One of the hardest parts of being a mother is the constant feeling of exhaustion. No matter what time you go to bed, waking in the morning can be a struggle – especially as it is rare to awaken at your preferred time when you have young children. You can feel as though you’re wading through treacle and have a head full of cotton wool.
Being tired can have big impacts on many aspects of your life, some of which are obvious; some not so much. I thought that it would be useful to suggest 3 ways to help you through those tough sleep deprived days.
1. Set realistic eating intentions
When you have been up with one of your children during the night, the first thing that can happen is your eating habits collapse. You might notice you start heading for the sugar laden options. The body is naturally looking for a way to increase its energy supplies in the easiest and quickest way. Sugar is an immediate energy hit. Sadly, the energy increase doesn’t last long and the energy spike will soon turn into a dip in energy and often a lowering of mood. This can often be mixed with a feeling of guilt that you have succumbed to the sugar that you promised yourself you wouldn’t eat. Perhaps you then find yourself heading to the biscuits, cake or chocolate again. It is a depressing downward spiral of tiredness, guilt and repeat.
Firstly, please be kind to yourself. Be understanding to yourself and allow yourself to recognise that tiredness can undo good eating intentions.
When you know you are tired, start the day with a good breakfast of protein such as egg cooked with coconut oil on wholemeal or gluten free bread.
This is a good substantial way to start the day that provides a slow release of energy. It is very easy to make even with screaming children around your feet.
At the weekends, make sure you get a rest in the day – as little as 30 minutes in your own in bed can recharge your batteries.
2. Be kind to yourself
You might find that you have a lot less patience and lose your temper easily. Maybe you are shouting at your children and partner more than you would like. Sleep deprivation makes you feel more frayed and less able to deal with stress – and let’s face it, motherhood and relationships are hard work. Sleep is when your body releases unwanted chemicals and relaxes the mind. So with less sleep, you will have more cortisol (stress hormone) in your body and your mind won’t have been able to let go. Not enough sleep has been linked to increased anxiety and depression so it is no wonder you are feeling more cranky than usual.
Feeling guilty and cross at yourself about your crankiness is going to add to your snappiness so please be kind to yourself and realise being a perfect parent is impossible. Apologise when you get cross and explain why. There are good life lessons there for growing people. During the early years of my three children, whenever I felt the tiredness was turning into anxiety, it was my sign that I needed to rest and focus on myself for a while.
It’s essential that you monitor when you need time out because no one else is going to tell you to rest.
If you find that you are feeling anxious or depressed, maybe your GP can give you help here. You could also look into herbs and bathing in healing salts, organic ashwagandha powder and Himalayan bath salts are two natural ways of helping your mind and body relax.
3. Give your confidence a boost
When you feel you are not controlling your food intake, feeling on edge and snapping at the people you love the most, this can really affect your self esteem and confidence. Women are great at believing they are not good enough, so these behaviours can have a significant negative impact on your confidence. There are lots of ways to improve your confidence – but one effective and easy method takes just 2 minutes a day.
Stand straight with your hands on your hips – just like Wonder Woman. Stand in that pose for 2 minutes.
I do it when I am in the shower, but you could do it when making a cup of tea or looking out of the window. By doing this, you reduce cortisol levels and increase testosterone (the power hormone). You’ll be amazed at quickly your confidence can come back.
Have a go at these ideas and notice the positive changes inside yourself. And remember you are doing an amazing job.
Giselle Monbiot is a Women’s Confidence Coach working one to one and running workshops to enable positive transformation for her clients. As a therapist for many years, she has learnt that good confidence is the foundation to a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. Giselle leads a busy and enjoyable life raising her three children and dedicating herself to helping people increase their confidence and self esteem. To read more about Giselle click here
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