"No doubt about it, being a mom is exhausting," says Martha Davis, Ph.D., author of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (Harbinger, 1995). Feel like you can't squeeze a single drop of energy out of your sapped self? Try these "feel better fast" tips:
ENERGY STRATEGY: Diet
- Keep up the protein. "Don't skimp on protein -- it's what sustains energy," says Cynthia Sass, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in Tampa, Florida. Try no-preparation-required protein snacks like
cottage cheese, a golf ball-sized serving of nuts like almonds or pecans, or string cheese for an energy boost.
- Cut back on caffeine. Your energy crashes once the caffeine high fades. Have no more than a cup of coffee or two sodas a day.
- Eat often. If you go more than four hours without food, you're not eating frequently enough to maintain energy. Pack portable snacks and drinks in your diaper bag so you can snack every couple of hours.
ENERGY STRATEGY: Sleep
- Grab sleep when you can. "The average new mom gets four to six hours of sleep a night," says Lauren Broch, Ph.D., director of education at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center in White Plains, New York. But the optimum snooze time for adults is seven to eight hours. Make up for missed sleep by sharing an afternoon nap with your baby.
- Practice good sleep habits. Anxiety-inducing activities (like paying bills) right before you hit the sack can affect your ability to fall asleep. Wind down a few minutes before bed by reading something
relaxing, meditating, or stretching.
ENERGY STRATEGY: Time For You
- Get moving. Exercise may be the best energy booster around. If a full workout seems too time-consuming, take a walk around the block, turn on your stereo and dance while you do housework.
- Sneak in "adult stuff." When your days are filled with kid-centered activities, rejuvenate your spirit with simple things you love. Sing along (loudly!) to your favorite CD while you drive to the bank, or do the crossword in the newspaper while your baby eats breakfast.
- Relax! Okay, so you might not have time to join a yoga class or learn the art of Zen meditation. But you can burn off stress and get energized with simple relaxation techniques. Try deep breathing when
you're stuck at a red light. Or enjoy a great cat stretch while you're on hold with the pediatrician's office.
- Take time to create time. If you're constantly frazzled, you're probably exhausted, too. Take five minutes and organize your schedule each morning. Prioritize the day's activities and decide what can
be pushed until tomorrow. This simple exercise will help you move through the day in a more relaxed, contended state.
Kristyn Kusek is a health and lifestyle writers who's work has appeared in Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, The New York Times, and Lifetime TV Online.
The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.
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