For several years, I really struggled with the winter blues around this time of year. Maybe you do too.
Many feel a letdown after the holidays. The colder, shorter days make it hard to get the kids outside to play. The lack of sunshine affects our moods as well.
Plus, by mid-year, school can become too routine, and we just don’t feel like doing it! When our kids feel this, it can cause cranky, uncooperative kids!
Have the winter blues set in at your house?
How can we beat the winter blues?
PRAY and seek God’s help
Ask Him what might be causing the blues and seek His wisdom on how to lift yourself out of discouragement. Seek Him for strength, asking Him to restore your joy and peace.
Spend time in God’s Word each day
Our thoughts affect our lives deeply. Dwelling on our problems can cause a downward spiral. The Bible and science both talk about how our thoughts affect our mood. In Philippians 4:8-9, Paul writes,
“Finally, brother and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Paul shows us here how our thoughts affect our lives:
- Thoughts (“think about such things”) go to
- Actions (“put it into practice”) which lead to
- Experience (“the God of peace will be with you”).*
Psychologists use cognitive behavioral therapy because many of our mental health issues (depression, anxiety, etc.) begin in faulty, negative thinking patterns. To heal our minds, we need to change negative thinking.
The best source for changing negative thoughts is God’s Word. God transforms our mind as we spend time in His Word. (Romans 12:1-2)
So, when your thoughts start going negative and you feel like complaining about the kids, school, or life in general, ask the Lord to help you apply Philippians 4:8-9.
Your mood will improve as you choose to think about what you’re thankful for rather than your problems. Start each day thanking God for the new day. And at the end of the day, thank Him for the blessings that day. Ask God to help you focus on the blessings in your life and choose to be grateful. Help your kids learn gratefulness by talking about it often in your home. Download this free devotional on thankfulness from a chapter in Growing the Fruit of the Spirit, A Bible-based Unit Study by Kris Cox and Kris Hage.
Change things up
Sometimes we need to change our routine, do something different to help improve the mood in our home. Here are some ideas:
- Schedule in a game day and let all the kids learn through games for a day. See my recommended page for game ideas. Or make it a “We love to learn station day” instead.
- Go on a field trip to give everyone a more hands on experience. Check out MN Field Trip & Activities.
- Include interest-based learning into your days. Ask your kids what they’re each interested in learning about and provide the resources for them to study that topic. You can participate too! Then pick a time when everyone can share about what they learned with the family. For example, our daughter loves dogs, so her interest-based learning was about dogs.
- Consider taking a break from your usual curriculum and do a unit study for a month. Growing the Fruit of the Spirit, a Bible-based Unit Study is a great option for this. Or do a unit study on something that interests you or one of the kids.
Take care of yourself
Many homeschool moms are so busy taking care of everyone else that they forget to care for themselves. When you always put everyone else’s needs before your own, you set yourself up for burnout.
Good sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise are all important disciplines we need to include in our days. Spending time with the Lord will replenish your spirit also. Ask your spouse or support person to help you make more time to care for yourself if needed.
If the weather cooperates it’s helpful to get outside each day. Our bodies need the vitamin D from the sun, and the exercise helps us feel better physically. Build a snowman, go sledding, walking, or skiing.
If the temps are too cold, find an inside play place or play hide and seek in your home. Get everyone moving one way or another. Here’s a link to some fun indoor activities that will help you get exercise from whatmomslove.com. Or check out these online homeschool workouts from Faithful Workouts.
Teach conflict resolution skills if you’re experiencing a lot of bickering at home
Constant conflict can cause discouragement. If you’re finding yourself dealing with conflict frequently throughout the day, teach your kids how to deal with conflict God’s way. The Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande is a great resource for kids in grades 3-7 (can be adapted for younger or older kids). Making Brothers and Sister’s Best Friends by the Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally transformed the relationships in our family as well.
God created us for community and relationships. Plan a field trip or a sledding event with some friends. Find ways to spend time with other believers and be encouraged.
Lastly, if you think you might be dealing with more than just the winter blues, I encourage you to seek professional help. Clinical depression typically requires a doctor’s care, counseling, and possibly medications to help you recover as well as these things I’ve listed here.
See my recommended page for resources on mental health.
*See Winning the War in Your Mind devotional by Pastor Craig Groeschel on YouVersion Bible App.