Despite being one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, I think we can all agree that parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is. Long hours, juggling work and home life, constant running, home works, meal times, cooking, cleaning, the list goes on. The stresses and pressures of parenting have left many of us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and with little time or energy to take care of ourselves. It’s the perfect storm really where lack of time meets poor food choices, shortage of sleep, lack of downtime and too much parental stress. The result is often burn out. Our bodies are designed to deal with quite a lot but sometimes the demands of being a parent can take its toll.
Here are my top tips for helping you fire on all cylinders, avoid parental burnout and build up those much-needed energy reserves to support you on your parenting journey.
1. Prioritise You: With so much to do and so little time to do it all, putting ourselves first and making ourselves a priority can be hard. Make positive lifestyle, prioritise yourself, take time out to ensure you are taking care of your long-term health – go for a walk, do a yoga class, take a bubble bath or meet up with a friend.
2. Eat regularly: Busy lives can often lead to skipping meals and poor food choices. I see this all the time with the busy mums I work with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with convenience foods but they are generally lower in nutrients and can be more expensive in the long run. Our first line of defence is a healthy diet and by eating nutrient rich foods regularly, we are giving ourselves a consistent supply of energy throughout and avoiding those mid-morning and afternoon energy slumps that leave us feeling exhausted.
3. Meal Plan: This can be a game changer if done right. How often have you started the week full of good intentions when it comes to meals, only to find that life gets in the way and you grab to go for a more convenient choice because there is nothing in the fridge? Take 15 mins out of your weekend to plan meals and snacks for the week ahead, do the weekly shop and spend a bit of time on Sunday prepping and maybe making a few meals to store in fridge or freezer for the week ahead.
4. Optimise sleep: Make sleep a priority in your life. For a parent, getting a full night’s sleep can be challenging but it is still advisable to always aim for 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night. Sleep is when the body rests and recovers and is as important for our mental health as it is for our physical health. Lack of sleep impacts stress hormones, and stress hormones mess with our sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene by getting into a habit of no screen time 60 mins before bed as this will ensure a better night’s sleep. Keep the room dark and cool and remove all distractions.
5. Get outdoors: A regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to beat fatigue and increase energy levels. Getting out for a walk or run is often one of the last things on a parent’s to-do list and at the end of a busy day or week, exercising is not the most appealing way to unwind. However, getting that heart rate up and moving our body helps produce those lovely endorphins, the happy hormones that trigger that positive, rejuvenated feeling in the body and mind.
6. Drink Up: Water makes up about 60% of our body, and every single cell in the body needs water to function properly. Dehydration can be one of the biggest causes of tiredness. It can also lead to irritability, poor concentration and brain fog. Drink regularly to keep tiredness at bay and to ensure everything is working efficiently in the boys. Aim for app 2 litres per day.
7. Manage Stress: Parental stress is real and it can put a huge strain on all the family. Finding was to cope with parenting stress is important - talking to other parents, joining parenting groups or reaching out and asking for professional help if needed. Committing to taking some time out for yourself everyday can be a great way of reducing stress levels. Self-Care is not selfish; it is not a luxury or something that needs to be earned. Remember to appreciate and value yourself as a parent.
For more tips on how to boost your energy levels and grab a copy of your very own busy mum’s survival guide, head over to my website https://www.clarehegartyhealth.com/ and download your free copy of my Busy Mums Survival Guide today.