After having our little ones, we know that consciously moving our bodies not only gets those good endorphins flowing, but, with consistency, leads to increased strength resulting, feelings of vitality, wellbeing and confidence.
However, when it comes to our workout mojo, some days we feel like we could go hard and other days we literally drag ourselves to our mat / gym / class.
Have you noticed how much your energy levels can fluctuate throughout the day, the week and the month?
Why is this? Here are 6 reasons to consider:
- Work-Life Balance
A term that gets thrown around so much, but the reality is, being a working mum can be super challenging, even when you love the work you do.
There is always a battle between feeling mum guilt when work demands your time, and then the guilt of not being a good enough employee or business owner when focusing on your children.
When you’re constantly feeling guilty and trying to be the perfect mother and the perfect career woman you are always going to feel stressed and overwhelmed……..which makes you tired.
- The Motherhood Mental Load
Then let’s add the mental load of motherhood. The whole bundle of details you manage and decisions you make throughout the day in relation to your family, a household, your relationships, and your work.
It’s just a fact – mothers carry most of the mental load. No matter how amazing our partners are, for many of us, this falls on our shoulders. And, yep, it can be exhausting!
In relation to both the work-life balance and the mental load, being aware of your boundaries in both your personal life and work life is incredibly important.
Having tools in your toolbox, such as exercise, mindfulness practice, journaling or any activity that enables you to calm your nervous system and brings you joy, are part of the solution. A little self-care time is incredibly important for your wellbeing and supports your energy levels.
- Menstrual Cycle
Do you know where you are in your menstrual cycle?
In the 3 to 5 days before the first day of our bleed, our hormones (estrogen and progesterone) drop to their lowest levels. Estrogen has a positive impact on mood, energy, and strength. So, when estrogen drops so does your mood and energy.
Further, when progesterone is low it can affect your ability to fall asleep and disrupt your ability to stay asleep. This results in some women feeling more fatigued or lacking in energy.
In the lead up to your bleed, pulling back on the intensity of your workouts will definitely enable you to keep moving, prevent injury and manage your energy levels.
- Sugar, Caffeine & Alcohol
Have you heard this popular phrase?
“Motherhood – Powered by love. Fuelled by coffee. Sustained by wine”
And, of course, what sleep-deprived, energy-sapped mum doesn’t get those sugar cravings, especially mid-afternoon.
However, sugar, caffeine and alcohol are 3 substances that are actually doing you more harm than good when it comes to managing your energy.
Yes, a sugary treat will initially give you a surge of energy, but it will be short-lived.
Why? The sugar gets quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and increases your blood sugar levels, so yes, you will feel a boost in your energy. However, it will be short lived as the body wants to maintain a balance, so it will release a whole lot of insulin to manage your blood sugar level resulting in an energy dip and feelings of fatigue.
So, how can you manage sugar spikes, and subsequent dips?
Eat whole foods, ensuring you’re having a combination of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. So, Greek yoghurt with nuts, vegetables with hummus, scrambled eggs & avocado, smoothies with a protein supplement etc.
And I get it – don’t ask you to give up your daily caffeine!
But caffeine is a stimulant, therefore making us feel more awake and alert, we need more and more to get the same effect over time. Excessive caffeine intake can leave us feeling jittery, unfocused and can lead to feeling anxious. Plus, caffeine can last in our system for 12 hours, so if we drink it too late in the day, it impacts on the quality of our precious, vital, restorative, energy giving, sleep.
Then there’s that glass of wine at the end of day. Yep, initially it makes you feel a bit more relaxed or happier. But alcohol can seriously disrupt your sleep by interfering with your body’s chemical processes needed for sound sleep. And it causes brain fog, weakens your immune system, and increases feelings of anxiety, worry and depressed mood. All which affect your energy levels and motivation to get moving.
- Skipping Breakfast
I get it, sometimes you don’t feel like eating or struggle with time to eat in the morning. However, a cup of coffee and a piece of toast is not going to support managing your blood sugar levels, sustain you nor give you the energy you need for everyday activities, let alone getting the most out of your workout.
As discussed above, when it comes to managing your sugar levels and therefore your energy levels, ensure that when you do eat in the morning you consume whole foods, consisting of a combination of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.
Can’t stomach food in the morning? Make it a liquid meal and grab a smoothie! That’s how I start my day (the coffee comes later!)
- Are You Dehydrated?
The number of mums who do not drink enough water is ridiculous!
The human body is made up of approximately 60% water which plays a crucial role in how our body functions.
When we are dehydrated, we become fatigued because there is a drop in our blood pressure which occurs due to alack of fluid in the blood. Subsequently, this causes your heart rate to increase and blood flow to the brain, other important organs, and your muscles, slows down. This means they will not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need, which all contributes to making you feel more tired.
We all need a minimum amount of fluid every day, and then depending on other factors, such as whether you are nursing, intensity of your exercise, the temperature of the environment you are in and several other factors, determines how much you require each day.
It is so important that to support your energy levels you remain hydrated, by consuming water and water containing fruits and vegetables frequently during the day.
When you are depleted and lacking energy, resulting in not only you not being able to look after yourself but care for your loved ones, everyone suffers. So, ensuring you are nourished, hydrated, and managing your emotional and mental well-being will ensure that you thrive as the woman you are AND the mother you have become!