Photo by eyeliam
Last week I began this series to discuss exhaustion and stamina in motherhood. Perfect timing for me, actually, because this week has been exceptionally draining. Some seasons are like that - and that's okay. Struggles lead to the development of perseverance and strategies for survival.
As I mentioned last week, weariness stems from either the physical or the emotional. It's not difficult to discover the causes of tiredness, but coming up with solutions is slightly more challenging.
Here are four strategies I find helpful during weary seasons:
1. Drink LOTS of water and a little caffeine.
A few months ago Steve and I decided to increase our water intake - it made a drastic difference to our energy levels. We were truly astounded by how alive we felt. I began keeping a tally of the amount of cups I drank to ensure I had enough.
Photo by Linus Bohman
My British husband is also ecstatic over my conversion to hot tea. By nature I'm a soda girl, through and through. (Love the stuff!) But I don't want my little people developing that habit, so I don't indulge very often. Instead I have a cup of tea in the morning (& occasionally another later during the day).
2. Move your body - do it anyway.
This refers to exercise (& conscious movement with your kids throughout the day), as well as self-discipline. I'm often amazed that when I force myself to get started on a project (art with the kids, a board game, a chore) even though I'm tired, the act of following through channels more energy and enthusiasm to keep going afterward. Persevere, and you'll reap the rewards.
Sometimes energy comes through the doing.
3. Make rest time a habit for your kids.
When our children no longer needed an afternoon nap, we switched to "rest time" instead. I use this time to write, rest, and read. The kids have special toys in their rooms that are only played with during this period.
It's fairly simple to transition children to rest time if they're used to staying in their rooms for naps. It can be more difficult if they're older and you want to introduce the concept. If that's the case, I suggest starting with a short period, using a special toy as an incentive, and working your way up to the desired amount of time. Our kids have rest time for 1.5 hours.
I did have challenges with Jonathan staying in his room at first, but I continued working with him, trying to (patiently!) direct him back when he came out. I'm glad I persevered because that quiet time refreshes me for the upcoming afternoon.
4. Go to sleep!
Do you ever feel like you reach the end of the day and haven't had any moments "to yourself?" At such times I feel like I'm "giving in" if I just call it quits and crash for the night. But I've discovered there are seasons when it's best to go to bed as early as possible. You and your children will reap the benefits the next day.
Photo by chego101
This past week I've been staying up an extra 30 minutes on average (because I'm engrossed in a DVD series). And I am so tired! It's amazing that even a half hour really adds up. So do yourself and your kids a favor - turn off the tv, shut down the computer, and get some rest.
Next week I'll wrap up this series with tips to deal with emotional fatigue. Learning to care for ourselves is another extension of taking care of and nurturing our families.
Today, let's set a good example by caring for our bodies. I'm off to bed!
How do you deal with physical tiredness?
(For More WFMW tips, visit We Are THAT Family.)