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Energy! What Every Parent Wants (Besides a Vacation!)

Energy. We all want it, we all need it, and there never seems to be enough of it.

 

Days are short and lists are long, and we need to find ways of getting through it all.

 

Just short of bagging the whole deal, we do all sorts of things to keep going, from pounding energy drinks to pulling all-nighters! Neither are the answers.

 

And “energy” goes way beyond getting up for a run, it’s the mental and emotional deficits in energy that trip us up as well. They just make the physical fatigue worse.

 

As busy parents and caregivers, we often feel like there is no alternative but to keep going, and that’s what we do. The decisions we make, good and bad, have a huge impact on our energy. To keep going, even when we know we shouldn’t, saps our energy on all levels, we complain, and we pay the price.

 

While alternatives exist, we may think using them is an inconvenience to others, a sign of weakness, or a commentary on our parenting abilities.

 

I’m here to tell you it’s time to let all that go.


There are folks that are willing to help, there is no weakness in asking for help, and no one is an expert on parenting. We’re all just here figuring it out together! So, do we have to be tired as well? I think not.


In the past, I was that person. Full steam ahead, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, no one can know I’m struggling, and it’s not right unless I did it.


You know what I got for that? Nothing.

 

I was exhausted, bitter, and quite frankly, a little tired of being tired all the time. I mean, I didn’t sign up for this! But in a way, I did, because I didn’t stop and take care of me.

 

There were daily habits and behaviors, self-care practices and support, diet, and nutrition options available to me all along.

 

At first, I didn’t know anything about them.

 

Second, I was too proud to admit I needed them.

 

Third I was moving too fast and in too deep to circle back.

 

Until the bottom fell out.

 

When you hit that rock bottom, you’re done. But there’s a beauty to the moment. A moment in time where you are too tired to do anything else, and so you think.

 

You think, “What can I do to change this?” That’s how I finally slowed down and searched out the answers.

 

It shouldn’t come to that and that’s why I’m happy to pass on to you, what I hope will help you avoid that day of reckoning I experienced.

 

Number 1 – Adopt Good Daily Habits, Behaviors, and Responses

 

Realistic Scheduling

 

Quite simply, we all have 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week. Schedule that time wisely.


Early mornings, back-to-back appointments, double-booking, and late evenings are a recipe for disaster.

 

Be realistic in your schedules and what you can do with the time and resources you have. You can’t be in two places at one time, so something has to give. We all want to have a life, our kids to have experiences, and to succeed in the things that are important to us. However, the most important thing should be balance and this goes hand-in-hand with stress relief. Without balance, the whole thing falls apart.

 

Really, who’s having a good time or getting the full value of anything running back and forth or being in one place and thinking about the other?


Ride-share, pair back, bow out, whatever it takes. Overscheduling leads to stress and exhaustion. Let go of the FOMO!

 

Good Sleep Habits and Hygiene

 

It’s just a no-brainer, better quality sleep based on your age recommendations, results in a more positive outlook and energy balance. The days of “grinding” on two hours of sleep are gone!


Make your goal quality sleep and attention to your sleep hygiene. Your sleep hygiene can include some of the following tips:


  • Invest in a Better Mattress and Bedding

  • Block Out Light (blue light included)

  • Minimize Noise

  • Set the Thermostat to 65 to 68 Degrees Fahrenheit

  • Set Your Alarm for the Same Time Each Day

  • Keep Naps Around 20 Minutes

  • Stop Eating or Drinking Three Hours Before Bed

  • Stop Working Two Hours Before Bed

  • Shut Down All Electronic One Hour Before Bed


Pay attention to how you feel during the day to determine whether you're getting the right amount of sleep for you. If you're sleeping enough, you should feel awake and energized during the day.

 

Boundaries

 

If good fences make good neighbors, good boundaries guard your energy.

 

Having and keeping strong boundaries around your time is essential in managing your energy levels. If you’re tired and someone asks you do to something, simply let them know you’d be happy to help but you’re not up to it. You’ll likely not enjoy what you’re doing or do a good job if you’re tired so you’re not doing anyone any favors by stretching yourself too thin.

 

Saying no often causes a bit of anxiety for people and you must let that go as well. People-pleasing is a huge drain on your energy. Conversely, if someone tells you no to something you’ve asked because they are maxed out, respect that.

 

Number 2 – Self-care Practices and Support

 

Walking and Movement

 

Walking for at least 15 minutes a day has been shown to have great benefits on your energy and mood levels. It may sound counterintuitive, but moving your body actually stimulates your senses and increases dopamine, the feel-good hormone and your energy levels rise.

 

Getting off the couch to get moving may be the most tiring part of the scenario because once your body is moving, it’s happy to keep going.

 

Spend Time Alone

 

This is a tough one, especially for parents and caregivers involved in daily care, but it’s so essential. Stepping away and having a few moments or more to yourself does incredible things for your energy. Having space where you don’t have to be “on,” even for a little while helps lower your cortisol levels which tax your body and drain your energy.

 

To get that time alone, share the responsibilities with friends, families, neighbors, or parents of your kids’ teammates to make sure some time is carved out for you. Engage in a time swap to make sure others have some time as well.

 

Number 3 – Food for Energy

 

A lot of us look at food for one reason, pleasure. When it comes to food, we’ve got it all wrong.

 

Yes, it’s tasty but its job is to provide fuel to power our bodies and eating the right food provides us with energy where eating the wrong food drains it of energy.

 

On a daily basis, strive to get as much energy boosting food into your diet as possible.


These include:

 

  • Oatmeal

  • Bananas

  • Yogurt

  • Eggs

  • Sesame seeds

  • Cinnamon

  • Walnuts

  • Lots of water

  • Bean

  • Lentils

 

Healthy fats from fish, nuts, and avocados can help fuel endurance sports like long-distance running. The best rule of thumb is whole fruits and vegetables, good proteins, and pass up the processed and fast foods.

 

Finally, don’t forget about your gut! Eating fermented foods goes a long way in supporting your gut health which supports just about everything! When your gut is bogged down with bad bacteria, feeling sluggish is not far behind.

 

Number 4 – Supporting Supplements

 

Now, I know it’s hard to eat healthy every day, all the time. If you are so included, you can supplement with vitamins to help with that little extra push. Here are a few of my favorites.

 

  • B-12

  • Iron

  • Vitamin D

  • CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q)

  • Vitamin C

  • Magnesium

  • Creatine

 

You should always strive to get the vitamin and mineral supplementation you need from food. In the absence of balanced meals, supplements may help. Always check with your healthcare provider before adding supplements into your daily routine to make sure you are taking the correct dose for your needs and to avoid any interactions with current vitamins or medications.

 

You’ve likely heard some of these recommendations before, but with all things, they don’t work, unless you apply them. Developing good habits to make them a part of your everyday life is key.


So, how is my energy? Pretty good actually. I follow most of these recommendations daily and have tried all of them at some point. Nobody's perfect. 😉


Do what you can, wherever you are, with what you have.

 

We’ll always need energy to fully experience health and well-being in every facet of our lives. Stop settling for less when it comes to having sustainable energy to move your life and goals forward.

 

If you’re struggling with your energy, be it physical, mental, or emotional, I invite you to book a call with me to explore ways to get you charged up again.

 

Take care and be well,

Courtney

 


Tired parents sitting on the couch with kids in the background.
Parents and caregivers need to stay mindful of their unique energy needs to support themselves and others.

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