Beyond Caffeine: More Energy for the Sleep Deprived Mama

*The tips in this blog tend to focus more on helping mothers feel more energized through a holistic approach — just a heads up!

Sleep. I could write an Ode to Sleep and if you are a parent, you may feel similarly. Coffee, or a Five Hour Energy, are both ways to give you a boost, but I have also found other methods to combat the lack of energy throughout the day.

My son is four months and typically sleeps in increments of three to four hours (we hit the five hour mark once and it was glorious!), so I usually sleep in spurts of two to three hours, averaging about four to six hours of broken sleep a night. (My previous neighbor had FOUR children, all within six years, and I can only imagine how tired she must have felt.)

Some of you may be receiving less than that (I can hear you taking out your world’s-smallest-violin to play for me), and I send you nothing but good vibes and support!

If you are like me, you may have scoured the web for not only ways to get your child to sleep longer, but to raise your own energy throughout the day. I cannot say that these tips will work for you, because, as you know, all humans are different. But, there are a few things I have done that I feel have been able to increase my energy without actually getting more sleep (paradoxical, right?).

So, here it goes:

Five Ways I Helped to Increase My Energy

Join Online Support Groups for Moms. When I sometimes stop to think about why I feel so spent, beyond the obvious lack of sleep, I realize that some of it is in part due to feeling like an inadequate mother; meaning, I believe that I am having problems that are singular to my situation. This, logically, is not true. Still, being a mother can feel very, very lonely at times because you are (for some) isolated from other people for long periods of time (if you have support groups that you can join in person — even better!). Sometimes pride, embarrassment, or fear of judgement can prevent you from seeking help or advice, which is why online support groups are GREAT. You can choose to be anonymous, which eliminates the feelings of judgement.

My personal favorite is ChannelMum.com. There have been times at three or four in the morning when I have typed my heart out about my feelings (many times when I had the baby blues) and each time I received a thoughtful (paragraphed, even) response from either another mother or a volunteer responder. Just feeling that support helped to alleviate some of my stress which, in turn, gave me slightly better sleep during my fragmented nights and a bit more energy during my sleep deprived days.

Start a Blog or Journal. Similar to my previous tip, if you do not have someone to share with — or vent to — your woes can drain you. Getting your thoughts out is a great way to help alleviate that drain. If you do not feel comfortable writing your thoughts on a public blog (I get that — this is only my second blog and I still feel a bit anxious about it), then journaling is a great alternative.

Read Self-Help Books. Ok, you may think that this tip and the previous ones are not for you (who has time to read/write?!), but I have found that if I take five minutes to read a page or two out of books written to help support moms, I tend to feel a bit re-energized. I am not suggesting reading mom manuals (you have probably read a couple already about how to change a diaper or bathe an infant). I am suggesting reading books that are tailored to helping support you during trials of motherhood. There are a TON out there (just search Amazon — the following are already linked if you would like to further review or purchase them), but I will list a few of my favorites:

Go Outside and Meditate. Yes, mediation can occur anywhere (even your bathroom), but I have found outside to be even more effective. If you have never mediated before, there are several apps (you can even YouTube it) that can help you through a guided meditation, although I caution using electronic devices because you can quickly become distracted on it for other purposes (emails, games, et cetera).

Yoga or Exercise. Even if it is just for 10 minutes a day, do something that gets your body moving (although I would NOT suggest this if you are still healing; after my c-section I stayed put for about 8 weeks). I particularly like yoga because it is low impact and I don’t need any materials to do it (although a mat does help). There are suggested positions to do that can help boost your energy. To see these specifics, I have included a link to Yoga Journal: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/yoga-by-benefit/energy

It is very difficult to try to function when you are very sleep deprived. But, like many mamas on the web have stated before me “this to shall pass.” Stay positive!