I’m pretty functional on four or five hours of sleep (of course, my husband needs more sleep than a newborn). But, this past year, I’ve noticed that my normal ability to function on little sleep started to change. With two kids in two different schools, my job, my volunteer commitments at my daughter’s preschool, and my husband’s long hours at work, I started to feel exhausted all the time. I went from someone who could literally run a marathon on too little sleep to someone who was always complaining about being exhausted all the time. I hated that I’d become one of those women I detest overhearing at school drop off or in the waiting room at dance class — the one who just can’t stop talking about how tired she is, as if being exhausted is a badge of honor.
I started to look at my schedule, my commitments, and how I was spending my time with and without my kids. No wonder I was exhausted all the time! My schedule was crazy. I realized I was mom-tired for a reason. I was drained because everything I was doing had me outputting at a very high level. There was not a second of down time.
I realized what I was doing wasn’t sustainable. I needed to make room for me in my own life so that I wouldn’t feel so drained and lethargic. So, I made some changes this year and I feel so much better. Here are a few energy boosters I do as often as possible:
1. I make time to exercise. No matter how tired I am, exercise always makes feel energized. It also helps take the edge off of busy and stressful days. So, I always make the time to exercise, no matter what.
2. I got better at prioritizing. I wanted to make room in my life to enjoy things I was doing and to allow time for the things I wanted to do, but couldn’t. That meant saying yes to my own wants more often and saying no to over-committing myself and my kids. Now, I no longer go to sleep every night feeling like I’ve just run a very long race.
3. I ask my husband to pick up my slack. We really try to support one another and we try to work as a team. He works long hours, but so do I. So I no longer feel badly about asking him to help out with errands or school drop-off. Turns out, he doesn’t mind at all.
4. I indulge in “me” time — without the guilt. I try, whenever possible, to build in time for things that make me happy. Sometimes, it’s a frivolous trip to the mall. And sometimes, I just want 45 minutes to run to the nail salon and get my toes done. It may seem silly, but it makes me happy and energized. So I build in the time and I don’t apologize for it.
5. I try to eat healthfully. Let’s face it: We all feel more energetic when we eat healthy food. I notice a big dip in my moods and energy when I don’t eat well. No, salad doesn’t taste as good as pizza but at least I don’t feel like napping after lunch.
6. I focus on what I accomplish, not what’s left on my to-do list. I noticed much of my fatigue came from constantly worrying about what I wasn’t getting done. So now I really try to focus on my successes throughout the day.
7. I make time to see my friends. Whether it’s a girl’s night out or a kid play date with a family I really like, I prioritize social time knowing I always feel energized after time with friends. Hopefully they do, too!
8. I set realistic goals. I’d love to write a novel while my daughter is at preschool, but it’s probably not going happen. So instead of spinning my wheels trying to complete goals that aren’t realistic, I’m trying to be honest with myself about what I can really do with my time.
9. I’ve accepted my domestic imperfections. I don’t always have time to keep my house spotless or have a fully stocked fridge. So I don’t!
I still don’t get more sleep, but there’s a little bit more time for me in my own life. Turns out that’s really all I needed!
What do you do to feel more energized throughout the day?