The girl has never been the best sleeper. She has never slept as long as I would like, and she still has periods where she just can’t or won’t sleep through the night.
We’re going through one of those periods right now, and while I’m trying hard to remember that it won’t last forever, it’s hard to keep both your spirits and your energy up when you’re not getting enough sleep.
You have to take care of yourself when you’re exhausted, maybe even more so than when you’re getting more regular sleep. You have to do what you can to make the waking hours OK so the not-sleeping hours are a little less awful.
Here’s what I try to do.
Exercise. If you have any energy at all, use a little bit to take a walk. I’d been doing really well with this until the rain (thanks, Bill), and it really does help to move a bit. If you have no energy at all, at least go stand outside for a few minutes, especially if it’s sunny where you are.
Drink water. I don’t know if hydration really has anything to do with energy, but it certainly doesn’t help if you’re not well hydrated. And really cold water can provide a shock of awakeness to the system.
But don’t feel bad if you’re drinking more coffee. Or whatever caffeinated drink you like. Husband makes a little pot of coffee for me every morning because he loves me, and I usually only drink one cup. But this week, I’ve been drinking it all. Every little bit helps.
Or eating junk. When I am tired I find it harder to resist chocolate. And I don’t really try. What little self control I have is better spent trying not to get frustrated at the not-sleeping kid than it is on not eating Take 5 bars. (My favorite.)
Rest when you can. I know it’s not possible for people with jobs to really rest in the middle of the day, and I’ve been trying not to actually nap, but taking a little extra time with Facebook or an actual book is totally OK when you have no energy.
But work when you can, too. It’s so important to pay attention to your energy levels and do the most taxing work when you feel the most energetic. Push through as much as you can if the better times so you can do less strenuous (or mentally difficult) work in the slump times.
Lower your expectations. These are not days that you’re going to be able to burn through your to-do list. But they also aren’t days where you can just get nothing done. Select the most critical things to focus on, put your energy there, and be willing to let slide what can.
Hug your loved ones. You’re all in this together. And your kid would probably rather sleep through the night, too, so it does no good to blame them. Try to still do fun things together during the day and make time for lots of snuggles, which are great for stress relief.
How do you get through your tired days? I’d love to hear your tips!