Have you ever left the house with your phone not fully charged? I have, more than once. Sometimes, it’s not that big of a deal. Other times, I really need it to stay in touch with my kids or for navigation and I don’t have the opportunity to charge it enough in the car so I have to be very judicious about what I use it for while I’m out and about.
Moms, our bodies are like our cell phones.
If we are don’t have enough energy to make it through the day, we will have to make choices about how we use our limited energy. And do you know who’s always going to lose in that scenario?
You. You are going to lose.
Because you are a mom and woman, you will give all your available energy to your family and your work and there will be nothing leftover to do things for you. You might not think that’s a big deal, but eventually, it will become a big deal. Because, eventually you might want more out of life and you won’t have the energy to make it happen.
You might want to take a girls’ trip, or start a business, or volunteer at an organization you’re passionate about. But you can’t do these things if you don’t have any energy.
I first read about energy management in Brendon Burchard’s book High Performance Habits and I was thrilled to have words for an issue I’ve coached clients around for years: You can’t do purposeful things with your life if you don’t have the capacity for change.
Doing new things takes mental and physical energy. Mothering takes mental and physical energy. Meeting the demands of day-to-day life takes mental and physical energy.
So, here’s the good news: You can create more energy for yourself.
Unlike a cell phone battery, which can only be charged to a certain degree, the human body has the capacity to make more energy for itself.
Energy management has two parts: creating energy and choosing how you expend it. You may need to assess your current life and figure out where to start in this process. Please don’t read the list below and try to implement everything at once. Evaluate the areas of your greatest need and make a few small changes in those areas to get you going.
Sleep: I don’t know a parent who doesn’t need more sleep. Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving. It can contribute to depression and poor health. Yet we can only control so much in this area because, kids.
Therefore, focus on the things you can control. Put your kids to bed at the same time every night,Make your room as dark and quiet as possible, and Resist the urge to stay up too late watching Netflix or reading just because the house is finally quiet. And, if need be, seriously think about hiring a sleep coach for your little one.
Be Active: Moving your body feels counterintuitive when your energy is low. However, if you can get moving, the increase in blood flow will eventually deliver more oxygen to your brain and organs, giving you more energy to go about your day. Any kind of movement is effective – walking, yoga, dancing, or a cross fit workout – just do something you enjoy for however long you can fit it in.
Be Mindful: Mindfulness is the awareness of our thoughts and environment. When we focus our scattered brains into intentional thought, mediation or prayer, we conserve energy. It’s like shutting down all the apps on your phone to save the battery life. There’s a lot of brain science behind why mindfulness is effective and some debate over the ideal amount of time to spend on this, but the bottom line is that even a small amount of intentional thought can be beneficial.
Fuel: It’s important to be aware of what you are putting into your body. I’m not advocating any sort of diet, but I want to call out the mom tendency to survive on caffeine and leftovers from our toddler’s lunch. You are worth more than that. Pay attention to what you are eating and drinking and how it makes you feel. Make sure you are eating enough quality calories to fuel your body and restore its energy supply.
You can deplete even the most abundant energy supply if you are overwhelmed and stressed out. Following are some things to keep in mind when it comes to using your energy.
Outsource: Can you take a break from an energy-draining activity? Even just once can be beneficial. Enlist help for carpooling, swap childcare, cook in bulk – whatever you can do to maximize your time. And don’t feel guilty paying for services. Your sanity shouldn’t have a price tag.
Keep Good Company: We were made to exist in community. Make sure you have a support system that builds you up. Smiling and laughing are energy builders and, if you are an extrovert, being social gives you energy. Side note: if you are an introvert, make sure that you have some time alone to recharge.
Know Your Purpose: When you know what your purpose is in this season of life, it’s so much easier to say no to the things that will get you off track. Ask yourself if all you are doing is in line with your priorities for your life and prune your calendar accordingly.
Mom, you are no superhuman. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your family and managing your energy is an important part of that equation. It is not selfish, it is not optional. It is crucial for your wellbeing.