What is the most common compliant spoken amongst parents? I would say it's probably "I'm tired." Kids are exhausting. I never knew how exhausting they were until I had one. Then two. Then three. (Those of you with more than three kids are deemed saints in my eyes.) My kids range from tween to toddler, so I have my fair share of energy depletion. I have two kids who are running from activity to activity and one who just likes to run! Some nights, once all my kids are in bed, I flop onto my bed and fall asleep within 5 minutes. How do I keep going throughout the day without attaching myself a coffee I.V.?
I bring it back to the basics.
1. Exercise: This recommendation is usually first to help fight fatigue. The paradox with this is that most people who don't exercise say they are too tired to do it. But exercise GIVES you energy.
In a study published in Psychological Bulletin, the researchers analyzed 70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people.
"More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise," says O'Connor. "It's a very consistent effect."
Our bodies were meant to move! You don't have to join a gym to reap the benefits. Any movement is good movement. Exercise when you feel best whether than is morning, noon, or night. Get an accountability partner. Schedule it into your day. Start small if you need to and then gradually build in more time. Just make sure it's fun to you so you stick with it!
2. Sleep: When you sleep, your body restores and rejuvenates. This is imperative to physical and mental health. Your whole glandular system goes haywire without sleep. Good sleep, which is 8 hours a night, also decreases stress levels which can deplete energy. Here are some quick tips for better sleep:
- Stop using technology 30 minutes before bed and turn your phone to "airplane" mode if its near you while you sleep.
- No caffeine after 3:00 p.m.
- No sugar after 4 p.m.
- Do not sleep in longer than an hour than you usual wake up time over the weekends.
- Look at your stress levels.
- Start meditation. This will help train your brain to relax and clear, which makes it easier to fall asleep.
- Are you drinking enough water?
- Are you eating enough nutritious foods?
- Is your diet low in calcium and magnesium?
- Do you get enough B vitamins?
What NOT to do for sleep:
- Depend on a Melatonin supplement. This disrupts the normal melatonin release in your brain. In order to reset your circadian rhthym, practice earthing. Watch the sunset barefoot in the grass. Breathe deeply. This'll take about a week to reset but it does work!
- Take a sleeping pill. The amount of side effects are staggering.
3. Hydration: Adequate water intake creates equilibrium in the body. It is utilized in every function and every cell of the body. Now, I'm not talking about any beverage that contains water, I'm talking pure spring water. Skip the enhanced versions of water. I do dare to say, also skip the alkaline water. It's inorganic and a waste of money.
Optimal consumption of water is half your body weight in ounces. If you drink a caffeinated drink, such as coffee, drink the same amount of water just to break even. An easy way to determine if you are properly hydrated is by your urine. It should be a pale straw color. It is possible to have too much water, especially if you are on a low sodium diet, so be sure to listen to your body cues.
4. Nutrition: Eating junk food decreases your oxygen ratio in the blood due to the amount of toxins. Your body will spend more energy eliminating toxins or responding to inflammation. If our body is busy doing that, then we don't have nutrients going where they should.
Sugar is the general fuel used for energy. Too much or too little can cause you to feel more tired and have low oxygen levels. The constant instability of blood sugar levels can cause energy highs and then crashes.
Stabilize your blood sugar by eating smaller meals more frequently. Make sure your diet has enough Essential Fatty Acids in it. EFAs are the building blocks of hormones. They support the nervous system and help you when handling stress. Eat whole, nutrient dense food and your body will be able to function how it should.
So what if you practice all of these foundations in good health but feel tired on occasion?
1. Inhaling essential oils: Pink Grapefruit makes me feel like I want to get up and dance! Peppermint wakes me right up. Lime is vitalizing and cheerful. Conifer oils, such as Cypress, can help with mental fatigue. Lemon or Eucalyptus can help with focus and alertness.
2. Deep Breathing: Most people are used to shallow breathing from their chest. Breathing deeply through the diaphrahm gives our bodies more oxygen, therefore more energy. Practice this by the "4 principle":
Breathe in the nose for a slow count of 4. Hold it for a count of 4. Then exhale through the mouth for a count of 4. Do this four times in a row, 4 times a day!
3. Flower Essences: If you are constantly stressed, your adrenals are working overtime and draining usable energy. Flower essences can help stabilize this emotional state amongst others. Stop sending all of your energy to your adrenals by stressing yourself out.
4. Nature: There is nothing more energizing and healing for the body, mind, and soul than being in nature. It causes us to reset. It makes us feel alive! It connects us to who we are supposed to be: active human beings!
I am not discounting that there are medical conditions that can cause sleepiness or lack of energy. You should always seek counsel from a medical professional to check for any possible diseases or conditions that may cause tiredness. But also remember, that if we provide the solid foundation of exercise, sleep, water, and nutrition, then our bodies are more likely to work on healing issues as they arise. The body has an innate sense of knowing what to do when given the proper fuel. Don't underestimate its ability to do amazing things when treated properly.