Relief for Tired Moms
By Kristyn Kusek
"No doubt about it, being a mom is exhausting," says Martha Davis, Ph.D., author of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (Harbinger). Feel like you can't squeeze a single drop of energy out of your sapped self? Try these "feel better fast" tips:
Energy Strategy: Diet
- Keep up the protein "Don't skimp on protein -- it's what
sustains energy," says Cynthia Sass, R.D., a spokesperson for the
American Dietetic Association in Tampa, Florida. Try
no-preparation-required protein snacks like cottage cheese, a golf
ball-sized serving of nuts like almonds or pecans, or string cheese for
an energy boost.
- Cut back on caffeine Your energy crashes once the caffeine high fades. Have no more than a cup of coffee or two sodas a day.
- Eat often If you go more than four hours without food,
you're not eating frequently enough to maintain energy. Pack portable
snacks and drinks in your diaper bag so you can snack every couple of
Energy Strategy: Sleep
- Grab sleep when you can "The average new mom gets four to
six hours of sleep a night," says Lauren Broch, Ph.D., director of
education at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center in White Plains, New York.
But the optimum snooze time for adults is seven to eight hours. Make up
for missed sleep by sharing an afternoon nap with your baby.
- Practice good sleep habits Anxiety-inducing activities
(like paying bills) right before you hit the sack can affect your
ability to fall asleep. Wind down a few minutes before bed by reading
something relaxing, meditating, or stretching.
Energy Strategy: Time For You
- Get moving Exercise may be the best energy booster around.
If a full workout seems too time-consuming, take a walk around the
block, turn on your stereo and dance while you do housework.
- Sneak in "adult stuff" When your days are filled with
kid-centered activities, rejuvenate your spirit with simple things you
love. Sing along (loudly!) to your favorite CD while you drive to the
bank, or do the crossword in the newspaper while your baby eats
- Relax! Okay, so you might not have time to join a yoga
class or learn the art of Zen meditation. But you can burn off stress
and get energized with simple relaxation techniques. Try deep breathing
when you're stuck at a red light. Or enjoy a great cat stretch while
you're on hold with the pediatrician's office.
- Take time to create time If you're constantly frazzled,
you're probably exhausted, too. Take five minutes and organize your
schedule each morning. Prioritize the day's activities and decide what
can be pushed until tomorrow. This simple exercise will help you move
through the day in a more relaxed, contended state.