All of us mamas have experienced that bleary-eyed exhaustion of sleep deprivation with a brand new baby. Some of us have dealt with exhaustion from longterm sleep problems like a colicky baby or our own insomnia. Then there are those of us who have/had chronic illness or other causes of 24/7 exhaustion no matter how much sleep we get.
My own source of exhaustion turned out to be copper toxicity (who would have thought??) and I have finally gotten to the point of having normal energy levels more than half the time! That means I still have a few days a week where I’m exhausted and just keeping on top of normal household chores is overwhelming. For a long time, it seemed like nothing I did with my scant amount of energy actually made any difference. Then I threw out the “I should do these 37 things every day” list and I took each day one day at a time.
Although I try to stick close to my daily routine as much as possible, I can’t always get through it all. Rather than having a set to-do list for my exhausted days, I started asking myself the question, “What can I do that will make the most difference in our lives today?” Knowing that I could’t do everything I felt I “should” do, I accepted that I would probably only be able to do one or two things from the list, so I would always put them in the order of the greatest impact.
My list for the day would often include 3 or 4 of the following:
- Plan and cook a simple dinner
- Do one load of laundry
- Quickly wipe down the counter/sink and toilet in the bathroom
- Do a quick vacuum of the main traffic area
- Do a 10 minute tidy up session in one of the main living areas
What I did would depend on what most needed to be done that day. If I had leftovers to serve for dinner, but the bathroom was nasty and nobody had clean socks, I’d start the laundry and quickly (really, I’m not talking deep clean- just something quick like my 7-minute bathroom cleaning routine!) spruce up the bathroom.
If I didn’t have leftovers (always a sad thing! 😉 ), then I would plan an easy and nutritious dinner (snacky dinners qualify, if you keep your kitchen stocked with healthy foods like that!) and maybe tidy up or vacuum the areas that most need it.
Whether exhaustion is an occasional thing or something you live with on a daily basis, this method will help. I still use it on any of my less-than-spritely days. The main thing is that you don’t want to try to tackle a huge, random to-do list. Sure, your shoes might get perfectly organize and your books might get dusted, but those things aren’t important when you have nothing to feed your hungry kiddos at 5PM and nobody has clean underwear for the next day! Take a breath, take a quick inventory and do just the few things that will really make a difference for yourself and your family.
A great way to get a few things done with less effort is to break your top task into smaller tasks and spread them out as your able to do them. For dinner, that might mean chopping the onion and carrots for stew in the morning and putting them in a ziplock in the fridge. Early afternoon, you could pull out everything nonperishable that you need for getting the stew cooking (pot, boxes of broth, seasonings, spoon/spatula, can of tomatoes, potatoes and a knife) then late afternoon, you can brown the meat and add the rest of the ingredients. Just let it cook until dinnertime! It may sound like a lot, but each chunk of time is under 10 minutes. If that nutritious dinner is all you get done (in 3 10-minute chunks of effort) it’s a win!
When you are having a good day, then you can tackle a few of the less essential things. For today, just be thankful for the little bit you can do and remember that what you get done doesn’t determine your worth. You are loved by God and your value is not in your accomplishments. 🙂