Make Sure You Fill Your Tank
You can’t give what you don’t have
By EDWARD DANYO
Being a single dad of a child that never slept, I constantly felt drained…and even when my energy cup was empty, I still had to function as a competent parent. I had zero time for myself and even felt guilty when I wanted just 5 minutes of “me time.” Can any of you relate?
Back then I had zero clue the importance of personal resilience and I think both of us suffered because of it. It took me a long time to realize that all sacrifices weren’t noble. In fact, if I could do it all over again, I’d make sure I took time to (selflessly) recharge my own batteries.
In the article, “How to Manage Exhaustion When Your Kid Just Won’t Sleep,” Healthline provides a great list of options to help refill your dwindled energy cup! Here are a few of my personal favorites for to consider:
“Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids; they provide a pattern that your body will come to recognize as your sleep time cue.”
- Challenge your assumptions! Consider outsourcing your lawn maintenance or using a meal service company on occasion. If you do the math on gas, groceries, and time saved you might be surprised a bargain in outsourcing.
- Leverage your support network. Do you think the grandparents would love to come over for an hour or 2 to watch the kids while you grab a well deserved nap? Extended family time creates lasting bonds and allows everyone to feel needed and useful.
- Establish your own bedtime routine. Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids; they provide a pattern that your body will come to recognize as your sleep time cue. Do not allow pre-bedtime screen scrolling to become part of your pattern…your melatonin level is negatively impacted just the same as your child.
- Focus only on what MUST get done. I am my own victim of an endless list of daily “to do” tasks. When you start re-evaluating what must be done vs. what you’d like to get done, it’s amazing the amount of time you can free up.
- Get outside! I know this is one of the activities that rejuvenates me the most. The sun, fresh air, and a nice breeze tend to make me feel a bit more calm and relaxed. Take a frisbee with you and let the kids chase it as you sit blissfully still enjoying the moment.
- Move. Move. Move. A sedentary body becomes fatigued more quickly than on doing some sort of physical activity. Learn to take 5-10 minute movement breaks during the day. Try searching YouTube for an instructional activity that interests you; maybe try something like the 5 Minute Tai Chi for Beginners video on the right.
Regardless of how you recharge, it is necessary for your healthy wellbeing. Take short opportunistic time for yourself, and both you and your child will be rewarded with a more healthy you!