Hello Parent Community,
Yes, parenthood is amazing.
Yes, your baby is the cutest baby of all time.
And also, if you are like most parents, you are tired. Like.....bone tired. Like, you daydream-about-sleeping-for-4-days-straight tired.
Add to that a global pandemic and for many of you, the added factor of working from home and you have a perfect storm.
The level of overstimulation and exhaustion that parents are feeling right now is a different type of tired than I have ever witnessed in my 10 years of doing this work. It is a combination of parents working from home and babies habituating to that and requiring even more presence and support with sleep which then leads to parents working TWO full time jobs at once.
It. Is. Just. Too. Much.
For others of you, your baby may have started sleeping and you are STILL feeling exhausted. After months and months of having your sleep interrupted, and of pushing your body past what it is normally used to, it is finally resting and rather than bouncing back immediately, it is going into let down mode.
While this may be frustrating for you, I want to tell you that this is normal and that it will pass.
Here are some signs and symptoms to look for in order to determine whether you are facing adrenal fatigue:
- Difficulty waking in the morning (even after sleeping longer stretches)
- Afternoon fatigue
- Craving sugar, salt or fat
- Increased illness due to immune system depression
- Hormone imbalance
- Acne and other skin problems
- Low libido
- Poor memory
If this is you (and let's face it, it probably is), here are some simple things to start doing to help your body reset and restore:~Watch your caffeine intake. Limit yourself to one caffeinated drink per day, and make sure to drink it before noon.
~Turn off all screens (computer, TV, and phone) at least an hour before bed. New research indicates that using electronics before bed is terrible for our sleep. Electronic devices stimulate brain activity (not a good thing right before bed), and some researchers have found that the backlighting from these devices may actually lower our melatonin levels. (Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep.) Note: screen time before bed is bad for kids’ sleep, too.
~Create a soothing bedtime routine. Take a bath, read a book, drink some herbal tea — do anything that helps you “turn off your brain” and unwind. Having a bedtime routine in place will also help signal to your brain that bedtime is approaching, and as those of you who do bedtime routines with your kids will know, that can be really helpful in promoting a good night’s sleep.
~Consider using a white noise app, MP3, or machine. This was so helpful for me. I found that the constant hum of my white noise machine helped me to relax, and it masked all the tiny, slight noises that were making it so hard for me to sleep at night. You can also download white noise MP3’s or apps, if you’d rather not pay for a machine.
~Try blackout curtains or eye masks. Think about investing in some good blackout curtains, or maybe even an eye mask.
~Try deep breathing and muscle-relaxing techniques. Simple, slow, rhythmic breathing can do wonders to help you relax and feel drowsy. You can also try focused muscle-relaxing techniques to help you calm down and feel sleepy.
~Look for herbal, natural remedies. Certain scents, like lavender and jasmine, have been proven to help people sleep longer. Certain foods can also promote sleep, like cherries, honey, and chamomile tea. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help, too — magnesium and iron are two minerals known to help promote better sleep.
The adrenal glands, which sit above the kidneys, are responsible for managing stress. However, if they are never given a break from the daily stress, they can become fatigued.
In the more extreme cases, it can be classified as Adrenal Fatigue.
What steps can you take now to support your adrenals?
Be Gentle with Yourself. You are one wonderful woman and you are doing an amazing job. Please, remember this as often as possible. Being a mom is hard and being gentle with yourself is important.
- When your baby goes to sleep at night, do not use this new found 1-3 hours as your time to catch up on everything.
- First, tend to YOU and then once you are caught up and feeling better, you can get back to your To Do List.
- Eat Regularly. Consume regular meals, not allowing yourself to go long periods without eating. Low blood sugar is hard on the adrenals.
- Eat Protein with Every Meal. This will support healthy blood sugar levels and allow your body to relax, knowing that it has plenty of fuel.
- Lower Stress. Breathe deeply and often, meditate, practice mindfulness in the moments you can, and please honor your strength. Take note of what you have to be grateful for.
Sleep. Ask your partner to take your baby on the weekend and allow you to sleep in or take a nap. Go to bed by 10 p.m. most nights and sleep in a completely dark room.
- Turn down or off the monitor so that you are not waking during your child's habitual waking periods.
- Exercise. Strength training, gentle cardio, and stretching are best for adrenal health. Long cardio routines and strenuous exercise can often make adrenal conditions worse. Meet with a health care provider to determine the right type of exercise for your health needs. Often, daily exercise, at your level, will help improve your energy and mood.
The following is a blog post written by a fellow mother who came up with her own Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Plan in case you are looking for a resource.
I wish you well and I wish for you deep restoration....