At 13 weeks pregnant, I still find myself battling the never ending exhaustion. I go to bed tired. I wake up tired. And honestly, I don't have time to be tired. My toddler bounces out of bed in the morning with the energy of a super nova. My 7 month old is the world's fastest crawler,and expert electrical plug finder. I have to be on my toes from sun up to sun down.
But even if you don't have two energetic children to watch, pregnancy exhaustion often comes at the worst time leaving moms-to-be feeling frustrated and very unproductive. So if you find yourself falling asleep at the kitchen table, I encourage you to try a few of these strategies for dealing with pregnancy exhaustion especially when you just don't have time to be tired.
1. Extend Yourself Grace
It's easy to get frustrated when you are feeling weak and tired.
"I have no reason to be this exhausted!"
"I'm not that pregnant."
"I've got to get over this and stop being lazy."
LIES! No matter what stage of pregnancy you are in, you have a very good reason to be tired. Your body is working overtime night and day to grow another human being. Respect the changes your body is going through and give yourself some grace. Feeling tired isn't a sign of weakness or laziness. Your body is doing exactly what it was created to do!
When I start to feel frustrated, I often find myself saying, "I'm tired, but God is good."
- Reminding myself I'm just tired helps me handle my out of control emotions. I'm not a terrible, cranky mother. I can smile and be joyful even when I'm tired!
- Reminding myself that God is good helps me focus on the positive. God gave me this child, and he knew all of the pregnancy symptoms that would come with her. I need to trust he will give me the strength I need to make it through.
It's okay to give up on a perfectly clean house and Pintrest worthy meals. Yes, a clean house and good food are important, but growing a baby is pretty important too! Of course, easy doesn't always mean healthy or safe, so every mom has to find her own balance between taking care of her family and taking care of herself.
Here is what my easy road looks like.
- Give gifts cards for weddings, birthdays, and holiday gifts.
- Eat sandwiches or leftovers for lunch.
- Double or triple a favorite recipe and eat it all week.
- Stick to easy recipes you make well. (For us that means lots of Spinach Pasta, Enchiladas, Chili, and Baked Potatoes.)
- Make a bare basics cleaning schedule and let the rest go.
- Do laundry in small loads everyday (no big laundry day).
- Let the kids watch movies.
- Back off of commitments outside of our home and focus on family.
The easy road looks different for every family, but just remember, it's temporary. Don't worry about not being perfect. This is about getting through with a smile on your face!
3. Take Care of Yourself
You may not be able to take a nap, but you can take care of your body. Not eating right will definitely make you even more tired!
- Drink water. Lots and lots of water! You need water. Your baby needs water. Staying hydrated will help relieve many of those pesky pregnancy symptoms.
- Eat frequent healthy snacks. I snack constantly when I'm tired, and I feel a lot better if they are healthy snacks. Choose foods high in protein and fiber to keep you full longer and give you more sustained energy.
- Cut out sugar. Sugary drinks and snacks will give you a boost of energy for two seconds and then leave you feeling sluggish and icky the rest of the day. Plus, they lead to unnecessary weight gain which puts you at risk for all sorts of pregnancy complications.
Of course, when you are pregnant you don't want to be downing caffeine or taking unnecessary supplements, but there are a lots of natural, healthy ways to get a boost of energy.
- Take a brisk walk, dance around with your kids, or speed vacuum your entire house (yeah, it's a work out!). You'll most likely feel better after some moderate exercise.
- Try a few whiffs of peppermint oil. Peppermint is a safe and natural energy booster. I keep a bottle of peppermint oil on my shelf and stop in for a quick break when I'm feeling sluggish.
- Get more sunshine. Those warm rays will boost your vitamin D production and give you a natural sense of well-being. With mobile technology I can plan menus, make phone calls, balance the checkbook, and respond to emails all from my back yard.
- Taking a hot shower will wake you up faster than anything else. I feel more alert and energized after a shower and a few minutes alone. Or if a hot shower, just sounds too relaxing try a blast of cold water instead. Brrr!!! If you don't have time for a shower, just trying washing your face and your hands for a quick pick-me-up.
- Have a good laugh. Do a Google search for funny jokes. Call a friend who is great at telling stories. Laughter is a great way to put a smile on your face and a pep in your step!
When it's all said and done, you really just need more sleep, and which means you need to use your waking hours as efficiently as possible.
- Cut out Facebook, turn off the television, and step away from other unnecessary time wasters.
- Make a to-do list and start with the most important things first.
- Delegate tasks to other people and only worry about tasks that require your attention. (Around here that means I cook and Dad cleans up! We wouldn't want it the other way around.)
- Minimize your errand running and put off projects that can wait a few weeks.
How do you deal with pregnancy exhaustion? What does your easy road look like?