How do you increase your energy as a mum and keep your family healthy?
I’m pretty confident that when you became a mum, you didn’t think….”well that’s what I thought it was going to be”!
Most of us have no clue to the enormity of this role. Let’s find out what you can do to have great energy levels and keep a healthy family.
Get on top of your energy levels & family's health
The best kept secret is the one that comes after our first born arrives!
We prepare so much for the birth the baby room, the baby clothes, the pram, but no one ever tells us exactly how we are going to feel after the birth! Lack of, or no sleep, sore, cracked and bleeding nipples, breast feeds that last for 1 hour, you might never again complete a task from start to finish without interruption and so of course its understandable that tiredness can set in due to these physical and psychological adjustments.
With two grown boys or should I say men (17 & 20year olds), half a dozen or so nephews/nieces and 12 years of clinical experience helping mothers in my clinic I have learnt a thing or two that will help you too. You need practical and realist ideas and advise coupled with knowing how to check what your particular biochemical weaknesses that may be dragging you down and adding to your already challenging situation.
We know that this is not a new job, woman have been doing this for years and years, but we also know that we no longer live in tight communities like our ancestors did, and it still takes a village to raise a child regardless of the fact that we don’t live in them anymore!
Here are four things we are told that just don't work!
1 – Don’t do anything because it’s normal to be tired with small children
This is the common advise for a new mum, it’s normal so don’t worry it will pass! Yes of course having everything you have ever experienced and understood about life having been flipped inside out and upside down is going to rock your world! So we expect some adjusting but it’s not uncommon for this to continue weeks to months to even years after.
Being tired is one thing here are there, but when your fatigue becomes the norm, this should not be accepted as reasonable.
2 – Woman know how to be mums and so should you!
Like we said, yes mums have been mums for years, but you know you aren’t feeling great, you are tired, overwhelmed and can’t seem to enjoy your baby the way you want to and the way you feel you should! You feel guilty for not being grateful but you can’t shake it. You will be happy to know that many, many women feel these same emotions, and believing or being told that you shouldn’t just causes feelings of guilt and further isolation.
3- Just take an iron supplement!
The first thing everyone reaches for when they are tired is iron, yes we know that when you are low in little amounts of this mineral the cause is fatigue but so does a deficiency or insufficiency of vitamin B12 or folate or vitamin D to name a few. So the point being, it’s not the only possible cause of your fatigue. Plugging the wrong hole is not going to improve energy levels and only prolongs the issue.
The more fatigued we get the less motivation we have and the less we are inclined to continue to find solutions.
4- Trying to make too many changes & do too many things
Like we said this is certainly the biggest life adjustment ever! Trying to do too many things and believing that you need to is the quickest way to get overwhelmed and exhausted. As mum’s we have so many thoughts bombard us its crazy, but not unusual. We worry about what we have to do to keep our kids healthy, we know we need to eat well, we want to manage our weight, we think about our work life, we want our kids to socialise well…..etc etc. Suddenly our too do list hit double digits this just does not work and dosen’t serve ourselves or our family.
3 Tips that help or work
1 – Make 3 of your meals normal savoury meals
A common occurrence is for mum’s to forget about their eating habits and concentrate only on the family. Let’s remember that we need to use the oxygen mask first if we are going to be of any use to the rest of our family.
So a simple way to help this is to ensure that three of your meals look like a good old fashioned savoury meal. So even if you feel like your snacking it’s that great or what often happens is mum’s replacing normal meals with some packaged meal or cracker or anything that is within reach, that ultimately is unsatisfying.
This is my list of good old fashioned savoury meals, just press record and repeat:
- roast, veg and salad
- stir fry
- soups veg, lentil or chicken
- fish, salad and veg
- lentil patties or meat balls
- chicken salads
- eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms & spinach and sourdough
- sourdough toast with avocado & pesto
- dips with vegi sticks, antipasto foods olives, artichokes, asparagus etc
2 – Get out of sleep debt
We know sleep and kids are like oil and water, they just don’t mix! So much so that you may reside to the fact that you need to make up your sleep some other decade! Well I recommend that you step away from this approach and get into the habit of “sleep catch ups”, what that means that while of course its understandable that you may not get 6 to 8 hours sleep anymore and this could go on for a long while, you need to make up the hours, they need to be made up during the day. This is not the time to focus on lots of things, try to decide on the one or two important things and keep your sleep catch ups a priority.
The truth is that if we are tired we are just not going to be productive, nor will we enjoy what we do or life in general. It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that when we have children we don’t need to also achieve all the things we where doing prior, I think as mum’s we put so much pressure on ourselves when we need to cut ourselves some slack and allow ourselves to adjust.
3 – Find out if anything is dragging you down, check your biochemistry
Get your levels checked this is crucial if you are a tired mum, imagine finding out that the only thing between you and good energy levels might be a little nutrient deficiency or a pathway not doing it’s job! It’s worth the check, you and your family definitely deserve it, I’m sure you agree.
The levels worth checking as a start include, iron, vitmain B12, folate, vitmain D, thyroid (TSH, T3, T4), cortisol, homocysteine, zinc, copper, liver and kidney function, electrolytes and red blood cells.
Get the help you need now to restore your energy levels for you and your family
It’s all about developing some habits and routines within the chaos of family life, checking for biochemical issues and rectifying them. Learning how to draw on different support systems in the lifestyle you have.
If you need more help then why not book in for a personal one on one consult?
Watch Maria's Q&A with Lovewell's Theresa Palmer & Christiane Duigan
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