Did you know that dopamine is closely linked to the learning process? This means, that learning new things stimulates the “happiness chemicals” of our brain! 😊
So including learning some new things into your self-care routine, can be something that busy moms can really benefit from! And it does not have to be a full-time degree!
What I do for example is that I subscribe to online courses. Every morning, after my short morning exercise, and before the day really starts to kick off, I try to spend 20-30 minutes on my actual online course. You would think it is not much at all…. And you are totally right!😉
I can find in most of my mornings 20-30 minutes of self-care time to learn something new! But if you calculate it for a month, it adds up to 10 hours dedicated to learning… a great way to include lifelong learning in the daily routine, isn’t it?
Mental Well-being and Lifelong Learning
So why is all this hype around lifelong learning?
According to research published in the Oxford Review of Education,
“Participation in lifelong learning had effects upon a range of health outcomes; well-being protection and recovery from mental health difficulties, and the capacity to cope with potentially stress-inducing circumstances including the onset and progression of chronic illness and disability.
These effects were mediated by relatively immediate impacts of learning upon psychosocial qualities; self-esteem, self-efficacy, a sense of purpose and hope, competences, and social integration.“
Lifelong learning plays a crucial role in promoting and maintaining mental health for several reasons:
- Sense of Accomplishment: Setting and achieving learning goals, regardless of size, instills a sense of accomplishment. This positive reinforcement contributes to increased self-esteem and a more positive outlook, both of which are essential for mental well-being.
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Engaging in learning activities can serve as a distraction from stressors and daily pressures. It provides individuals with an opportunity to focus on constructive and fulfilling pursuits, reducing stress and anxiety levels.
- Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: Lifelong learning often involves overcoming challenges and solving problems. Acquiring and applying new knowledge and skills enhances problem-solving abilities, fostering a sense of control over one’s environment and reducing feelings of helplessness.
- Social Interaction: Many learning activities involve social interaction, whether through formal classes, workshops, or online communities. Social engagement is a key factor in mental health, providing a sense of connection, support, and belonging.
- Adaptability and Resilience: Learning fosters adaptability and resilience by encouraging individuals to embrace change and navigate new situations. This adaptability is vital for mental well-being, particularly in a rapidly evolving world.
- Prevention of Cognitive Decline: Lifelong learning has been linked to a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. Keeping the brain active and continually learning may contribute to maintaining cognitive function in later years.
- Positive Mental Attitude: Learning fosters a growth mindset, where challenges are viewed as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles. This positive mental attitude is associated with greater resilience and emotional well-being.
- Purpose and Meaning: Lifelong learning can provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Pursuing interests, passions, and personal development goals contributes to an overall sense of fulfillment, which is essential for mental health.
Overcoming Barriers to Learning for Busy Moms
So how do we do it? How do we find time for it?
One strategy I mentioned at the beginning is to start the day with some learning activity, during your little self-care time. But I also collected some other options so you can choose whichever fits your lifestyle the best 😊
1. Strategic Time Blocking
Busy moms often find their schedules tightly packed with family and work commitments. To overcome this challenge, strategic time blocking can be a game-changer. Allocate dedicated time slots in your calendar for learning activities, treating them with the same importance as other commitments. This proactive approach ensures that learning becomes a structured and non-negotiable part of your routine.
2. Prioritize with Purpose
With numerous responsibilities, it’s essential to prioritize learning goals with purpose. Identify areas of personal or professional development that align with your long-term aspirations. By focusing on what truly matters to you, you can streamline your learning journey and make intentional choices that cater to your unique needs and ambitions.
3. Embrace Bite-sized Learning
Recognizing the time constraints of a busy mom, embrace the concept of bite-sized learning. Instead of committing to lengthy courses, explore microlearning modules, short videos, or podcasts. These condensed formats allow you to absorb valuable information in smaller, manageable chunks, fitting seamlessly into the snippets of time available between errands and responsibilities.
4. Tap into Online Resources
Leverage the power of online resources and educational platforms that offer flexibility. Many courses, workshops, and learning materials are available online, enabling you to learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your home. Explore apps, webinars, and community forums designed to accommodate the busy lifestyles of mothers, providing a supportive environment for continuous learning.
5. Build a Support Network
Establishing a support network is crucial for navigating the challenges of learning as a busy mom. Connect with like-minded individuals—whether fellow moms or learners with similar goals. Share experiences, insights, and resources. This network not only provides encouragement but also opens avenues for collaborative learning and the exchange of valuable tips on managing time effectively.
As we navigate the complexities of motherhood, integrating these hints, and embracing lifelong learning not only fosters personal growth but also contributes significantly to mental resilience and overall happiness.