Guest post by MaryEllen of Imperfect Homemaker
As a homemaker and mommy to three little ones, I know what it’s like to run, run, run from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until I can finally crash into bed at night. (And those responsibilities might continue throughout the night!)
Fatigue becomes the order of the day for many women.
Most women just accept it as a normal part of life, and press on (perhaps using caffeine to help keep them going).
I was in the same boat. After my third child was born, I began to feel more fatigue than what I felt was “normal.” Eventually I got to the point where all I could do some days was lie in bed.
My husband would come home to find me frustrated and crying because I hadn’t had the energy to make dinner or clean up after the kids. Sometimes I tried to tell myself I was being lazy and just needed to deal with it, so I would force myself out of bed and try to work. But I would end up with a racing heart and feeling so dizzy and faint that I thought I would black out.
Although we already ate fairly healthy, I stepped up my efforts and began a journey to an even higher standard of healthy living. Although I started this journey on my own, I eventually ended up placing myself under the care of a doctor of functional medicine. What I have learned both from her and from my own research has been invaluable.
Although I had some serious health issues that needed to be overcome, I have discovered some of the basics that all women need to prioritize in their lives in order to achieve a greater energy level.
Did you notice that I said “basics”?
Some of the things I could have done to combat the fatigue were so simple that I looked right past them.
Perhaps you are neglecting them, too.
If you’re fighting fatigue day after day, consider whether or not these 5 contributors to fatigue are present in your life. When you eliminate them, you will most likely feel an incredible boost in your energy level.
1. Not eating enough or often enough
The concept is simple: we eat food, and our body absorbs the nutrients and converts them to energy. No food = no energy. Little food = little energy. More food = more energy. When you’re busy, you don’t realize sometimes how little food you are eating. Mealtimes often become “picking sessions.” You pick at this and pick at that and think you have eaten enough.
I would encourage you to keep a diary of everything that you eat in a day. You need a good variety of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and you may be surprised to see how little you truly are eating. Besides the amounts that you eat, you should also be aware of the times that you eat. In order to keep a sustained level of energy, you need to keep your blood sugar regulated. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and don’t go more than four hours between meals.
2. Not drinking enough water
Dehydration is another common contributor to fatigue. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in water each day. If you are not consuming this amount, the chances that you are dehydrated are very high. Not only will your energy levels drop, but constant dehydration leads to a host of other health issues as well.
Image by rockindave1
3. Eating too much sugar
You may feel like you need a sugar-laden snack to keep you going during the day, but in actuality you are setting yourself up to become even more tired. Eating sugar in between meals will cause your blood sugar to spike, giving you a temporary sense of energy. But what goes up must come down, and when it does you will feel exhausted and groggy.
If you feel you must have something sweet, eat it along with your meal. Be sure to use an unrefined sweetener like molasses, honey, or pure cane sugar. Along with avoiding sugar, be sure to stay away from other refined carbohydrates which quickly turn to sugar in the body.
4. Not exercising
Exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired, but it is one of the most important things you can do to increase your energy. Exercising will strengthen your heart and lungs, optimize your circulation, and help your body carry oxygen and nutrients to your muscle tissues, which in turn will help your body produce energy.
Aim for thirty minutes of exercise five times a week and see how much better you feel. You don’t have to do anything complicated; walking is just as good an exercise as anything. You can also try my super-wimpy workout routine. It’s quick and easy, yet effective!
5. Not sleeping enough
I know this is a tough hurdle to overcome for many moms with children waking in the night, but it is imperative that you get as much sleep as you can. Aim for eight hours every night. You will find that you rest better if you keep your sleep schedule consistent. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning.
Create an atmosphere for sleep. Darken the room and make sure the temperature is comfortable. Turn off electronic devices well before bedtime since the backlight inhibits the production of melatonin, which helps tell your body that it’s time to sleep. Avoid caffeine (preferably all the time, but especially by lunchtime and after). If you do have a hard time getting enough sleep at night, take a fifteen minute nap in the afternoon. Fifteen minutes is enough to give you a little boost while not inhibiting your ability to go back to sleep at night.
You can see that all five of these contributors to fatigue are quite basic, yet with all our responsibilities as busy homemakers we still tend to place the care of ourselves low on our priorities list. If you will focus on giving your body the attention it needs in these areas, you will find yourself even more energized, and consequently more efficient as a homemaker and caretaker for your family!
How often does fatigue hinder your productivity? What do you do to take care of yourself?
MaryEllen Bream is a stay-at-home wife and homeschooling mommy to 3 littles. She is passionate about helping homemakers become all that God wants them to be. You can find posts on homemaking, homeschooling, and natural living on her blog, Imperfect Homemaker.