Recognizing My Energy Patterns In Motherhood

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energy
©Susannah Townsend from baseimage via Canva.com

It is difficult to think of a subject more prevalent in a mother’s life than sleep or lack thereof. Today, there are hundreds of sleep experts online, and there are thousands of Amazon products that help your children fall asleep and stay asleep.

My husband and I were quick to figure out (to the best of our ability) what structure and routine worked to help our twins get the proper rest that they needed. This motivation came purely from a place of survival for the two of us – the sooner we could figure it out for them, the more sleep we were able to get. This included us attempting to give them fun activities and stimulation throughout the day, a nap, sunlight if possible, figuring out their sleepy cues, when the last feeding or meal would take place, darkening the windows, getting their bedroom to an ideal temperature, and having soft blankets or favorite stuffed animals in place. These are all wonderful and doable actions that can hopefully help our kids wind down at the right time and get a good night’s rest. But shouldn’t we develop the same types of routines for ourselves?

Over the past three years, I have started to really pay attention to my energy patterns – I always had vague senses of my energy (I have never been a total night owl, but also did not give it much thought beyond that). Understanding when I have my best boosts of energy and knowing when (and how!) to power down has completely changed my day-to-day life. Not only does this knowledge and implementing these rhythms help me feel my best and more productive, but it 100% makes me a better mom and partner when I am properly rested and leaning into what feels right for me. 

My Ten Tips for Better Sleep

Hydrate & Protein Early

A big glass of water and a protein-heavy breakfast are definite boosts for me in the morning. I am at my sharpest and highest motivation after breakfast, so I tailor specific tasks to this time of day. 

Limit caffeine after 12 pm

Not everyone is sensitive to caffeine in this way, but I find it helps me get tired naturally around the same time each evening and not feel wired later in the day. 

Acknowledge the Dip in Energy

I start to feel a crash around 2 pm, usually a little after lunch. I do not do much for this crash beyond acknowledging that this is how I feel at this time of day and cutting myself some slack. This is where getting most of my important tasks done earlier comes in handy!

Take a break when you can

I typically take a break to myself when my partner gets home. Sometimes, I physically leave the house and go for a walk or a drive, or I go upstairs and hang in our bedroom. Not everyone may have a co-parent or a partner who is able to relieve them at a certain point of the day, so I would encourage someone in this position to take a look at their day and find when they can take a short break to themselves and take it every day. We all need a moment to ourselves to breathe and relax, even if just for fifteen minutes. 

Shower in the PM

I love to shower at night. The warm water helps my body calm down and signals my brain to know it is time to power down. My other secret is to lower the lights and turn on calming music or a favorite podcast. It makes the whole experience that much more relaxing! 

Prep Your Bedroom

As I go to both of my kids’ rooms and pull their curtains, and turn on their sound machines, I do the same for myself. I pull the shades in our room and turn on OUR sound machine (it’s not just for our babies and toddlers!) Sometimes, I’ll even take it a step further and turn on a calming scene on our television (YouTube calming scenes or The Fireplace on Netflix works great!) This always feels like a soft landing when it is time to get into bed. 

Try Magnesium

I have really enjoyed drinking this magnesium tea. It tastes great, and I really like the ritual of a warm beverage at night. 

Stash the Phone Away

I put my iPhone in my bathroom or closet each night. If I start scrolling while laying in bed, it is almost a guarantee that I will stay up later. It is distracting, and I find reading a book on my Kindle feels more restful. I have an old cell phone that I keep in my nightstand. It has no texting capabilities, and all apps are wiped off of it besides our Nest app (to control the temperature upstairs) and my kids’ baby monitor. 

Limit the Alcohol

I began to adopt a dry lifestyle around the holidays and enjoyed the benefits so much I have kept it going. Decreasing alcohol has played a huge role in bettering my sleep.

Get in Bed Early When Possible

After several years of thinking I have become a ninety-year-old woman, I unapologetically get in bed early even if I am not ready for sleep yet. How early? I’m talking as early as 7:30 – 8:00 pm if possible. This does NOT happen every night, there are just days where it feels really good to “call it” as Meagan Francis says, set the tasks down, and get in bed with a good book or television show, and relax. 

In a world where self-care is being shoved down our throats, it is important to take bits and pieces of information and apply what makes sense for you! All families look different, and everyone’s schedules are varied. Families with neurodiverse members or medically fragile children will have different needs and routines. The beauty of those differences is that we all have the agency to evaluate our own energy patterns and apply them accordingly to our lives. The ultimate goal in this process is to gain a better knowledge of our own bodies and get the best rest possible for a happier and healthier mom.

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