By Rosemary Marchese
Physiotherapist and mum of 3 fit kids
10 tips to beat fatigue in busy mums
Fatigue is crap. Let’s face it. If we didn’t feel it we’d have bundles of energy to do what we wanted all day. But we would also probably continue doing stuff we don’t like for longer. Feeling fatigued means you are feeling weary, tired or lacking energy that doesn’t go away when you rest. Don’t forget that fatigue can be physical and/or psychological.
Fatigue can often be traced back to your habits. I’m a massive fan of talking about habits. That’s why one of my latest books is called ‘The Fit Busy Mum: Seven habits for success’. I’ve watched a lot of people live through life not just tired, but seriously fatigued. This leads to burnout as the most positive outcome. Many outcomes are even worse. Fatigue can lead to depression and really terrible life habits and even addictions.
When I talk about habits I like people to realise just how much they affect your energy levels. For example, if you spend 15 minutes every day deciding what to wear, then you are being zapped of energy even before you start your work day. If you had chosen your clothes for the day the night before, when you need to be less ‘fresh’ for work, then you are using your day more wisely.
Decision making is one of the factors that lead to fatigue. We are faced with countless decisions every day, many of them we don’t realise we are making. What to wear. Whether to go to the gym or not. What to have for breakfast. This is all before we even start our day! By making positive life habits a part of your life you can rid yourself of draining situations so that you can at least GET started with your day with the kids energised.
Here’s an example. If you sit down once per week and plan out your meals for the week, including breakfast, lunch and dinner (with some flexibility for spontaneity of course) then you are making the decisions on one occasion once per week, rather than three times per day every day. If you sit down and plan your schedule and get exercise into your daily schedule from the beginning of the week then you don’t have to think about it during the week. You just do it. Just like brushing your teeth. Hopefully you don’t ‘think’ about whether you brush your teeth do you? Hope not.
Tips to help boost energy levels and fight fatigue
- Know what’s caused your fatigue
If you’re feeling fatigued then you need to find the cause of it. It may be lots of things, but as I said, it’s likely to be your habits. Plus there’s stress. Stress fatigues you. Is there someone you can delegate tasks to?
- Avoid caffeine
If you’re feeling extra tired and not shaking it, chances are you are also hitting the caffeine. Ironic as it may sound this is the time to start cutting back on the caffeine. The best way to do this is to gradually start cutting back over a period of say 3-4 weeks. Try to then avoid caffeine for a month and see how you feel.
- Don’t skip meals
A busy life often leads to skipping meals. Going without meals does nothing positive for your ability to concentrate and be happy during the afternoon ahead. You can’t be at the top of your game if you are skipping meals. Plus you are more likely to head to the cookie jar at 3pm if you skipped lunch. Not a nutritious and energising plan!
- Drink plenty of water
Keep water at your desk so that you sip all day. Being dehydrated is fatiguing.
- Eat a nutritious breakfast
Start the day off energised with a nutritious breakfast. Experiment with the amount and type of breakfasts that energise you and keep you satisfied for several hours before a morning snack.
- Eat well
This one goes without saying. You can’t be energised for work if you are not fuelling your body with wonderful, healthy food. Get organised and start meal prepping for a couple of hours on the weekend if you are struggling to ‘find time’ during the week.
- Sleep enough and sleep well
Getting enough sleep is vital. Most people need 7-9 hours per night. Go to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each day to help get your sleep pattern in gear. Avoid stimulation, including technology, caffeine and large meals before bed.
- Find out how you relax
Exercise. Read. Sing. Whatever it takes. Find out what works for you to help your body unwind.
Regular, moderate intensity exercise should invigorate you, not fatigue you. Recognise that your body is under stress and allow time for it to move with regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be gruelling gym sessions for health purposes.
- Enjoy life more
Modern day world can be busy. But busy doesn’t have to mean frantic and stressed. Acknowledging that you are busy even when you are sleeping (you don’t want to be disturbed do you?) and focusing on one task can help. Allocate time for fun and laughter. Watch a movie. Go for a walk in the sun. Meet a friend for lunch. Enjoy!
Rose is a Fit Busy Mum of 3 fit kids. She aims to empower mums who are time poor. She acknowledges that mums are ‘busy’ but tries to inspire them to regain their fitness through simple everyday habits that she promotes through her book ‘The Fit Busy Mum: Seven habits for success’.