I often hear from other moms, "There's just not enough time and energy to get everything done!" And while we do all have the same amount of time in a day, we all have different levels of energy. Energy varies a lot due to stages of life, stresses of life, health, nutrition, lack of sleep, certain medications and the number of responsibilities we have.
I've struggled for years to manage my asthma with different medications and diets... but have been fairly unsuccessful in managing it well. It really saps my strength a lot of the time. So I've had to learn how to work around it. I can't run and play soccer, or even do ballroom dancing with my husband, but I can do lots of other things.
I can still function as a mother and wife, certainly not perfectly, but with a good amount of productivity.
If you too struggle with fatigue, I want to share with you what has helped me get the things done that I need to:
But I do recommend first, if you are tired a lot of the time, talk to your physician and get a check up, to make sure you don't have something going on that needs to be treated.
- If it's possible, try and fit a few naps in during the week. When my husband is home on the weekends, and can hold down the fort, I like to take a nap both days. I reciprocate for him too! You may think taking a nap isn't getting things done, but it is! It's taking care of you, and will give you a boost later.
- Find when you feel most productive, and do the most important things first.
- When I find myself having a bunch of energy, I go with it. I work on tasks I haven't been up to doing earlier.
- I keep a running list of must do's and might do's to prioritize and keep me on track.
- My top priorities when it come to chores are to keep up with dishes and laundry. If I leave dusting, mopping or vacuuming to another day, it's not that big of a deal, but dishes and laundry pile up!
- Ask your kids to help with age appropriate chores. Their participation can help a lot.
- Ask your spouse for help. I know, I hate to ask my husband for help, because I know he works hard too, but he knows things are better for both of us and our kids, if we support each other and model helpfulness and compassion.
- Hire help or a babysitter if you can afford it. For the last few years, I've paid someone to watch my kids for the day, about once every 3 weeks. Since I homeschool, my children are with me all the time, and having this day off gives me time to recharge, have some quiet, and do things I want to or need to do.
- I say no to a lot of outside responsibilities and activities. I reserve my strength for my current priorities. I frequently get asked to make and decorate cakes for different events, and my response has been, that I would be happy to buy one, but I'm not going to deal with the time and stress of making one.
- Make sure you stay hydrated, and try to eat healthy. I'm preaching to the choir here! Water is probably the best thing to drink, but I also drink green drinks and carrot juice, and I take a multivitamin. (Consult with your doctor about what's best for you).
- If I wake up a little early, and I'm not still sleepy, I get up. For some reason, I get more done, when the rest of the house is asleep. 😛
- I try and simplify as much as I can: possessions, chores, gifts, laundry, grocery shopping.
- When you can, and even if it's just a drawer at a time, purge and declutter your whole house. This is a continual process at my house, but I find it energizing and restful when there is less STUFF.
- I still enjoy having people over, but I have to keep things simple and easy. For company dinners I often choose to make soup in the crockpot, along with chips and salsa, or order pizza.
- There are so many books I want to read, and I've found that listening to them on Audible, or getting the audio-book from the library on Overdrive, takes up much less energy. If I'm doing something mindless on my computer like deleting emails or editing pictures, I often listen to a book at the same time.
- One of the things I've told myself lately is I can always sit down if I get tired, but once I'm down, it's much harder to get up. The whole "body in motion" law. (However, I don't push to exhaustion, and you shouldn't either).
- Just this last year, my hubby and I have started going to bed a lot earlier. When our kids were little, we got in to the habit of staying up late, so we could have some time after they went to bed, to do what we wanted. Now though, we've started going to bed shortly after the kids do, and giving up most of our TV time. There's really not much worth watching anyway, and we can DVR it for later if there is.
- Since I struggle with doing super physical activities with my kids, I choose less taxing things to do with them, like puzzles, reading books together, playing with playdough, drawing or coloring together, watching a movie, playing "I Spy," hide and seek, or playing computer or Wii games. When I do have the lung power, we take walks, ride bikes, go to the playground or shoot hoops.
I've seen my parents and others' health deteriorate with arthritis and hip and knee problems, and how discouraging it is for them to not be able to work like they used too.
So even though I struggle with fatigue, I'm so thankful I can work, I feel it's a gift. It's beneficial mentally and physically to be productive and provide for our families, and while I certainly don't mean that we should push ourselves to exhaustion, we don't have to shut down and give up either!