Overtiredness. It sucks the life out of every mother, every so often. The busy-ness all adds up, and one day you wake up thinking you can’t move a muscle.
The constant day-after-day grind of chucking food together, demanding children, work commitments, disturbed sleep, housework, care of family, and more. These are the normal myriad of things you do. Part of everyday life. But put them all together, and you can end up with mind-numbing, sleep-depriving, all-encompassing, bone-tired weariness. Somehow you have lost your verve; your get-up-and-go. The good news is, there are many steps you can take to get your mojo back.
It Can Happen to Any Overtired Mother
I’ve come across these funny quotes from mothers who realised, too late, they’d lost their mojo because they were overtired:
“After feeding my newborn baby I folded the laundry, but fell asleep in the pile of clothes. I leaked milk all over the clothes, and woke up drenched.”
“I was attempting to do a load of laundry when I accidentally loaded the clothes into the dishwasher.”
“One night I was co-sleeping with my baby when I thought she was waking for a feed. I woke to discover I was pushing my nipple into her ear.”
“I spent an hour shopping, then couldn’t find my car keys. So I looked for them near my car, only to find it was still running.”
“I walked to the mall without my purse. When I realised, I went home to get it, and left again without it.”
“I kissed a pile of clean laundry on the ‘head’ while carrying it up to the bedroom.”
“I put my new phone in the washing machine with the dirty clothing.”
You get the picture! We all have those crazy moments, when we wonder what on earth we were thinking for that to happen.
“Motherhood is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. You need to pace yourself today, so you can keep going for the long haul.”
But what do you do when you get to that point? How do you recover quickly? The last thing you want to do is ignore the signs of overtiredness, and fall into motherhood regret, or depression. The thing to remember is that motherhood is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. You need to pace yourself today, so you can keep going for the long haul.
17 Tips to Get Your Mojo Back
Perhaps there are one or two things from this list you can do today:
1 – Stop
For a busy mother this can be hard to do. But it’s okay to say, “I need to stop.” Cancel or re-schedule your commitments for the day. Some days, maybe it’s on a weekend, you can go back to bed. Sleep.
It’s common to feel quite flat and a little depressed when recovering from overtiredness. This is a normal process as your ‘batteries’ recharge. But if the lowness persists, go and see your health care professional. There may be other issues causing your problems, such as iron deficiency or postnatal depression.
2 – Talk About It
If you need to get your mojo back, you’re probably good at covering your tiredness up. But you are not a better mother for it. While you don’t want to end up nagging or whinging, sometimes you do need to let others in your world know you are pushed to your limit. Talk to your partner, tell a friend, call a family member, or maybe even ring Lifeline in Australia, or a similar crisis support service in other countries.
Sometimes all you need to do is get the feeling off your chest, and know that someone else knows and cares.
3 – Administer Self-Care
There are so many simple steps you can take for some self care.
Have a soak in the bath or have a hot shower. Use some of those body lotions that are sitting in the cupboard from last year’s Christmas stash. Organise yourself some alone time, with the help of someone in your close circle.
A mother’s overtiredness can be beaten; you just need to give yourself some space.
4 – Get an Early Night
I know. This one is really obvious – and it’s the one that’s so easy to NOT do!
And switch your phone off when you go to bed, or better still, an hour before. Don’t let social media steal your much-needed rest.
5 – Ask a Friend to Take the Kids
Explain how wrung out you are, and give yourself a few hours of space. Offer to return the favour sometime, so she can get her mojo back!
6 – Have an Afternoon Nap
Even 15 minutes of shut-eye can make all the difference. Set the timer on your phone. Rest. If you have a baby or toddler who takes an afternoon nap, why not let yourself sleep today, instead of doing the laundry or vacuuming?
7 – Reassess your Exercise Routine
Maybe today, when overtiredness is defining your life, it’s not a good day to do that exercise class, or jog the kilometres you were planning. Instead, plan to do that tomorrow, and rest today.
Alternatively, sometimes a good heart-thumping exercise routine might be just what you need. If you are tired and lethargic, the natural endorphins released from doing some exercise could be just the thing. It’s one possible way for an overtired mother to beat the weariness, and get her mojo back.
It could also help you sleep better tonight.
8 – Eat Whole Foods
When an overtired mother thinks of food, she can be so tempted to grab a packet of chips, or a bar of chocolate, for some fast energy. But that won’t help in the long run when the post-sugar crash hits. What’s needed is good, wholesome food to revitalise and nourish. Salads, fruit, and quality protein will sustain much better, and give a longer energy boost.
You will feel so much better than you will on junk food.
9 – Get Out Into the Sun
While everyone has to be careful not to expose themselves to too many harmful sunrays, there is also a problem with too little! Especially in winter, and especially if you are darker-skinned. In those cases you’re at risk of not receiving enough vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D helps you absorb food, and is a key to sustaining your energy levels. It reduces pain and inflammation, improves immunity, and helps strengthen your bones. The mid-winter blues are often attributed to a lack of sunshine being absorbed by the skin, so get out there and get some! This is possibly the simplest and cheapest way for an overtired mother to beat the yawns, and get her mojo back.
Getting sunshine is not a quick-fix though, as it might take several sessions outside, depending on the time of year and your skin colour.
10 – Breathe
Simply taking time out to breathe deeply and mindfully, is very healing.
Take some long, slow, deep, relaxing breaths. In (1, 2, 3). Out (1, 2, 3). Do that four or five times to relax.
It’s easy to underestimate the need for some good doses of oxygen, and if you are tired you tend to breathe less deeply. The more oxygen in your body, the more energy you have.
11 – Drink water
This simple revitaliser is a frequently forgotten quick-solution. Perhaps your intake of water is already sufficient. If not, go hydrate!
12 – Choose to Let Go and De-stress
This one may surprise you, but have a go at it anyway: consciously give your burden to Jesus – he is your friend who sticks closer than a brother. Ask him to show you what you can let go of today. You might be surprised by what comes to mind.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-29)
13 – Write Down Everything in Your Head
Sometimes, it’s the things you carry around in your brain that are making you tired; the 101 details of life.
You know what it can be like: “buy bread, ring Sarah, teach Charlie how to cook an egg, feed the dog, wash that t-shirt for the game on Saturday, book dentist appointment, mail that letter, remind Hannah after school but before netball training about the message from her friend, pay the power bill, reply to that email, return library books, book car in for service”, and on and on it goes. It’s exhausting keeping all that stuff in your head!
So – get every little detail out on paper. Sort out the items: errands, phone calls, emails, diary entries and reminders. Then, make a To Do list. And while you’re at it, schedule in some time to stop and rest.
You will be amazed how much energy you regain simply because you don’t have the constant whir of “stuff” in your head.
14 – Listen to Music
Your music choices affect your thinking. Research indicates that listening to music releases dopamine – that feel good hormone!
Play upbeat, positive songs. Don’t like what’s being served up to you on Spotify? Change it. Listening to depressing music on the car radio? Switch stations. If you are an overtired mother, you can sometimes start to beat the blues simply by adjusting your listening choices.
15 – Colouring
Those adult colouring books that have hit the market the last few years really can be stress relievers. There are many therapeutic benefits! Get them down off the shelves. Set yourself up with colouring for you and your kids. If you are an overtired mother you can get ahead by colouring, and create a bonding moment with your children by enjoying being creative together too.
16 – Be Creative
Colouring is only one creative outlet. There are so many more. What creative skills did you really enjoy when you were younger? Make a list of four or five things you enjoyed in the past, or always wanted to try. Schedule some time to try one of them.
If just planning to do something like this gives you a boost of energy, then just wait until you do it!
17 – Pray
Sometimes, all you can do to get your mojo back is to pray.
- Stop for a moment.
- Find a quiet place.
- Ask God to give you the strength and capacity to do what needs to be done.
- Pray for refreshment.
- Breathe deeply.
- Notice how your racing mind begins to slow down.
- Take back your day.
You can do this!
“But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
Article supplied with thanks to Treasuring Mothers. About the Author: Married with 5 children, and 3 adorable grandkids, Jenny is an accomplished writer, manager and Board Director with a heart for motherhood.