Energy reserves start to plummet into oblivion and the room starts to spin. The demands from my kids get louder and more persistent… I look at the time… “SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME!!!”, I scream in my head! I know all of the things I ‘should’ be doing, to be a caring, attentive and loving parent… but it’s just not happening. My body is there, but in my mind, I want to be crashed out in bed with the covers pulled over my head… Do you know the feeling?!
Yes, I know you do! Well, I’ve been through it enough times that I’ve found some pretty good things that will help to pull you out of the black hole of tiredness and touched out-ness (touched out meaning: being touched groped or climbed on all day by small people). These twelve sanity saving ideas can be done with kids of any age and are natural, quick, easy to do and are free or very low cost!
1. Accept the Situation.
Accepting any situation, good or bad, as it is, is the very first step. When you bring awareness to how you’re feeling, you get a glimpse of the bigger picture and can start to move from there. Sometimes all I have to do is just accept that I’m feeling tired of being ‘mama‘ and my mood starts to change immediately.
2. Make sure you’re getting enough SLEEP.
Ok, this one won’t help if you’re already tired. BUT, if you make sure that you’re not up too late EVERY night on facebook, watching TV, doing projects, reading books, etc., then you are much less prone to getting the tired and touched out-ness that I speak of. If they take a nap, sleep when they sleep! If you’re really exhausted, see if you can stay in a room where you kids can play safely. For example, when I was pregnant the second time around, I would lay on the couch and half doze because I knew that my toddler was, for the most part, staying out of trouble in a designated ‘safe’ area.
3. Do Something Grounding: Eat Something, as in COOK A MEAL!
Food will plant your feet back on the earth, if you’re feeling scattered and tired. Any food is better than none. But, something a little warm, a little wet and a little oily (like soup or a curry) will be the best! Even some toast with butter or oil will do. A cup of herbal tea can also bring you back to life, just from the warmth. Raw food is all the rage, but it might not help you if you’re feeling scattered (especially if it’s winter, although, it’s better than nothing). Coffee, chocolate, sugar, etc. might seem to work temporarily, but will probably leave you feeling tired and dull later on. If you are too tired to cook, get some take away. And, if you have a young baby that won’t let you put him or her down, try wearing using a sling or baby carrier so that you can put something nourishing down your pie hole! If you’re really organized, get your friends over for a mamabake or a potluck, so that you’ll never go hungry again!
You only have a few excuses to not get out of the house at least once during the day. 1. If there’s a polar vortex. 2. If it’s horizontal rain. 3. If you’re very sick. 4. If there are giant gorillas outside your door. Even a walk down the street will get the oxygen flowing to your brain and you will soon be able to think. Whatever the weather (within reason), bundle up, put on a hat, bring an umbrella and get outside. Better yet, call another one of your sleep deprived parent friends and meet up with them.
5. Unplug Yourself
We want to ‘escape‘ reality, so we get on our phones, or put on the TV. While, this may distract us for a few moments and it *seems* to be helping, screen time is actually very draining on your energy. Every time you ‘zone out‘ on the screen, it firstly, makes your kids go bonkers because they’re dying for you to stay in the present moment, with them. And, second, it takes your mind a while to switch from reality to virtual-reality (even if you think you’re good at multi-tasking). Even if you’re doing the ‘ol, hop on facebook once every ten and a half minutes… that will make you even more tired and spacey. If you actually feel like you might loose it on your kids, yes, please distract yourself! But, if you’re just feeling tired and scattered, ditch the phone or the TV for at least an hour and see how it will improve your mood. For the record, I don’t have a TV in my house.
6. Laugh, Smile, and Play!
Be goofy with your kids! They will love it and eventually, even you will be cracking a smile too. Sit on the floor, at their level and play silly games that make you laugh (not laughing at them, but laughing with them). Sing the the wrong words to a song. Put your socks on your hands, or read the wrong words to a book that they know well. You can even play a little game of peek-a-boo with small baby. If they start laughing, you will start laughing. When you laugh, your energy has no where else to go, but UP and your body will be reminded, that, YES, you are in fact breathing! Try it and see! Your kids will only look at you in shock and disbelief for a moment before gleefully joining you.
7. Take a Cold Shower
A cool-ish shower will do too, if you’re already living somewhere cold. If you’re not sure how to manage a shower because you’ve got a small baby. Either take them in with you, if you feel comfortable doing so (but make it a little warmer for their sake), or put them nearby in a bouncer, so you can keep an eye on them. A shower almost always will bring you back to life (but you may get sleepy again if it’s a hot shower).
8. Ask for Help
Online advice from friends is nice… but it’s always better to talk to a real person when you need help. Just hearing someone’s voice; a friend, your husband or a family member, even if they can’t be there to physically help you, can be enough to pull you through a slump. (Be careful to not go on complaining, that will bring your energy down, just a quick ‘HELP ME’ will usually suffice… you might even start laughing at yourself).
9. Do a Random Act of Kindness or Write Down Something You’re Grateful For
Nothing uplifts your spirits like helping others or being grateful for what you have. A real random act of kindness means something out of the ordinary that you do for someone else and don’t expect anything in return. If you can’t find anything to do that’s nice for someone, at least write down something you’re grateful for. Include your kids in the process and see how it changes your state of mind!
10. Give Yourself an Oil Massage
If you’re feeling tired and scattered, an oil massage is another trick up your sleeve. You can choose to include your kids or not. Mine always love it. Use some warm oil, something like coconut, sesame or even olive oil. Start on your face, rub your shoulders (a lot), and get as much of your back as you can. Arms, legs and feet especially. It can get a little messy, so be sure to keep the oil in a place where it won’t be knocked over by the kids. I like to shower afterwards. Babies usually love massage, here’s how to do infant massage.
11. Have a Dance Party
Put some music on that will really make you move. Moving around will make you wake up, and dancing will *probably* make you smile. If your kids are not used to seeing you let loose on the dance floor, don’t worry, they’ll only look at you funny for a second or two before they join in your dancing. Make sure you work up a little sweat too.
12. Do Some Yoga Stretches
I did an entire blog post on how to do yoga with your kids under your feet. Guaranteed to bring some oxygen and blood flowing back to your brain.
A bonus #13, Repeat mantra: THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Even if you don’t do anything in the list of suggestions… remember… this moment can’t last forever. It’s impossible. So, don’t despair!
These are only a few ideas! Leave a comment and help other mamas out, if you do anything else to pick yourself up when you’re tired.
Disclaimer: This post is merely meant to be used as some fun suggestions to uplift your spirits when you’re feeling tired. While these suggestions can help anyone, please seek professional care if you suffer from depression, anxiety or are feeling consistently exhausted or aggressive towards your children.