Are you an exhausted mom wondering how to have more energy?
I hear you, lady. I AM you. Welcome to Team Exhausted Mom. It’s a hardcore team to be a part of. Whether you’re drained thanks to pregnancy, fatigued due to that mom-style sleep deprivation, weary from breaking up sibling fights all day, or in a tough mental season, it’s all hard. Finding the energy to get through another day of parenting can sometimes be a mental hurdle that simply looks way too high for you to scramble your way over.
Before I became a parent, I didn’t get it. I didn’t get why moms thought they were so much more run-down than the average person.
Everyone is tired, right? Like, every adult human person is having long days at work, occasional bad nights of sleep, mental fatigue caused by stress, and late-night social activities (not to mention Netflix binges!)
But you know what? I miss the tired I experienced before I had kids! It felt tough at the time, but now I’m on the other side of it, I can see it was an easier tired to deal with. Hindsight, am I right??
I think motherhood is especially exhausting because our brains are no longer dedicated to simply getting ourselves through the day. Our mental load is always triple-stacked because we are thinking and functioning on behalf of our entire family as well as ourselves. And we’re being woken at all sorts of inconvenient points in our sleep cycle by tiny cries. And we’re probably not looking after our bodies as well as we should ideally be.
Everything just kind of adds up until we begin to believe that this is how we function now. We are exhausted moms. It’s our cross to bear.
However, there are some simple, achievable ways to have more energy to get through even the longest days of parenting.
There are always going to be days that drain every last bit out of you. But if you equip yourself with a few of these strategies, you just might be able to cope with those days a little bit better.
Tips For Exhausted Moms Who Need To Boost Their Energy Levels
1. Nourish your body
I used to roll my eyes at this kind of advice. And then I tried it and was floored. I used to eat a LOT of carbs, especially bread – often having toast for breakfast and lunch because it was quick and easy. Blah. A few months ago I signed up for a weight loss program that finally convinced me to change my eating habits. I began looking for ways to add vegetables to every meal – and I discovered just how quick and easy it actually is.
I started simple by adding a bag of tomatoes, some cucumbers and a whole lettuce to my weekly grocery shop, and I would add sliced tomato to my breakfast, fill a wrap with veggies and some ham or leftover chicken, or whip up the quickest, simplest salad in the world to have on the side of carb-heavy meals such as pasta bake. It was a surprisingly easy habit to create – and I naturally dropped my toast habit.
My primary goal was weight loss, but within a couple of weeks, I suddenly realised I wasn’t hitting the old midday slump I had become so familiar with each day. I didn’t feel like collapsing into a nap the moment Everley went down for her nap. So this whole eating-more-veggies thing has become a precious priority for me now, and I do whatever I can to get veggies into every meal. Try it yourself!
Do you drink enough water each day? Water is so great for your body for so many reasons – including being a natural way to boost energy levels. Women require a water intake of 2-3 litres per day, but so many of us fall seriously short of this goal. If your water intake could use a boost, try these simple ideas for incorporating more water in your day:
- Keep a big drink bottle somewhere you can see it – this motivational gallon bottle is a fun way to keep track of your intake
- Create a habit of drinking a tall glass of water after breakfast each morning
- Commit to drinking a litre of water when you sit down to watch an episode – have the full litre there on the coffee table and take sips as you watch the show
- Try a glass of water as a response to hunger before eating anything
- Keep a water bottle on your nightstand and take sips if you are woken by children through the night
- Get some of your water intake in via a cup or two of herbal tea – yep, it counts!
- Add some flavour to some of your water – add a slice of lemon, a squeeze of lime, some chopped cucumber or a handful of fresh mint leaves
Coffee is supposed to be our friend, right? Our right-hand man when it comes to sailing through our day? Unfortunately, our caffeine habits can actually hurt our energy levels overall. Nooooo! Sure, you get a short-term boost of energy after downing a cup of the good stuff, but there’s an inevitable flagging that awaits you. And when that happens, you have one of two choices – pick yourself back up with your next cup, or ride it out.
A couple of cups of coffee can be a perfectly acceptable part of a healthy diet. But if you find yourself relying heavily on it every day, it might be time to reduce your intake. I personally find that when I get in the habit of drinking too much coffee throughout my day, my sleep quality begins to suffer – and for an exhausted mom who’s already getting broken, disrupted sleep, this is extremely detrimental!
Don’t forget the caffeine content in other beverages too, such as black tea and fizzy drinks. It all adds up!
4. Focus on getting through one short interval at a time
A total lack of energy is a horrible thing to go through. When you wake up wondering how on earth you’re going to get through your day, it’s best to mentally break the day up into short intervals. Simply focus on getting through breakfast before worrying about the rest of the morning. Then focus on getting through the school run. Focus on getting through the next twenty minutes. Look at it however you need in order to make it feel more manageable.
By breaking a long day up into bite-sized chunks, you will make the day overall seem that little bit more manageable. The end of the day will come. You will be able to collapse into your bed. You just need to get through these brackets of time first.
5. Step outside to catch your breath
This is a major coping mechanism for me when I’m exhausted and mentally drained. I make sure Jackson and Everley are safe (usually watching TV or playing together), and I step outside. It is a breath of fresh air – literally and figuratively! It allows me to break my focus from parenting for a couple of minutes, which gives my exhausted brain a much-needed energy boost.
Getting yourself outside is a quick, natural way to boost your energy – and so much more! For me, it generally looks like me wandering around my patio to look at my plants. Or walking out to the clothesline to bring in a load of laundry. But for you, it could mean standing outside the front door and looking out across the street, or sitting in the grass out back and staring up at the sky, or even sitting at your outdoor table with a cup of tea if you have a few more minutes up your sleeve.
6. Give yourself something to look forward to
Sometimes the mental stimulation of anticipation can boost your energy levels. So give yourself something simple to look forward to at the end of the day – an episode of your current favourite TV show, some time to spend on a hobby or personal project, a date night with your husband, or even just a scoop of ice cream.
When you feel yourself flagging throughout the day, focus on That Thing. Even say the words out loud. I have literally whispered to myself “Gilmore Girls” at times when the kids have been driving me nuts! Because the anticipation of watching one of my favourite shows can help distract me, and remind me that the day will progress forward to the point where I get to sit alone and veg out on the couch.
7. Connect with a friend via Marco Polo
Are you familiar with the Marco Polo app? This is a discovery I’ve made in recent months when I’ve been unable to see friends face-to-face. It’s basically an ongoing video discussion – you create a video message for a friend to watch when it’s convenient for them, and vice versa.
Sometimes you want to vent to a friend, or simply give them a run-down of your day, but the idea of writing it all down in a text message is exhausting! Recording a video message is surprisingly cathartic – it’s easier than texting, and I find I naturally go into more detail and get a bit chattier when I’m speaking.
Marco Polo has felt like a lifeline for me some days, because it’s enabled me to tell my friends about my day, see their faces, hear about their days, and connect – without having to line up a convenient time to FaceTime or Skype with each other.
8. Aim for high-quality sleep
Sure, it’s likely inevitable that you’re not going to be sleeping through the night, but you can at least put your best, sleepiest foot forward by optimizing the Z’s that you do manage to catch. Instead of collapsing into bed, try to create a simple bedtime routine that helps you wind down. Some ideas to try:
- Go to bed at a set time… not when you’re too tired to keep your eyes open (this usually means you’ve gotten over-tired!)
- Put away the screens an hour or so before bedtime (that blue light is doing your sleep no favours!)
- Drink a warm, caffeine-free beverage (herbal tea or a warm cup of milk are perfect)
- Unwind your mind (try praying, meditating or breathing exercises)
- Keep your bedroom clutter-free (create breathing space for your eyes)
9. Get more energy via some natural remedies
I have a couple of natural remedies up my sleeve that I absolutely swear by in my bid to get more energy:
- Essential oils – I would call myself a moderate essential oils user. I don’t walk around with a haze of oils wafting off me at all times, but I do have quite a few go-to oils that I use in my day-to-day life. One of those oils is En-R-Gee by Young Living. It has a sweet, spicy aroma and gives my brain a nice little kick start. I usually splash a drop of it on the neckline of my clothes, or if I’m concerned about staining, I rub a drop onto my collar bone so I can smell it as I go about my morning. Other energy-boosting oils include orange, lime, and peppermint.
- Hair and Energy vitamins – I originally bought these vitamins to help combat my postpartum hair loss, but fell in love with it for the noticeable change in my energy levels! I take one every morning with my breakfast and it just helps sustain my energy levels throughout my day.
10. Mental health check-in
Fatigue can be a symptom of depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental health conditions. If these feelings of overwhelmed exhaustion have been hanging around for a while and don’t seem to let up, it’s time to have a chat with your doctor. There is absolutely no shame in partnering with a mental health professional to help combat your situation.
If you’re an exhausted mom, I hope this post has helped you understand how to have more energy and motivation.
While I can’t promise that the measures above are going to totally fix your exhaustion, I am so sure that they will at least help you to push through your day like a superstar.
How do you cope with the long days of parenting? Please share your own tips and tricks in the comments!
Want more awesome tips to help your day feel more manageable? Check out these 13 daily habits that EVERY mom needs to start practicing!