You don’t have to be a mom to feel chronically exhausted, but it sure does feel a lot more intense when you’ve got littles running around, constantly clamoring for your attention. Being on call 24/7 is no joke. So while this post can help anyone, it’s geared toward women like me.
As a work-at-home mom it’s easy to lose both focus and momentum. Being your own boss is great…until it isn’t. There’s no one telling me what to do (unless you count the two year old). This means that maintaining high levels of energy is a must.
In this post I’m going to give you four strategic areas for hacking energy: energy fakes, energy boosts, energy fixes, and energy repairs. Take a minute, grab your cup of coffee, and read on.
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We all know the well-worn cliché about faking it until we make it, right? The thing about clichés is that they become clichés because they contain some grain of truth. That’s why we are going to start with faking our energy.
First, you want to make it a point to perform some sweat-producing, heart-pumping exercise first thing in the morning. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive. But I’m tired, you say.
I know. That’s why I’m telling you to do this. And it’s not going to feel fun at first (or maybe ever), but after a week of consistently doing something active for a minimum of 15 minutes each morning, you’ll see what I mean. Exercise clears the brain fog and sets the tempo for your day.
Yes, you might have to wake up even earlier to fit this in before the kids get going. And yes, that feels like torture. Just give it a chance and try it.
Second, after you exercise and shower, get dressed. And by dressed, I mean hair and makeup done, shoes and jewelry on. Get ready for action—ready for anything. This will subconsciously tell your mind that you’re serious about the day.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired I commonly turn to caffeine or carbs. The reason for this is because exhaustion signals a lack. Something is missing, whether it’s certain nutrients or quality rest.
One help I’ve turned to many times over the years is L-Tyrosine. Tyrosine is an amino acid—one of the building blocks of our bodies—that improves energy and brain function. Although there are different brands available, I’ve found the VitaCost brand to work sufficiently well, and it’s a great value.
More recently, I began taking Spark… then my sister started taking it…and now both our guys take it. Spark is a game changer, and the fabulous thing about it is that Spark includes L-Tyrosine, so you don’t have to add another thing to your vitamin collection. According to the product label,
“Spark contains 120mg of caffeine to give you a quick boost, B vitamins to enhance your body’s natural ability to produce and sustain its own energy and neuroactive amino acids that help increase your mental focus and alertness.”
I take my Spark as soon as I roll out of bed in the morning and experience the benefits all day long. You can order Spark here.
Next, there’s the 17 minute coffee nap. Don’t ask me why 17 minutes, but when my friend Erin suggested backing my power nap from 20 minutes down to 17, I felt like I’d found the magic formula. Sure, it takes a few minutes to shake off the grogginess, but then I’m set for the rest of the day. If I’m feeling really tired that day, I drink my coffee before lying down. Otherwise, I enjoy a cup and a fun book for a few minutes while waking up.
Finally, I find that turning on lively music—whatever that means for you—gets me back on track. If the kids are awake, I’ll blast it and we’ll have a little dance party. Blood pumping = energy boosted.
When it comes to energy fixes, we have to think root problem/long-term solution. These are the things we all know we should be doing, but the crazy pace of life can crowd them out until we are completely worn down.
This is where you want to check your:
Water intake. Are you drinking enough? Eight 8-ounce glasses a day is not enough for the average woman. While opinions on the percentages for this equation vary, here’s an easy way to determine the amount of water you should be drinking each day. Take your weight, divide by two and that’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day. This means that a 150 pound woman should be drinking between 9-10 8oz glasses of water each day.
Consistent bed and wake time. Ouch, right? This one seems chronically impossible, whether because of our schedules, little life emergencies, or lack of discipline. So here’s my suggestion: challenge yourself to take five days—Monday through Friday—and consistently go to sleep and get up at roughly the same time. Make sure to budget the sleep hours that your body needs, keeping in mind that we’re all different here. Plan a reward for following through, and pay attention to how you feel during this experiment.
Consistent breakfast. Over the past two years I’ve gradually shifted to eating the same breakfast almost every day. For me, it’s a sausage, egg, and cheese casserole that I make ahead and freeze in single portions. The protein is just what my body needs to make it through the morning. When I veer from this meal—even to something similar but perhaps with more carbs—I feel the difference and find myself eating more snacks and dragging through my day.
Foods that fuel. During the early stages of operation Lose The Baby Weight, I started eating big, veggie-laden salads for lunch with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top. For protein, I added cheese or a hardboiled egg. The goal for me was weight loss, but I soon discovered that the combination of living food plus the quality oils increased my energy. Salad is now my main lunch staple.
Our bodies need quality proteins, carbs, and fats. And as I am by no means a dietician, this is one area where you’ll need to do the research to find the best food choices for your body.
When it comes to energy, here’s the honest truth: sometimes we don’t have any energy because we need some serious recharge time. There are days when I realize I’ve been pushing myself hard for so long that I just need to STOP.
First, you can take a break. Practice showing grace and kindness to yourself. This might mean a full-on nap or sleeping in; a Netflix binge; ditching the list and getting outdoors; or whatever it is that feeds your soul. As a mom, you might need to plan backup childcare for this. Do it. We all need a break sometimes, and you’ll be a better mom after you recharge.
Another option is a change of scenery. If you usually work indoors, do something outside. Take the kids to a playground and read a book while they run around. Go to Starbucks with your laptop (or not). Whatever you usually do, shake it up and see what happens.
What are you waiting for?
Life is too short to live chronically tired. Do something today to take charge of your energy.
*I am not a medical professional. Always consult with your physician before making changes in your diet, supplements, and exercise regimen.