Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin
Why does it matter that we talk about habits for tired moms? Who has time for that? Whether you are a mom with littles or a homeschool mom who spends all day with your kids, it’s important to take care of YOU.
Does your morning sound like mine used to:
Up since 4:30 after a sleepless night, it is now 9 am and I have a dull headache after drinking 4 cups of coffee to try and get motivated. The thought of another cup turns my stomach but all the kids are up and they won’t stop talking. I grab the remote and flip on the TV hoping it buys me some time to sit and not be talked to. A nap would be amazing but that is going to have to wait until later. For now, I’ll settle for a bowl of cereal eaten in quiet.
If any part of that sounds too familiar, I get it. The hamster wheel of fatigue …food…TV & overwhelm was my reality for too many years. At one point, we had 7 kids ages 8 and under…..EXHAUSTING!! At the time, I labeled myself as “unmotivated” but that was wrong. I had been tired for so long that I could no longer recognize it.
I thought it was normal, so I accepted it.
Friends, this is not normal, and if you are completely worn out…I encourage you not to accept it as normal.
There is a way out!!
If you know you need to make some changes, here are some easy ways to get started.
Table of Contents
Here are the 5 most important Habits for Tired Moms.
1. Prioritize sleep and not caffeine
It is tempting to grab cup after cup of coffee or soda to get that much-needed energy boost. But caffeine isn’t a substitute for sleep…at least not on a consistent basis. According to the Sleep Foundation, excessive caffeine consumption can lead to a whole host of extra problems including insomnia (vicious cycle here), anxiety (no thank you!), frequent waking at night and overall poor sleep as well as other problems.
If the goal is to get more sleep, we need to limit those factors that prevent us from getting enough sleep. There are some things we can’t avoid…like getting up in the middle of the night with babies…but there are things we can do to make the sleep we get better, deeper and more restful.
Over the years, I have given up caffeine entirely when it no longer helped me feel alert. I would drink a cup and immediately feel edgy and tired…literally after one cup. Then I would drink another and feel pretty terrible. Basically, when caffeine made me feel worse and not better, I knew it was time to take a break. Usually, there are a couple of days of crazy fatigue where I need to work in a nap or go to bed early. But then after a few days, I started to feel REALLY good.
There is something about the reset…I feel like my body is saying “Thank you!” I always miss the coffee but the break is so worth it.
Eventually, I always want to drink coffee again but I’ve realized that for me, a good-tasting organic decaf lets me enjoy the taste of coffee without all the caffeine.
But I digress…our first step is to prioritize sleep. That means put it first BEFORE all optional evening activities. Aim to get 7 or 8 hours especially if you are tired & burned out. It may not be possible every night but by removing other activities, it will happen more. Or…spread that sleep out during the day by adding a nap. If you have babies, you may need to shift your sleep patterns to mimic theirs. But again…prioritize sleep over other optional activities. Cleaning, laundry, and many errands can wait.
2. Get Dressed Every Morning in Clean Clothes
You may wonder what this has to do with tiredness but stick with me. If we start the day wearing the same yoga pants and a comfy T-shirt that we slept in, we haven’t really signaled our bodies that something has changed. It is time to get up and do things. After all, clothes like these can be pajamas or regular clothes…which is convenient. But if I’m in my jammies….it is much much easier to crawl back into bed or sit around.
I actually feel different if I get dressed and put shoes on.
So what should you wear? This is a matter of personal preference, but I like to wear something casual. If I have to run to the store, have an appointment, or have a friend drop in, I want to feel my clothes fit the situation.
If you want to take this step up just a bit, grab a hairbrush and makeup and take 3 minutes to brush your hair, add some undereye concealer and a bit of blush. I don’t need a reminder that I’m tired every time I look in the mirror!
Don’t skip this step. If you are homeschooling the kids, this can be an important step to model with school-aged children as well…especially if they are struggling to get motivated. Get dressed…get ready to conquer your day.
3. Make a Simple Routine or Schedule
Sometimes fatigue can be caused by having to make too many decisions. And if we start our day with no plan…no routine…we literally have to make every decision every day….over and over.
Include the things needed for survival–this is your default plan when overwhelm hits. For me, food & sleep were at the top of the list followed by clean clothes & baths as distance secondary essentials. My kids have been downright grubby at times because survival…food and sleep…were all I could do. If all you can do is food…and sleep…that is ok. After all, with kids, that is a lot. They eat multiple times a day which requires trips to the grocery, meal prep and feeding them. Just food is a really big deal. And sleep….getting them to sleep and you sleeping…also a big deal and a lot of work.
A routine puts decisions on autopilot…which means our brains get a rest.
This is why things like morning routines, meal plans & bedtime routines are so helpful. They help us rest.
It costs nothing to pencil out a routine. You don’t have to keep it perfect for it to be helpful. I have a 2 week dinner plan that I follow. Depending on how busy the day is, I often swap meals so I have less prep on busy days. But having the plan keeps the decision-making to minor edits instead of full panic mode when I look into the cupboard at dinnertime.
My Favorite Motivation and Productivity Books
4. Move More
When I was actively losing weight using Noom, one of the most freeing things I read was the benefit of simply moving more. Studies have found endless numbers of benefits to actual exercise but researchers now know that simply getting up and moving every 30 minutes has health benefits too. Get up and move for 10 minutes. Go for a walk outside, throw in a load of laundry, or push your toddler on the swing…10 minutes…you can do this.
Having this goal in my mind means that I can choose to do activities with my kids that keep them and me moving. Go for walks, meet friends to go swimming, or work in the garden. There are endless ways to add extra movement during the day. If you aren’t sure how much you move, or if you move enough, try wearing a step tracker. I often reference mine to see if I’m sitting too much during the day. Here is the inexpensive model I bought that has worked great and has a bunch of helpful features.
5. Let Go of Perfectionism
Perfectionism is a liar. It holds us to an impossible standard and keeps us working harder rather than celebrating our accomplishments & resting well.
When we step back and reassess what we need…..more sleep, routine, and more movement, we need to be kind to ourselves. Being a mom is HARD some days. We can have 1,000 interruptions in our day. Our children love us and want to be with us. That is a blessing we should celebrate.
As we try to carve out space for our needs, it is important to remember, our children are not the enemy…they are blessings. But perfectionism is an enemy.
As you take steps to take care of yourself, celebrate the effort. Celebrate the baby steps in the right direction. Celebrate the mindset changes and the things that “worked” even if other things didn’t work. Celebrate YOU because YOU ARE WORTH CELEBRATING.
Take a Step Toward Your Goal!
If you are exhausted and overwhelmed, I invite you to try some or all of the habits for tired moms above. We don’t accomplish our goals overnight. But 10 minutes at a time…baby step by baby step…more rest is possible along with the energy that comes with it! If you need a simple daily planner to use for your routines, check out our FREE Planner & Motivation Pack.
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