“When did life get so busy” I asked my friend over voice messenger. Ironically she and I are too busy to even hop on the phone. We live by the voice messenger on our iPhones (and on Facebook) where we can pop into our conversations midstream whenever life affords us the time. One of the many ways modern moms “survive” these days.
Part of surviving and thriving is a great self-care routine. If you don’t have one then check out our post Self-Care for Busy Moms. Here’s the thing though, it seems as though we readily accept the fact that we have a limited amount of physical energy and we need to do our best to conserve that energy through our self-care routine. But we also have a limited amount of mental energy, too.
We make thousands of choices every day. It’s estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day.
Just like physical fatigue, some say you can suffer mental fatigue. The concept is called Decision Fatigue.
Albert Einstein This isn’t really a new had multiple sets of the same clothes so he wouldn’t have to use any mental resources making a decision about what to wear. There are reports that he refused to memorize his phone number for the same reason. Perhaps he was on to something.
So how can we streamline our decisions, free up our minds, and wipe our decision fatigue and mental exhaustion? Try these 10 suggestions. Incorporating just a few of them could give you just want you need.
1. Get a full night of sleep
Nothing seems to recharge our brains, intellect, and emotions better than a good night’s sleep. A regular bedtime and wake up time can help to ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Everyone has an optimum amount of sleep. Try to get yours each night. Read our post about how your morning caffeine affects your nightly sleep session.
2. Build routines
Routines eliminate a lot of decision-making. Have a morning routine from the moment your feet hit the floor until you’re out the front door. The more decisions you can eliminate, the more mental energy you’ll have for the things that really matter.
3. Mono-task instead of multi-task
Study after study is showing that multi-tasking is simply inefficient. It takes time and energy to switch from one task to another.
4. Give yourself regular breaks
Taking regular breaks results in getting more done. Even short breaks provide a mental and physical boost. A 15-minute break every 90 to 120 minutes seems to be best for most people. Experiment with different schedules.
5. Get some exercise
Exercise clears the mind. The exertion coupled with an activity that doesn’t require a lot of thought seems to have a magical effect on our mental reserves. If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise, read our post about the exercises you can quickly do anywhere.
6. Eat wisely
Digesting food requires a lot of energy. Avoid hard-to-digest foods and heavily processed foods. In addition, foods that wreak havoc with your blood sugar should also be avoided. Food choices can significantly affect how you feel.
7. Let go of the things that don’t matter
If you have a limited amount of mental energy, it only makes sense to save it for the things that matter. Most things in life aren’t worth a lot of fuss. Save your attention for the big stuff. Let go of old family hurts, surround yourself with positive people, and choose to let the little things go.
8. Make a schedule before going to bed
When you start your day, it’s much easier and more productive if you already know what you should be doing. Before going to sleep, make a list of things to do the following day. When you wake up, you already have your game plan.
Save yourself for the critical issues. Assign smaller tasks to others. Let your son take out the trash. Have your husband help read bedtime books. Look through the gazillion things you do every day and ask yourself what you can delegate, or just stop doing altogether.
10. Monitor your self-talk
It’s easy to wear ourselves out with negative thoughts. Keep your internal dialog positive and upbeat. This matters far more than most people realize.
This juggle struggle we call motherhood can be so rewarding and yet so exhausting. Conserve and build your mental energy in every way possible so you can show up how YOU want to show up. You’ll feel and perform better as a mom, and in all facets of your life.