Let’s just be honest. Motherhood is tiring! Even if, unlike me, you’re a young mother – you still get tired. In reality, it’s not just MOTHERhood. It’s WIFEhood as well. We don’t just take care of the kids. We take care of our husbands, our homes, our social lives, our kids, and more. We basically run the family. I speak from a stay-at-home mom perspective these days, but I was once a working mom and it wasn’t much different. My husband helped some, but the majority of the responsibility for the home and kids still seemed to fall on me. And that’s okay. I happen to be of the camp that believes that is as it should be – for the most part. Or maybe I’m just such a control freak that I needed it to be that way. But I digress.
So, what to do when you’re wiped out and the work’s not done? Here are just five ways to keep yourself energized and/or recharge your batteries on the fly.
#1 – Push Through
That probably seems harsh, but sometimes it’s what needs to be done and quite frankly, I think we’ve become a bit soft in this area. I’ve often heard the saying, “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it”. I believe that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. My grandmother and great-grandmother were pushers and they were some of the strongest women I’ve known. If it needs to be done, just do it and get it over with, keeping a restful reward as the carrot at the end of the stick to keep you motivated. You may find that 10th wind kicking in while you’re doing it.
#2 – Know Your Limitations
Having said to “push through”, at the same time you don’t want to push yourself to the point of a breakdown. That does no one any good. If you are so exhausted that the thought of pushing through drives you to tears, STOP. Take a tea/water/coffee break and sit down for a few minutes. An hour if necessary. Sit and watch your kids play. Read a few passages in Psalms – out loud is even better, if you can. Or just close your eyes and breathe. Push the reset button.
#3 – Stay Hydrated
It is SO important to our energy level to stay hydrated. As soon as I start feeling fatigued or start to get a headache, I know I haven’t had enough water. That is my first go-to when I feel my energy draining. Drink, drink, drink … water.
#4 – Keep Your Blood Sugars Level
I know how it goes. We get so busy taking care of everyone else, we forget to take care of ourselves. The first thing on our to-do list should be a healthy breakfast (more than a cup of coffee). I’ve started keeping overnight oatmeal jars in the fridge, full of healthy super foods like flax and chia seeds, and plenty of berries. I keep plenty of nuts and other fruits around as well for the rest of the day. I try to eat a little something every 2-3 hours; a handful of nuts, an orange or apple. Something to keep me going that doesn’t take a lot of time, especially on my busier days. Neglecting your health is the same as neglecting your family. You can’t take care of them if you’re sick. Make sure you’ve eaten today.
#5 – Catch some Zzzz’s
At least 7-hours worth. A good night’s sleep is paramount to maintaining a sufficient energy level throughout the day. When I was younger, I would stay up well past everyone else going to bed in order to get some things done that I wanted to do. It’s a common mom practice. We get more done when the house is quiet and no one is in our way. Unfortunately, that can rob the next day. Especially if you’re like me and don’t function well on minimal sleep. Pushing ourselves to the brink by not getting enough sleep is neither productive nor healthy. MAKE yourself go to bed at a decent hour. You should certainly be tired enough to sleep.
There are lots of other things you can do to get your energy level up when you’re sagging; take a walk outside, dance, do some jumping jacks with your kids (kids love jumping jacks for some reason), take a nap when the kids take a nap. Or, some advice another mom gave me years ago – take the kids to Chick-Fil-A and let them play in the play area while you just sit and be. I’ve done that a few times. It works.
Bottom line, Mom, is this: You have a job to do that requires lots of energy. Do your best to take care of yourself so you will be at your best, able to love and care for your family to the best of your ability.