Oh, the irony.
Just last night I was emailing Megan at SortaCrunchy my parenting story for her forthcoming book. I shared my story about my first year (or two) of parenting, in which I think I slept a cumulative 47 hours. The baby slept maybe twice that. It was hard.
As I wrote, I marveled at how I’d made it through those trying days, and I remembered what living in constant survival mode had been like. That baby boy is 8 now, and it’s been a long time since I was constantly and chronically fatigued like I was back then.
I hit send and went to bed.
But before I even managed to fall asleep, my sweet little Lucy started howling in her bedroom. This almost never happens–she’s slept through the night for years–so I went to investigate. I ended up spending most of the night sitting up with her and soothing what I think were growing pains.
I got 2 1/2 hours of sleep, not nearly enough. But–as I’d just shared with Megan–I used to do this all the time.
So I thought this would be a good time to share my favorite strategies for coping with an “off” day, a day in which you’re just trying to make it through. These are my go-to survival mode strategies:
1. Go easy on yourself. At this point, there’s no sense in second-guessing yourself or wondering what you could have done differently so that you didn’t get so tired in the first place. Just focus on today. If you want to evaluate the circumstances that turned today into a struggle for survival, wait until you’ve gotten some rest.
2. Have some coffee. Now would be an excellent time to enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage. If you don’t do caffeine, sipping a favorite drink can still give you a boost. Try to choose one that’s either very cold or very hot for maximum effect.
On sleepy days I always try to take a mini-coffee break around my personal 2:00 pm slump time.
3. Eat real food. If you’re dragging, do not try to get by on Diet Coke and Skittles. Eat real food, preferably some protein and low-glycemic carbs.
4. Avoid stressful situations when possible. This is not the day to have an unpleasant conversation, renew your driver’s license, or (if you’re me) go to Kohl’s.
5. Get some fresh air. Get outside and get some sunshine. Fresh air and natural light improve your mood and help you feel awake and alert.
6. Try some bibliotherapy. Find a constructive way to relax, like reading a great book, listening to a favorite album, or chatting with a good friend.
7. Go to bed early to maximize your chances of not spending tomorrow in survival mode, too.
How do you cope when you’re having an “off” day?
photo courtesy Melanie Burger