How I Fuel Joy & Beat Burnout As a Busy Parent
The life of a busy parent is demanding to say the least.
We contend with our kids' needs, our own needs, our house, our jobs, the stress of the times and fear of the unknown. Somedays, it can all be too much.
It's no wonder busy parents often feel tired & anxious!
Feeling exhausted, down & unmotivated gets perpetuated by a routine that is not conducive to healthy habits because we're "too busy" to prioritize ourselves.
I'm here to assure you that you don't have to carve out MORE time in order to prioritize yourself. It's more of a mindset than a scheduling tactic. When you don't focus on your own health, you are actually fueling the fatigue you so badly want to shake.
How do I know this? I've been there.
As an overwhelmed parent I've skipped meals, survived on my kids' food scraps, relied on wine for relief and gone to bed far too late.
Needless to say, this didn't work in my favour.
The one thing that changed it all for me was improving my diet with a few small, powerful "upgrades."
Once I started to focus on eating better, I felt more clear-headed, I was able to better prioritize my day and I began to listen to my body. I also gained more self-respect, found healthier outlets for stress and began to make better choices overall.
Below are some of the strategies I implement daily in my efforts to fuel joy and beat burnout...
NOTE: these are not rocket science, nor are they reserved for the days when my kids are at school and I have (more) time for myself. These are things I can control on the busiest, most chaotic days, and that's why I'm sharing them with you.
eating more natural foods, fewer packaged goods
eating more colourful fruits & veggies
choosing better quality carbs (like whole grains) with more fibre
reducing sugar + alcohol intake
eating consistent meals & snacks
prioritizing water above all other beverages
hydration upon waking
food before coffee (the body needs real fuel, not a "jump start")
no more coffee (it can perpetuate fatigue because it often replaces nourishment in the afternoon)
scheduling time for an enjoyable, supportive snack to avoid the dreaded 3pm crash (this is when I make a vibrant, energizing smoothie) *check out my smoothie guide
swapping wine for herbal tea after the kids go to bed (this is a healthier way for me to relax & is supportive of good sleep habits)
Now that I've learned how to prioritize myself I've come to realize it's not an "all or nothing" approach, meaning, you don't have to choose yourself over your kids or continue to focus on your kids' needs above your own.
There's a sweet spot in the middle where you can be a good parent AND live a healthy, balanced life that supports your needs as an individual.
Good nutrition is central to holistic wellness (including mental health) and I truly believe it's the way forward for busy, tired parents because the smallest of improvements can have a huge impact.
So, how do you fuel joy and reduce fatigue? Look at the times of day when your energy is at its lowest and think about nourishing your body in/before those moments. Start small & stay consistent with your efforts.
Stay tuned for more on this topic!
In the meantime, check out my blog posts on intuitive eating for busy parents (here) and making healthy changes as a parent (here).
Ciara Morin, R.H.N.