Have you ever felt like you just want to lie down on the sofa when your kids want to run around and play with you? Do you make it through the morning but then as soon as early afternoon hits you want to curl up and relax?
I didn’t get enough sleep for over seven years when my kids were young. I wasn’t blessed with good sleepers or I didn’t train them well enough! I suffered through many, many long days of being overly tired.
Most moms use coffee or sugar to make it through and so did I. But! I started learning more and more about energy and nutrition when I started researching how successful people handle things.
I had no idea there are other ways to get energy!
There are five ways to get more energy. Sleep, water, food, movement and self care.
1. SLEEP. I'm guessing if you have young children, you are not getting a good night's rest. Interrupted sleep is one of the worst kinds. If you can get to bed early, do that - or take a 20 minute nap if at all possible. Sleeping in is not as effective as those two strategies. You'll get more energy for the afternoon if you take a short snooze or the next day if you get to bed early tonight!
More sleep was not a great option for me for years because my oldest sleeps at 9pm and my youngest up in the middle of the night and in the morning around 5:30am.
For years I was using what I thought was fuel but in reality caffeine and sugar are short-term energy boosters. That’s why they work really well for a short time. It’s OK to use them, but it should be in a pinch, not on a daily basis - if you really need bursts of energy for things.
A better way to use fuel is to play the long game.
2. HYDRATE. Instead of using sugar of coffee, start with water. Your body starts getting tired when it’s just a little dehydrated. That’s why it’s important to drink water BEFORE you’re thirsty. Drinking coffee is NOT drinking water. It tricks you into thinking you’re drinking, but actually you need an extra glass of water for each cup of coffee you drink.
I love water. I played basketball and tennis all through high school and into college and water was like heaven after a tough workout. A lot of my friends tell me they hate drinking water - including my husband and daughter. Try flavoring it a bit. I add lemon juice to my daughter’s water bottle at school and she loves it. We also add magnesium powder to it and it makes it taste like raspberry. You can get one of those fancy infuser pitchers and stick fruit inside so you have cucumber or watermelon flavors. Ginger gives a little kick and so does a bit of cayenne pepper.
3. EAT SMART. When you’re eating, remember to eat groups of macronutrients together. If you’re going to have carbs, add a protein and fat to your snack to be fuller and more energetic for a longer time. Or just do a protein and a fat! Add greens and veggies whenever, wherever you can. I find they don’t give you a burst of energy like coffee, but they give me a long term energy throughout the day.
If you’re short on sleep, don’t make your digestive system work when it should be focusing on rest. Don’t eat a few hours before bed. I know you’ll want to! Your body is hungry late at night because it’s tired! Go. To. Sleep. Turn off your screens.
4. MOVE. The fastest way to get more energy is this one! Get moving! Get your body moving and it will produce hormones that help you feel more energetic. It’s best to do this outside. The sun also gives us energy and so does change in temperature.
Move any way you can. Take the kids to the park and play tag with them. Do lunges or jumping jacks or climb on the playground equipment with them. Break out the jogging stroller and go. I know it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired, but bursts of movement give you more energy.
If your kids are with you and you don’t want to do a full-on workout and get into your workout gear, take 5-10 minutes and try moves like:
You’ll get energy for the next hour. I swear!
5. SELF CARE. You need a little downtime. The kids keep you running all day and sometimes night. Take a few minutes to pamper your physical body. It’s so easy for us to jump on social media or goof off on our phones to get a mental break, but that isn’t helping us physically.
You can just do little things for a few minutes at a time like:
If you have more time or money:
For mental self care at the same time, take some time on the weekend just for you - do what you love - a hobby, a gentle exercise class, nature or beach walk/hike, go to a coffee shop or shopping mall and relax, read a for fun book or get together with friends.
When my kids were babies, I thought things would be pretty much back to normal when they were old enough for preschool. Not true. It still takes a tremendous amount of energy to care for little ones. Don’t forget to reward yourself by rejuvenating through some of these ways! Try and sleep, eat smart and drink lots of water, move and take extra good care of your body. You’re the rock of the family, mama!
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