Eli is now 14 months old - healthy, happy, super tall, super handsome (but we are biased) and absolutely on the move. Pulling everything off shelves, exploring the garden, attending to the kitchen cupboards by rearranging, pulling out and hiding the Tupperware. He is full of life and laughter.
In the same breath, while we are thrilled Eli is happy and engaging in his world, we as his parents are EXHAUSTED. Happy exhausted, content exhausted, wouldn't-swap-it-for-the-world exhausted - but nevertheless, absolutely, to the core tired. Between the two of us, we work full-time hours, are opening a business, finishing Uni degrees and undergoing home renovations. So for all the Mums and Dads out there, how do you stay at an optimum level of health and well being with beautifully busy lives? As always, Ayurveda comes to the rescue, and there are simple ways to keep your sanity and good health with a young and quickly growing family. So here are my top three things for battling fatigue on the home front using Ayurvedic principles:
"YOU TIME" IS NOT A LUXURY, IT'S A NECESSITY
I can hear you all saying "but I don't get a minute to myself!!" I'm not talking about long weekends away or even an entire evening out on the town. I'm talking about 10-20 minutes of focused rest and rejuvenation. This can be first thing in the morning before bubs gets up, during morning sleep time or after you've tucked the little one to sleep at night. Focused rest and rejuvenation is not TV time or taking a day time nap (although this might be really tempting). Actually, a short yoga practice (like a few rounds of Sun Salutations) and a 5-10 minute meditation can be your saving grace when sleep deprived and on-edge. Let me give you my reasoning. We now know that meditation is as powerful, if not more powerful than sleep. It allows the brain to enter a state of deep stillness, rejuvenation and clarity in a much quicker time-frame than hours of disturbed and restless sleep. The yoga increases blood flow to the brain, flexibility, body strength and oxygenation - all of which you need to manage the next round of baby chasing and workload. With a small practice during the day, especially when you are feeling particularly fatigued, can give you the boost and sense of strength that you desperately need. It is not being selfish or indulgent, it is about maintaining an optimum functioning state to be the best parent you can.
EAT, EAT, EAT
Not junk and rubbish food, but fresh, cooked and nourishing food. I know that finding time to cook is really challenging as a busy parent, but your body (and your baby's') will thank you for it. You are only as good as what fuels you and trust me, it is worth the effort. Some ways to introduce easy food prep and cooking in the home is to think in larger quantities. While re-heating food, Ayurvedically speaking, is not ideal, it still is much better for you to have some leftover soup from last night rather than not eating at all or eating something like a celery stick dipped in peanut butter (don't worry - I've been there). A batch of soup or mixed vegetables with rice or a veggie bake can be all cooked in a relatively short time frame and will keep you and your family beautifully nourished. We have some great, very easy to prepare meals on this very site. Click here to take a browse.
When your little one is awake, it is time to drop what you are doing if you can. Both physically and mentally. Looking after baby while thinking of all the 400 jobs left to do or trying to make phone calls, follow up emails or hang out the washing is often a frustrating and fruitless task. You end up short-fused and deeply unsatisfied, all while missing out on time with your child. Now, I completely, without question, understand that at times, multi-tasking is necessary. However, if you are able to squeeze in a few present moments playing on the floor with your child or reading a book together, you will find potentially that you have slightly more energy left at the end of the day. Reason being, you have not been dividing up your energy and will power between many different tasks. And remember, as my Mum always tells me, it will never all be done. Pick the top priority tasks and the rest, sorry to say, might have to wait until tomorrow. And that's OK too.
And lastly, remember to be kind to yourself as much as possible. Parenting is a hard gig and some little extra niceties that you can give yourself along the way might just ease the fatigue, stress and let's be honest, all consuming worry as your little one makes a beeline for your favourite vase or the dogs tail. Run a bath at the end of the day, put that nice perfume on or cook yourself something nice in between (cake is always my fave).
Light and love,
Tamika and the little man Eli xx