Your body is meant to feel good. You know that, right? You are supposed to get up in the morning with energy and make it through the day with energy to spare when you put your head on your pillow at night. There shouldn’t be dips and valleys in energy throughout the day. Your energy should be a constant flow through you, not high and lows. Our bodies are meant to take us through this life feeling good, strong, healthy.
Now granted, there are trying times in Motherhood. There are sleepless nights, teething babies, tantrummy toddlers, children learning boundaries and teens with attitude. Whatever stage of Motherhood you’re at, there are trying times. Absolutely. But wouldn’t it make the most sense to give your body a fighting chance at feeling as good as possible in spite of all the outside demands in your life?
Oh yes! Yes, it does!
Ask yourself these five questions to see if there might be ways for you to “tweak” your energy and help you feel better, with more energy…all day.
Are you getting 8 hours of sleep per night?
Okay, this one even makes me laugh. I’m chronic 4-5 hours of sleep per night gal, but the goal is for us to shoot for at least 8 hours. Can you imagine? I just…I can’t even wrap my head around this one. But, some day…some day I’ll get there.
I digress. Sleep. It’s mega important. While you’re sleeping your body and brain are doing a lot to repair the damage you did during the day and get you ready to rock your day when you wake. Your brain is busy forming new pathways so you remember things. A lot of the so-called “Mommy brain” has to do with sleep deficiency. There’s no way you can fire on all cylinders when you don’t get sleep. The brain just hasn’t had time to restore itself and form informational pathways. Poor big brain.
AND, know what else? Sleep helps you feel less hungry. What the what?! Yup. While you’re catching your zzz’s, your body is working hard to ensure the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) and full (leptin) are balanced. Little to no sleep? Ghrelin increases and leptin decreases so you feel more hungry. What happens when you feel hungry? You eat, goober. YOU EAT…when you don’t need to.
So, for the love of your grocery budget…get some sleep!
Are you eating throughout the day at proper intervals?
Let’s talk breakfast first, shall we? It’s been said over and over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There’s a reason and it’s because:
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
I hate to be blunt about it, but…no wait…no I don’t. Eat your damn breakfast, people! I’ll even one-up it: eat your damn breakfast within two hours of waking up, people! In both Hot Mama’s 12-week nutrition education program, Body Smarts and our at-home IGNITE program we this as one of our #1 “Rules”. Why? Because it breaks the overnight fasting (unless you sleep eat), helps replenish your supply of glucose and, if you eat a healthy breakfast (Fruitloops not included) it provides energy and nutrients you’ll need to keep energy high throughout your day.
Speaking of throughout your day: eat meals and stop grazing.
I want you to shoot for eating your meals and snacks every 2-4 hours with a break of at least 2 hours without putting food into your mouth. This helps keep your body in a relatively stable zone when it comes to energy available for you to use. You’ll have a lot fewer sugar swings and dips and valleys of energy if you are able to maintain this schedule. Give it a whirl if you don’t do this yet and let me know how awesome (or not…in that case, we’ll need to talk) you feel.
Are you drinking enough water?
I recommend that you drink between 2-3L of water per day. If you’re finding that you’re constantly hungry, I encourage you to drink more water. Many time hunger is actually a desperate plea for water. What kind of water? It doesn’t matter! Cold, hot, fizzy, flat, sweetened with fruit, with a lemon, with a straw, from a bottle, from a mug…I sound like a Dr. Suess book. Just drink the water!
Fill up a 2L bottle with water and make sure it’s gone by the end of the day. Your body is made of 75% water. Your blood? 90%. Yeah, it’s kinda super uber important. Water is important for weight maintenance (or weight loss should you so desire), heart health, brain health and it’s a major factor in energy. If you’re dehydrated you’re going to battle fatigue. So, help yourself out. If you’re feeling sluggish and tired, try drinking some water.
FYI…coffee is not water. No. Bad. Drink water. It’s the clear stuff, comes from a tap. Drink it.
Are you being active 60 minutes per day, every day?
C’mon, you had to know this one was coming. Exercise can help give you energy. Hormones, metabolism, endorphins, strength, cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance…oh my! Exercise and physical activity can help you in so many ways (I could write a book!), but let’s just talk about a very basic concept: the fitter you are, the easier your days are going to be.
When you’re stronger, the loads you need to carry throughout the day aren’t as difficult. When you have a better cardiovascular fitness, the demands placed on, or your feelings of perceived exertion throughout they day, will feel like less. You’ll be able to carry, haul, drag, twist, turn, dance and play for longer periods of time without fatiguing and taking a break.
Don’t even get me started on how GOOD you can feel after a workout. Endorphins, hormones, self-confidence, pride. Fitness and exercise benefit you in so many ways. So go on, go be active.
Why 60 minutes per day? That’s the recommended guidelines from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology…for both adults and children. That doesn’t mean your sweating and heaving and huffing and puffing that entire time. That means you have a 10-minute dance party with your kids, you go for a 20-minute walk, you take the stairs, you start including walking meetings. Whatever it takes…60 minutes. Every day. For the rest of your life. YAY!
Do you take time for self-care?
Listen, I know you’re busy. I know it doesn’t seem like you can fit it in on top of everything else. I know that some of you will think taking an hour out of your day just for you is selfish. Let me be the probably 100th person to tell you: it’s not selfish, it’s critical. You need time for you. You need to time to rest, relax and breathe. You’re important. Your energy is important. I bet you’re the glue that keeps your family together…but if you dry up and get crusty you’re no good to anyone. Nice visual, oui?
Take the time, Mamas. Grab a tea and your favorite book. Book a pedicure. Go for a hike on your own. Go for a coffee with a good friend and laugh until your sides hurt. Plan that girls night out you so desperately need. Go on…go laugh and have fun. Be you. Embrace you. Enjoy you. Reflect on the positive things you’re doing in your life and focus on the good. They’re there. I know it.
It’s time to take time for self-care so that you can have the energy that your family and friends need and want from you. You’re important. Treat yourself that way.
So Mamas…how’d you do? How are your energy levels? Are there things that you can change today that can help you battle fatigue and a lack of energy. Choose one thing to focus on today. What’s it going to be?
Our bodies are meant to feel great. We’re meant to have energy all day, every day. So, make some small changes and let’s see how very good you can feel.
Me? I’ve decided to take time for self-care. I’m going to book myself a pedicure. How about you? What are you going to do today for your energy? I’d love to hear about it…comment below and let me help keep you accountable!
Good luck! You got this!
EXCELLENT list, and kind of tough to read as well. I literally need to work on ALL of these areas…
With a teething toddler, and a full-time college schedule, sleep is tough to control, but I can seriously make some life changes, starting with a bottle of water. Thanks for sharing! <3