Being a Parent is full on! As for us Mammies, We are doing more than ever before in our quest to have it all but our health is suffering as a result.
Most mothers are in a constant state of exhaustion and considering the demands of modern society, family, career, and so on, It is no wonder so many of us are feeling burnt out and fed up.
Below are 5 simple steps you can use today to increase your energy, lower your stress levels and get you back to yourself again.
1. Check your iron levels
Studies show that low iron levels may be the key contributing factor in low energy, fatigue, and brain fog in women.
Why is Iron so important?
The chief function of iron is to form hemoglobin, a red blood cell protein whose main purpose is to transport oxygen in the blood. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.
Muscle metabolism and low iron are also linked. Adequate levels of iron help provide the necessary oxygen for muscle contraction and endurance including the heart muscle.
Now although your body does store iron, various factors can affect these stores. Your monthly Aunt flo, growing tiny humans, childbirth and nursing can all but deplete your Iron levels.
Symptoms to look out for include lethargy, fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, attention span, short term memory, thinning hair and nails.
Food sources of iron
Food sources include red meat, dark green leafy veg (think spinach, kale, nettles etc) tofu, seeds, beans, peas and lentils. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron so do try to include some with every serving whereas dairy and caffeine inhibit absorption so it is vital to ensure you do not have these one hour either side of eating for optimal absorption.
2. Make sure you are eating well
Sounds like a no brainer but as mothers we often look after everyone else and forget all about ourselves. I see you Mama snacking on leftovers and grabbing a quick coffee as you go about your day. Food is fuel and you cannot run on fumes. Forget calories and ensure you are eating a wholesome wholefood diet full of carbs, protein, fat and fibre.
Carbohydrates are your body’s first and foremost favourite source of energy.
Protein is vital for repair, keeps you feeling full for longer and balances blood sugars.
Fat is your friend. Fat is essential to protect vital organs such as the heart, the liver and it makes up the largest part of the protective membrane surrounding all your body’s cells. Fat is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, hormone, and immune processes. Healthy fats are vital for brain health, when you don’t consume enough fats, you run the risk of brain fog. Your brain needs fat to function. New emerging studies highlight the importance of dietary fat on Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Fibre found in fruits and vegetables supports gut health, the entire digestive system, elimination processes and appetite regulation.
Eating a varied colourful diet of natural wholefoods is all you need to ensure your intake of all of the above
Feeling sleepy, Unmotivated & having difficulty concentrating are all symptoms of mild dehydration that can be easily remedied by drinking more water. You need to drink enough water to function and for your body to flush out toxins, in turn keeping you healthy.
To do this, you need at least 2 litres of water every day and more if you are active. Honestly, I cannot over emphasize the importance of drinking water for every single bodily function.
A simple way to check your hydration levels is the colour and smell of your pee. If it is a light straw colour with little to no smell, then you are adequately hydrated but anything other than this and you need to increase your water intake.
Remember coffee and black tea are dehydrating so keep your intake of these in check or even better replace a few cups of daily caffeine for herbal blends that are packed with goodness such as our HealthTeas. The first tea blend I ever created Iron Brew was specifically for low iron when I was pregnant and run down. You can check it out here
4. Move Your Body
The last thing you might feel like doing when you’re exhausted is exercise but light movement such as walking, yoga and swimming can increase your energy levels and leave you feeling recharged.
Studies show that just 15 minutes a day of light exercise reduces stress & anxiety whilst boosting energy levels, increases serotonin (happy hormone) and improves overall brain functions such as memory and recall not to mention the effect it can have on your mood.
No need to go off and run a marathon either, just find a way of moving your body that you enjoy and that feels good for you.
5. QUALITY Sleep
The focus here is on the quality and not necessarily the quantity of sleep you get each night. How many mothers do you know getting a full eight hours of sleep each and every night? Becoming a parent usually involves some amount of broken and reduced sleep, sometimes even for years.
Recent Sleep experiments are now showing that it’s the quality of sleep that matters more than how many hours you are getting.
So how do you get better sleep?
One word; Routine. Yes, bedtime routines are not just for the kids, you need one too. Us humans are creatures of habit and routines are part of our anatomy.
You can customise your routine however you like; the important part is that you are reducing your stress and promoting relaxation. Some suggestions to add to your bedtime routine tonight are:
- Meditation: Meditation reinforces the mind-body connection and can help you decompress after especially hectic days. There are guided meditations on YouTube that are perfect for introducing beginners to the practice of meditation and mindfulness.
- Write it down: Our minds cannot slow down if we are constantly worrying and thinking about what tomorrow holds. Instead of lying awake thinking about all the things you need to do, keep a notepad by your bedside and each night do a brain dump.
- Read: Unwind with a chapter of your latest book each night. Not only is this a great way to wind down but your eyes will thank you for the break from your screen!
- No Blue Lights: Speaking of screens, we could all benefit from a little less time on them. The blue light emitted from the screens stimulates our minds. Plus, the additional scrolling in bed keeps us awake far longer than we intended to be. Commit to turning off your screens at least 30 minutes before falling asleep.
- Set the scene: Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Invest in quality bedding. Hang room-darkening curtains. Remove as much technology as possible. You can even introduce a lamp with a red-light bulb to counteract that pesky blue light. Also, consider adding an essential oil diffuser. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and cedarwood have been shown to promote relaxation and better sleep.
- Take a Bath: The occasional bath helps both our bodies and minds unwind. The warm water can soothe aching muscles and joints while giving us some much-needed quiet time. For an elevated experience, consider adding a handful of healing herbs to your bath water. (herbal teas such as our HealthTea’s are perfect for this)
- Lower Your Caffeine: Caffeine can be a wonderful boost in the day. But when we consume too much caffeine later on, it can keep us wired when we are trying to wind down. Consider switching your caffeinated beverages for herbal teas. Personally, if I drink a tea or a coffee after 6pm I can kiss goodbye to my 8 hours! Serenitea is perfect for the evening time and chock full of anxiety-reducing, peace-promoting herbs such as passionflower herb, chamomile, rose petals, lavender, and melissa officinalis.
Boosting your energy can sometimes feel like another thing to add to your already hefty to-do list. But small changes over time will make a big difference in the end. Focus on just one thing from this list and do it repeatedly until it becomes a habit. You will feel such a huge difference that it will inspire you to continue! Which will you try first?
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