This has been a hard week for me. Not only has there been a lot of heart-wrenching news lately (which deserves more time and attention that I’m able to give here), but I’ve had several personal setbacks, as well. I’ve been feeling run down, tired, and just a bit like a useless lump. It feels – for me, at least – that sometimes as a mom you have to be “on” for your children all the time. Even my little one, who is only a year old and can’t really understand what I’m saying, still makes me want to be as bright and happy as possible. But it’s hard! Parenthood is so hard in general, and when you’re feeling tired it just makes it that much harder. It’s a tough cycle to get stuck in, and unfortunately that’s where I’ve been! I’m looking forward to a chance to recharge.
Here are a few tips that might help if you, like me, are stuck that same rut and want to climb out and start feeling like a person again.
1. Get Enough Sleep
I know, I can already hear you laughing at me. Lack of sleep is probably part of the problem! Stress makes sleeping well more difficult! Trust me, I know – I’m there, too. But taking care of yourself means getting enough sleep, even though often it’s one of the first things that many of us sacrifice to make room for everything else in our busy lives. (And sometimes, of course, that sacrifice isn’t voluntary!) However, being well-rested can make a huge difference in how you feel. If you can, go to bed a little earlier. Start a bedtime ritual. We do it for our fussy little babies, why not try it for ourselves? Make bedtime fun, if you can. Be very intentional about it. Wear your comfiest pajamas (or whatever you like to sleep in), give your pillows an extra fluff, get cozy blankets, play relaxing music – pamper yourself a little! If your sleep is very disordered, of course, you may need to see your doctor, but here are a few tips that might help you sleep.
2. Take Time to Really Enjoy Something
Have a book you haven’t gotten to read yet? What about a new artist that you’ve really wanted to listen to? Maybe there’s a favorite movie that always makes you feel better when you watch it. Take some time to engage with something that you really, truly enjoy. This can be something as simple as calling a friend, going shopping, reading a book, or going for a walk. Anything that you enjoy, as long as you do it with the intention of really letting yourself lean into that enjoyment. Luxuriate in that little moment of pleasure. The best part is you don’t need a large chunk of time to do this. Give yourself the length of a song if that’s all the time you have. If you’re a working parent with a commute like me (or anyone who spends time in a car), download an exciting new podcast to listen to! I really like The Slowdown, which is always only five minutes long. Sometimes those stolen moments of pleasure, even if only a few moments, can really rejuvenate you.
3. Treat Yourself
Everyone likes a little present now and again. If you have the time and budget, maybe splurge on a night out with friends or your significant other (maybe kid free, if you’re a parent). Get yourself a new outfit, or something you’ve wanted for awhile. If money is an issue, this can be something as simple as a candy bar. Maybe just a food or drink you like that you haven’t had in awhile. The point is to be generous to yourself, and give yourself something out of the ordinary. If you’re like me and in a place where the thought of spending money on anything other than necessities makes you itch, you can still treat yourself! I have “special” shirts that I don’t wear everyday. I have a really nice make-up palette that I rarely use. It’s time to break out those for-a-rainy-day things you’ve got tucked away! Break out a bottle of wine you’ve been saving. Watch a show that you want instead of giving in to your spouse (maybe speaking from personal experience there…). The point is to tell yourself that you’re worth it, that you deserve something special.
4. Get a Little Exercise
I’ll bet after the sleep tip, you all saw this one coming! It’s true, though, that exercise has some amazing benefits. Everyone has different preferences and capabilities so I won’t suggest how you get your exercise, but it really can be a big mood booster. If you’re able, maybe go to a gym. Sometimes getting out and going somewhere different can be a refreshing change of pace, and it might help motivate you. If you have to – or honestly just prefer to – stay at home, try looking up a fun exercise routine on YouTube. There are tons and tons of different options, and many of them are only a few minutes long, so you can adjust your work-out to the amount of time you have. There are a lot of exercises you can do seated, as well, or while at work. Even if you don’t have a lot of time or space, there are options out there for everyone! If you have any trouble finding something, drop me a comment and I’ll try to help you find what you’re looking for.
5. Write or Journal
This might seem like something only relevant to someone (like me, for instance) who already really enjoys writing, but that’s not the case at all! Writing can be very therapeutic. Don’t think about this as having to create something like a poem or a story. While that is a good de-stress tool for some people (like me! I love creating), it’s by no means the only way you can use writing. Sometimes getting your thoughts out on paper can help clarify your mind and get you re-focused. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Make a list of things bothering you, give yourself permission to think about it and worry as much as you need while writing the list, and then throw the list away! Maybe you’re the planning type, and you want to make a plan of attack to conquer all those things stressing you out. Do it! Even just taking some time – judgement free time – to do a little journalling can help unburden you. Talk about your feelings, or write a letter to an old friend, or plan out what you might say if you ever met your favorite celebrity! I blog, and write fiction, but I also keep a personal journal that’s just for me that I don’t show to anyone else, and writing always helps me keep things in perspective and clear my head.
If you take a relaxing weekend (or afternoon or even just a few minutes) to try any of these tips let me know! Do you have any other tips to share? Let’s help each other try to relax – I know that I, for one, really need it!