Looking after children can be very draining. Even if we are young and normally energetic, children can be tiring. There is always a lot to do and they will often need care as well as entertainment. There are things that you can do that will help you to prepared yourself so that you have enough energy to cope with what you encounter.
Get Plenty of Sleep
It is really important to get lots of sleep – 7-8 hours, if possible, to prepare you for a busy day. It is not always easy with young children but you can make it easier for yourself. Make sure that you go to bed early and move away distractions that might stop you sleeping. That means moving away your mobile devices and other things you might be tempted to pick up when you should be sleeping. Also try to relax before bed if you can and wind down, perhaps read a book, listen to some music, watch a comedy, have a warm bath or something like that.
What we eat has a huge impact on our energy levels. If we turn to sugary snacks then our energy will increase for a short period of time but then slump, so it is better to ditch these and have foods that give us a more constant energy levels. Foods that do this are proteins and wholegrains so meat, fish, dairy, beans, legumes, nuts and wholegrain oats, pasta and noodles. It can be a big change to do this, but you can make small changes rather than making a big change all in one go.
Go Careful with Caffeine
It can be tempting to think that by having lots of caffeine we will eb able to keep our energy levels up. While this could help us, it is a good idea to bear in mind that caffeine can stay in the system for a long time and disrupt sleep. If we have some caffeine at lunchtime. It will still be in our system at midnight and so even if we do fall asleep, we may not have such a good night’s sleep than if we went without the caffeine. This means that it could impact on the first suggestion of getting plenty of sleep and so may make it harder for us to find the energy we need in the day.
Get Some Morning Sunlight
Getting light in the morning is supposed to impact our circadian rhythms and let the brain know that it is time to wake up. Not only that though, but it also allows the brain to know when it is time for sleep, so it can help you get more sleep at night as well. It does not have to be that long either, just a cup of coffee outside, quick walk or even popping your head out of a window could work well enough. Take the children with you in the morning light as well because it could mean that they will sleep better and that will contribute to you getting a better sleep too.
Get Some Exercise
Exercising may feel like it would wear you out, but some exercise can be energising. You will need to set the amount according to what you can cope with though. If you overdo it then you will feel more tired and so you need to make sure that you do just enough to wake you up and give you some energy without overdoing it and wearing you out. You could even do a bit with the children or just use some energy tidying up and taking the children to the park, it does not need to be anything formal like a sports class or gym session.
Take Some Time to Rest
It is a good idea to take some time to rest in the day. You may not be able to nap or switch off, but take some time to sit down for a while, read to the children or watch TV together so you get a bit of time to regain your energy. It could be that if they nap, then you will be able to as well or at least have a bit of a break, perhaps with a cup of decaff coffee and a magazine.
It is worth making sure that you do ask for help if you need it. It is a lot to look after children and whether you have a partner to help out or not, you might find there are times when you need to ask friends or family to help you out. Most people, particularly those that have been parents, will know how difficult it is and will be more than happy to help you.