I feel, and I think most moms agree, that I am ALWAYS tired. But today’s guest post from Sashi over at Healthy Happy Geniuses, give us some really great tips and important safety reminders for those days we just feel dangerously tired.
Yes, I know – we’re always tired. But there are those days when you are just dangerously tired, but you still have to find a way to make it through the day. Here are some tips from my experience that may help:
Do one thing at a time. Don’t multi-task! You’ll find you can’t really do more than one thing at a time right now anyway, so don’t risk making a big mistake. This is particularly important when you’re driving.
Stick with the routine. Your goal is to make it through the day. This is not the time to try a new recipe, go to a new place, or otherwise upset your fragile apple-cart of consciousness.
Drink water. This is critical, and it’s an easy one to forget. Being dehydrated will make you feel even more tired and irritable.
Eat. Low blood sugar will also make you irritable, so don’t skip meals today.
Go easy on the caffeine. Have no more than the amount of caffeine you usually have in a day. If you over do it, you will just crash in the afternoon, and it will make it harder for you to fall asleep tonight, perpetuating the sleepless cycle.
Go slow. Just accept that things will take longer to do today, and let yourself go a little slower. That may mean being late or not doing some things you originally planned.
Watch for the little mistakes. Little mistakes always precede big ones. That should put you on notice to be careful. Think of it as your early warning system. If you just knocked over that glass of water all over the table, the next thing could be a mistake behind the wheel of the car – so stop, take a breath, and pay attention.
Give yourself a buffer. Sleep deprivation can slow your reaction time as much as ten times. That means you will react more slowly when the baby reaches for that hot cup of coffee at the same time as the toddler knocks the bowl of cereal to the floor, causing you to spill hot coffee in your lap and almost drop the baby in your effort to take care of both at once. Protect yourself by keeping that coffee inaccessible to the baby even if it is in an inconvenient place for you, and wait to clean up that cereal until later.
Try not to drive. If you can possibly avoid getting behind the wheel, do it. Sleepy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.
Keep your to-do list short. Your goal is just to get through the day so you can try to get more sleep and be able to tackle tomorrow. Figure out the absolute minimum you need to get done and prioritize.
Try to nap. Even a 15-minute catnap can refresh you enough to get through. Set an alarm so you don’t go too deep.
Take the easy way out. Get take-out instead of making dinner, let the kids watch a little extra TV, and let the laundry pile up. Tomorrow is another day.
Get help. If you can hire a sitter, a housecleaner, or the high-schooler next door for the day, now’s the time to get a little help.
Get support. Call your friends and family and whine a little. A little sympathy will go a long way.
Plan ahead. If you know you will not be getting enough sleep tonight, plan ahead so you can just go on auto-pilot tomorrow. Write down everything you will be doing (e.g., what you’ll make for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack) and anything you’ll need to prepare (e.g., pack diaper bag, make shopping list).
Plan to recover. You will need to do get to bed early tonight so you don’t propagate this fatigue!
Don’t worry – you’ll make it through!