Yep, it’s torture. You don’t need anyone to tell you that.
There is a common misconception that the worst weeks of sleep are the first weeks after birth. But many, many mothers hit a wall around their babies first birthday. Sleep can get better and worse at various ages and stages, but it’s really the relentlessness of it that starts to wear you down. After many months of sleep deprivation, you really can lose your marbles.
Here are a few ways to get through the day.
1. Get Dressed
When you are feeling like a train wreck on the inside it can sometimes help to project a more optimistic external appearance and make you feel more awake. Maybe it’s a bit like how fake smiling makes you happy!?!?!
Wear a nice dress and put on some lippy can make you feel like a human being again, even if it only lasts for a few minutes.
At the very least put on some really nice, clean lounge wear so you don’t feel like too much of a slob.
If you haven’t yet mastered the art of napping, it’s well worth learning!!! As any seasoned napper will tell you, naps can be life changing.
3. Business As Usual
It can be tempting to collapse in a heap, and some days there is simply no other way. But if it’s possible to, just get on with your life. The more you focus on being tired, the more tired you feel.
If you cancel appointments and reschedule your whole life you are kind of resigning yourself to a world of tiredness.
If you can ignore it and get yourself moving, you can find friendships and creativity and work that can distract you from the fogginess.
4. Eat Well
Food is more than fuel for our bodies. It can nourish you deeply on an emotional and spiritual level.
If you find you are surviving on cake and coffee from mums group and your toddlers mushy left overs have a think about what else your body is craving other than sleep? Are you iron deficient? Generally feeling malnutrition?
Think of this stage as a marathon, it’s a long game. Food can make a huge difference to your energy and vitality.
If you can afford to buy good ready-to-eat food then do. There are plenty of home delivered lunch plans and meal boxes available these days.
But if finances are tight getting some friends together and do a big batch baking day and fill all your freezers at once. Or ask a neighbour if they are happy to swap a meal with you once a week, you can cook double on Tuesdays and they cook double on Thursdays, for example.
Or if you are really not coping than be strong and ask for help! Facebook can open you up to surprising and unexpected friends who would be happy to drop a meal over.
Light quite literally wakes you up. Embracing the cycles of night and day can help with your hormones when you are feeling ‘jet lagged’ from sleep deprivation. Sleep in the dark, and get outside as soon as you can in the morning.
If you haven’t started to move your body since your baby arrived now is the time. I mean right now! Just roll your shoulders, touch your toes, stretch from side to side. Breathe.
I talk to so many mother who wished they’d started moving earlier after their baby was born. You don’t need to do anything crazy like a triathlon but a few stretches and a short walk can do wonders for your energy and mental health.