Feeling tired and grumpy? Join the club! Sometimes it feels like parenting is the most tiring and thankless job in the world – and the pay is terrible! (Good thing they’re cute, right?) But if you’re suffering from fatigue and irritability more than usual lately, there could be something more behind it.
Here are 6 reasons you might be feeling less than your best:
You’re not getting enough sleep
How much quality sleep are you getting each night? Any less than seven hours and this could explain why you’re struggling. It’s normal to lose sleep while you have a small baby, but once your kids are bigger, prioritising sleep is important to your overall wellbeing. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can affect the choices you make around food and exercise as well – meaning your health can deteriorate rapidly. Although it’s tempting to stay up late and enjoy those child-free hours, you’ll feel much better the next day if you ensure you’re tucked up and snoozing early enough to ensure those seven hours (more if you can manage it!).
Work or mum stress can take its toll if you’re busy all the time and not looking after yourself. Take a few hours out every now and again just for yourself. Have a bath or take yourself out for a coffee – or you can even take time for yourself at home by running a bath or watching a movie. Just make sure everyone knows you’re not to be interrupted!
You’re not taking care of your health
Running around after kids and husbands and bosses can run you down if you’re not careful, and us mums often take care of ourselves last. Remember the oxygen mask demonstration you see on planes? You’re supposed to take care of yourself first, so you can then care for others. That means eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and cutting down on junk food and alcohol, and exercising five times a week. It’s great to carry those health changes across to your whole family so you can all feel the benefits (and you’re not making extra work for yourself).
You’re being superwoman…or a martyr
If you feel like you’re doing everything around your home, maybe it’s time to stop and assess. Are the kids big enough now to do more chores? Does your partner (if you have one) do enough to help around the house? Is there anything you could outsource? Running a household takes a team, and if you’re taking one for the team whenever there is a basket of laundry to fold, you could be exhausting yourself.
When you spend time with your kids, are you constantly on your phone checking your emails? When you’re cooking dinner are you taking a work call? When you’re watching TV, are you scrolling through Facebook? Multitasking can seem like efficiency, but it’s a sure way to overload your brain, leading to you feeling overwhelmed. Try being fully present in each activity you do, and finding something to love in it – especially the more mundane stuff. Practice this mindfulness regularly and you’ll find your brain will slow down and you’ll feel calmer.
A medical condition
If you’re feeling awful all the time with no clear explanation, get yourself to a doctor. There may be a medical reason you’re feeling like this, and ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. It’s always best to get fully checked and know what you’re dealing with than to bury your head in the sand. Some conditions that can affect mums’ energy levels include low iron and thyroid issues.