I have never felt so exhausted in my life.
Ah, yes. There’s exhaustion—and then there’s the extreme exhaustion of early parenthood. And being tired is only the half of it. You’re forgetful, emotional, irritable, and you feel like a zombie. And your ability to figure out ways to problem-solve your way out of this sleep deprivation labyrinth are, well, non-existent.
That’s why you need other people to help problem-solve this one for you—parents who’ve been there, not-slept-through-that, and lived to tell. Here are five quick tips from veterans of the sleep deprivation trenches.
- Keep your energy up by taking good care of your body. Feed yourself nutritious food and exercise to re-energize yourself.
- Delegate anything and everything you can. You can’t delegate breastfeeding and spending time getting to know your baby with your partner and/or your other children. Pretty much anything else can be managed by someone else.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom. That way, when you do have the opportunity to sleep, you’ll be able to drift off quickly. Your room should be cool and dark and it should be free of distractions like smartphones. You’ll be tempted to tweet rather than sleep.
- Experiment with methods of relaxation that help you to drift off to sleep until you find the one that’s right for you. (You may find that you’re wired after a day of motherhood and that you find it difficult to relax even though you’re totally exhausted.)
- Celebrate the gift of even a 15-minute nap. Rather than refusing to relax and close your eyes because your baby may need you at any time, decide that you’d rather have a short reprieve than no break at all.
Embrace the mantra of all wise mamas: this too shall pass. And it will. It’s just hard to remember that right now.