our February with a visit to Chick-Fil-A and the local nature preserve. But it doesn’t always have to be an activity. This morning, we sang one of our favorite folk songs, “There’s a Hole in My Bucket,” during our morning time/þing. We alternate between our most recent folk songs and our old lists, and this just happened to be the next one in line. It was a nice end to a rather grumpy þing.
Read a favorite book; listen to beautiful music; keep a gratitude journal. Be proactive in looking for the good because Lord knows seeing the bad comes naturally enough. This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Yes, even February.
My boss wrote this pretty amazing blog post about motivation and what it can’t do. You should read it all, but the gist of it is that you cannot motivate yourself to success, you have to act your way to success. You won’t achieve your goals by pinning motivational quotes and listening to “Eye of the Tiger.” If you want to accomplish a goal, you have to take specific actions that will move you toward that goal. Unfortunately, “survive February” really doesn’t count. Sorry!
Taking specific actions to accomplish an unambiguous goal will help keep your focus on something positive. The best defense is a good offense and all that. It doesn’t have to be a life-changing goal or a “be a better me” challenge. It could be finishing a project on your house or a craft that you set aside. It could be reading a book on your to-be-read pile. It can be anything that has actionable steps that will focus your attention on moving forward instead of hunkering down and waiting out the month.
I’ve been trying to get back into more frequent blogging for quite some time, but my efforts have been … pathetic. Yeah, I said it. So I’m going back to my tried and true formula of posting every day, at least for February. The nice thing about February is that it’s only 28 days. Much like the Flylady’s maxim that you can do anything for 15 minutes, I can do anything every day for four weeks.
If you’re looking to improve your health, my sister is doing a four-part series on creating lasting goals. She’s a holistic health coach and shares tons of great resources. Sign up for the free course here. Actually, you can apply what she teaches to many areas of life other than health. So go ahead and sign up for help with all your goals. It’s free!
How do you feel about February? What will you do to survive the month?