Whether we are new or veteran moms, chances are we are all in some stage of sleep deprivation (having not slept for eight straight hours since before the kids came along). If coffee isn’t cutting it anymore, put down the caffeine and try out our tips to help you stay awake when you’re tired. You can see them all below.

photo: jill111 via Pixabay

1. Head Outside
If the sun is shining in your neck of the woods, Vitamin D is a natural energy boost. All you have to do is play with the kids outside, walk the dog, or roll back the sunroof. As always, if you plan on being outside for an extended period of time, be sure to put on a fresh coat of SPF. Foods like fish, egg yolks and fortified milk and cereals are also delicious D sources.

2. Drink (Lots of) Water
Water helps make the world—and our bodies—go round. And fatigue is a sure sign that we aren’t getting enough of it. Keep reusable bottles in your bag, at your desk, and in the car. You’ll get in the habit of hydrating throughout the day for sustained energy levels and all sorts of other body benefits (radiant skin sound good to anyone?).

3. Meditate for a Pick-Me-Up
Parenthood can feel like an endless circuit of activities, homework, appointments and the daily surprises that keep us on our toes. Sometimes all the caffeine we drink to keep up backfires, leaving us wired and unable to focus. Step off the hamster wheel and cue up a mom-friendly meditation app rather than another cup of joe. Just 5-10- or 15-minute increments of measured breathing and meditation will leave you relaxed and refreshed.

photo: Allison Gilman

4. Diffuse Essential Oils
Essential oils have taken the wellness world by storm—and with good reason. Naturally free of chemicals, they can help with stress, mood and yes, energy. Allison Gilman, a distributor of Young Living Essential Oils, shares two ways she incorporates essential oils “to boost energy as a busy and tired mom.” To get going in the morning or when she hits an afternoon slump, she diffuses a combination of peppermint and grapefruit essential oils, what she calls “a refreshing and stimulating blend.” When she really wants to focus, she puts three drops of nutmeg essential oil in the diffuser for an awakened mind.

5. Play That Funky Music
Think of your favorite song. If it’s got a beat, you may already be tapping your foot. Music is a mood elevator, so put on tunes while you cook dinner, pause the podcasts and pump up the jams in the car for the commute, or take a spin around the living room with the kids—for which we already have the ultimate dance playlist at the ready!

6. Step Away From Screens
Be it our phones, tablets, or work computers, turning on those blue lights at night can keep us up past our bedtimes, leading to even more sleep-deprivation. Ana Homayoun, author of Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World, offers great advice specifically for moms: “Be intentional about screen use. Many times we use our smartphones and screens from morning to night (and late into the night, especially for new moms on a feeding schedule). The incremental creep of usage can actually leave us far more exhausted than we realize. Shutting down social media access and phone access for certain hours in the day can create time and space for re-energizing.”

photo: takedahrs via Pixabay

7. Fuel Up to Fight Fatigue
When you reach for that next cup of green tea, did you know a bowl of protein-rich edamame can also pack a pick-me-up punch? Nutrition expert Joy Bauer, the author of From Junk Food To Joy Food, includes it in her list of energy-boosting foods. So sprinkle them on a lunch salad, add them to one of your favorite (and easy) pasta recipes or save them for an afternoon energy snack. For something sweet, watermelon is in season from May to September and is a great source of B6 and citrulline, an amino acid that aids in cell division and benefits heart and immune system function.

8. Exercise
Okay, you knew this was coming. As hard as it can be to muster up the will to work out, the endorphin boost from exercising makes the muster well worth it. If you need an inspiring reset, try something new like a Hip Hop dance class, use that community pool pass to swim solo laps, borrow a jogging stroller and hit the neighborhood, or make the most of the next trip to the playground with these total body workout tips.

9. Delegate a To-Do or Two
We run ourselves ragged doing it all—parenting, working, volunteering at school, keeping the meals coming. While we can’t outsource the big or fulfilling responsibilities, how about daring to say “no” to the bake sale next time around? Give yourself permission to pass along that extra something that’s overwhelming the week. Instead, enjoy an hour with the family (or all to yourself!) and feel recharged instead of rundown.

photo: StockSnap via Pixabay

10. Turn in Early
Truth, who loves the idea of crawling to bed “early,” but ends up binge-watching one or two hours of the show that’s been stockpiling because the kids are finally asleep? We may want to take a tip from the kids instead. While 7:00 pm zzz’s aren’t realistic—mamas need evening solitude to decompress or finally get things done uninterrupted—try really turning in an hour (or two) early one night a week. Before bed, reach for a book instead and notice how many pages you get through before those eyelids get heavy. For a tired mom, we’ll put money on about … five!

11. Just Keep Truckin’
We know how awesome you are, mama. And that no matter how sluggish you may feel, you’re doing your best to show up and be great for your kids, your job and your partner. You’ll catch a break soon, even if it’s just to plan that overdue vacation. Before too long the kids will be grown and you’ll have all the time to read that novel, sleep in on a weekend again, and stay late at the office. And you may just find yourself missing these hectic, joyful days when you’re sleep-deprived and the kids are still young.

— Jennifer Massoni Pardini



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Feature photo: Kinga Cichewicz via Unsplash

11 Ways to Stay Awake When You're Exhausted (That Aren't Coffee)