Picture this: you come home from work at the end of the day feeling completely exhausted, drained of every last ounce of energy and with no love to give – not to your kids, to your spouse or - least of all – to yourself. That makes you feel guilty and you wind up feeling depressed on top of it.
Or try this one: you’ve been with the kids all day, nursing them through a nasty stomach virus that hit the whole family at the same time, and at the end of the day you feel completely exhausted, drained of every last ounce of energy and with no love to give – not to your kids, to your spouse or - least of all – to yourself. You also feel guilty and wind up feeling depressed on top of it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a working mother or stay-at-home dad, at some point this will probably be you. It’s only a problem when this scenario becomes the norm and not the exception!
Try these 5 ways to put more zest in your life so that you can tap into the deep well of love that lies within you!
How’s your sleep? Or lack of it? If you wake up as tired as you did when you went to bed, this might be a good starting point. It’s not only you, but the kids, too. A new study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine came out with recommended sleep times for kids of all ages, including naps: 4-12 months = 12-16 hours, 1-2 years = 11-14 hours, 3-5 years = 10-13 hours, 6-12 years = 9-12 hours and 13-18 years = 8-10 hours.
The American Academy of Pediatrics fully endorses the guidelines and states, “For infants and young children, establishing a bedtime routine is important to ensuring children get adequate sleep each night. The AAP program, "Brush, Book, Bed," is available here: http://bit.ly/bedroutine.”
Bath time can be an especially great way to get your kids ready for bed. Baja Baby shampoos, lotions and bath products with the lavender, creamsicle and citrus fragrances soothe even the most active kids of all ages.
As for you, once you have the kids down, take a deep breath and allow yourself 10-15 minutes of quiet time. You don’t have to meditate…and instead of reaching for your phone, just unplug, continue to breathe and quiet your mind.
This little exercise can make all the difference in how you spend the rest of the evening.
As for your pre-bedtime routine (and the keyword here is routine) the last time you look at any electronics should be half an hour before you hit the sack. That goes for TV, computer, phone and eBook – especially eBooks! A 2014 Harvard Study reported that:
"Overall, we found that the use of portable light-emitting devices immediately before bedtime has biological effects that may perpetuate sleep deficiency and disrupt circadian rhythms, both of which can have adverse impacts on performance, health, and safety."
Check here for a short, but sweet guide to healthy sleep habits from the National Sleep Foundation.
Making time for exercise is one of the biggest challenges a mother can face. Here are a few easy ones to make a part of your day:
You are NOT superwoman! And dad…you’re not superman. You’ve been on the go all day meeting the demands of those around you – at work or at home. It’s now near dinnertime and the family has to eat. Then bed time. Then clean up. Then…time for the two of you?
By now you’re at that point again – no love to give because you’re feeling tired and grumpy! You’ve given all your time to everyone else and there’s no time left for you. And you really need it...
Let’s try something different. It’s the end of the day, and you’re tired and grumpy, but you have scheduled time for yourself. Your husband or your neighbor watches the kids while you head off to exercise, change into something more comfortable or even lock yourself into the bathroom for a relaxing bath.
Half an hour for you and you alone before you start dinner and the evening routine. It’s about acknowledging that you are not the only one who can multi-task and do it all.
It’s about asking for help when you need it. How and when you ask is up to you – it could even be as easy as having an older sibling color or play with a younger one. You need to recharge your batteries, too!
Ever notice how everyone on your social media – FB, Instagram, Pintrest, Google, Reddit, etc. – seems to be in perfect control of their lives? Somehow, this perfect world that everyone else lives in hasn’t found its way into your life. You have a bad hair day, the kids are sick and whine-y, you had a fight with your not-so-better-half, those pants make you look fat – you name it.
This has been going on for centuries – people looking at other people and wishing they could have it – whatever “it” is – too. It’s the old “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” syndrome, but now it’s magnified by the number of “friends” you have.
Give yourself a reality check. They have as many ups and downs as you do. Everyone has a bad hair day from time to time and when you start counting all the blessings of what you DO have, get ready to be amazed! Stop and watch this beautiful 6 minute video and see what we mean.
This might sound terribly obvious, but making lists and prioritizing your day can add up to time for you! It is so easy to get distracted and wind up losing precious minutes that could be spent doing something you really WANT to do.
The list should also include taking time to daydream or dance or have an ice cream cone or play time with the kids – not just daily tasks and chores.
The list serves as a reminder of your intentions. When you do what you intend to do, the feeling of having done something worthwhile is terrific.
These are not guaranteed to make your life a garden of bliss, but they sure can help. You DO have plenty of love to give at the end of the day...it's there waiting for you.
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