Your Energy Matters(most), Mama!
Motherhood is a BIG ASK.
Physically, emotionally, socially, financially, occupationally, intellectually— “mom-ing” impacts every facet of our well-being.
Motherhood rewires the nervous system and wreaks havoc on our hormones— which means mood swings and new health challenges can and most likely will occur.
The energy costs of modern-day Motherhood are enormously high and many women are attempting to tackle the litany of demands placed on them with a battery that needs serious recharging. This is overwhelmingly apparent living through the "everything-under-one-roof" nature of this #pandemic,
Mothers are more exhausted and exasperated than ever!
Stress management and self-care practices are imperative. Bottomline- You must serve and protect your energy, Mama.
Here are a few simple and effective energizing strategies:
Take an inventory of your energy
Make time to check in with yourself and assess your energy level. Take note of your energy output versus input. If you find that you are giving more energy than you are receiving and this translates to feeling utterly exhausted, identify ways you can create more space for your needs to be met. You may need to set limits on your time and firm boundaries with others. Consider taking items off your “to-do” list or delegating tasks within your family. You may need to give yourself permission to stop doing #allthethings, allowing yourself the grace to just be.
Tend to your emotional state
The emotional load of being a Mama is heavy; having an awareness of your emotional state is of great value, as unprocessed emotions can fester and make you more susceptible to illness. Try starting the day with an emotional check-in, or stop and assess how you feel throughout the day. Morning, mid-day and afternoon, ask "How am I in this moment?" Staying mindfully attuned to your feelings can help keep your stress level down. Practicing self acceptance and self compassion in the face of big feelings is key!
Watch how you talk to yourself- Be Impeccable with Your Word
Your thoughts produce an emotional response which result in a biochemical responses in the body. In other words, your thoughts are the food for your mood, so be mindful of the messages your feeding yourself. If you focus on feeling tired and spend your days telling yourself as such it is very hard for your body to respond in any other way. Try changing your tune, try seeing what happens when you tell yourself "I am energy" because Mama you really are (stay tuned for more on this soon). The other thing to consider when listening to our inner voice is noticing if the words we are saying to ourselves are kind, there is nothing more draining to your energy than harmful self-talk and the results of internally beating yourself up shows up in the body in one way or another.
Go the F*ck to Sleep!
You might have received this classic title as a baby shower gift or mutter this to your sleep resistant babe under your breath (or in your mind), but you might also consider (in a kinder manner, watch that self-talk!) that REST is BEST. The temptation to spend all your time doing will always be there, especially when you finally get your kids to sleep and you have actual time to yourself and/or with your partner. However, we NEED sleep, plain and simple, and many of us aren't getting enough. Our children may play a role in keeping us up at night, however, we may also play a role in staying up way past a reasonable bedtime. Our bodies preform very important biological functions to restore our energy at night, and they need our cooperation with shutting down for the overnight system upgrades. So while staying up watching your favorite shows or catching up on the to-do's might be tempting, try to get to bed no later than 10 pm. The hours of 10-2am is the time when our body digests and assimilates the foods we eat and the most optimal state for the body to be in during this important window is at REST!
Unplug before Bed
In the spirit of the gentle reminder just given around sleep hygiene— did you know that some where around 80% of the stress that we perceive is taken in through the eyes? Blue lights admitted by electronics put excessive stress on the eyes. So while you might enjoy an intense show or a scroll-session of your news feed during the hours before bed, you are sending a stressful signal to your nervous system and over-stimulating the eyes with blue light right before shuteye. Blue light effects our circadian rhythm and increases cortisol production (a main stress hormone) and has also been shown to effect our bodies serotonin and melatonin production, making for more mood fluctuations and difficulty falling or staying asleep (and we just talk about both of those.) Lastly and little known, blue light has been shown to impact fertility and even effect milk supply in breastfeeding mothers. So, power down at a reasonable hour and make sure to get enough natural light during the day to enhance your circadian rhythm, and while your at it take a few breaths of fresh air too.
Make space for mindful movement
Boost your energy naturally with exercise, but if you are feeling exhausted go easy (no need to further deplete yourself) keep it simple and joyful, a little bit truly goes a long way. Maybe your movement consists of your favorite yoga class or a walk in nature. Whatever it may be, moving with the intention of increasing JOY is a mega mood booster. Dance around your kitchen singing at the top of your lungs, be playful with yourself, and see how good you feel afterwards. Any exercise that feels like punishment or self inflicted torture will only serve to further exhaust you, so be honest with yourself whether that bootcamp your putting yourself through is really helpful or hurtful. A depleted body doesn't reap any reward from high intensity anything!
Adapt-o-what's? Put simply, Adaptogens help support your body in adapting to external and internal stressors. These superfoods help bring the body back into balance and enable the body’s cells to access more energy! We know that chronic stress results in low energy and is associated with many illnesses, regular use of Adaptogens can improve your body's response to stress over time, improving your overall health and replenishing your N-R-G.
This one might sound redundant but drink more water! With coffee and wine (both of which dehydrate you) renowned as the elixirs of motherhood it is helpful to remember the simple tip—drink yo' H2O! Brain fog or "Mom Brain" and overall lethargy could very well be a sign of dehydration. Every cell in your body requires water, in fact your brain is roughly 70% water, so sip up sister and feel the fog lift.
It's time to stop serving yourself last and honestly your kids scraps and snacks aren't enough to keep you going. Foods that are deeply nourishing, especially in early postpartum, give your body the nutrients needed not just to survive but to thrive. Your feasts don't have to be fancy, again keep things simple, focus on real whole foods that are in season and NO skipping meals!
Develop a Meditation practice and explore Energy Work
The benefits of meditation are vast. Even one minute a day sitting and consciously breathing can improve your whole day. Develop a practice that works for you, one that you can incorporate into your day with ease. There are many meditation apps out there so really bliss and relaxation are right at your finger tips, you just have to make the time and space for YOU. Restorative, Yin and Yoga Nidra are other options for winding down your busy mind. To dive deeper, you might explore the benefits of energy work such as- Reiki, sound healing, acupuncture, chiropractic care, or craniosacral therapy-- we are lucky to have an abundance of energy workers at our disposal on the Seacoast of NH.
Work with a provider to test for and support hormonal imbalances
Motherhood is a heavy hitter in the hormone department. If you are diligent with your self-care practice and are sleeping well but are feeling unbelievably fatigued, your hormones may very well be wiggity-wack. Consider working with your provider or a functional medicine doctor to examine the state of your hormones. The good news is there are a lot of natural ways to support rebalancing your hormones.
Make space for your SOULs needs
What really lights you up? What are your passion projects or creative interests? Maybe you once painted or your secretly a talented photographer, whatever your interests/talents are, you need to make the time to express yourself and in doing so feel your soul shine! Creativity has a very unique energy frequency, it will surely elevate your vibe, and make sure you are connected with a soul tribe of other mamas too, we all rise together and our souls crave connection.
So there you have it, my top recommendations in no particular order for supporting your energy in every sense of the word. Perhaps you are already doing all or some of these things, or maybe there are a few you could give a try. Maybe it is more a matter of doing less to have more energy. Whatever the case YOUR ENERGY MATTERS MOST, MAMA. If ever there was a time that this couldn't be more true it is NOW. If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that we must consider what is truly essential, and I know without a doubt our HEALTH is absolutely 100% essential and we control our health destiny!