I have a confession; I’ve had writer’s block. I’m barely two months into this gig and I can’t think of anything to write. It’s had me terrified. At least, until last Friday night.
I was out to dinner with my two main men when it hit me; finally, an idea! Everyone would relate, it would be a quick read – perfect. But then our dinner came, and in between who didn’t want to eat the broccoli and why there wasn’t any ketchup, I lost the thought. That wonderful idea flew out of my mind, headed south, and would never be remembered again.
I tried so hard to replicate my thought process before the waiter arrived. But, I just couldn’t recollect what only a few minutes ago had all of my neurons firing. Do you know why? The same reason I can’t come up with anything to write. I am utterly and completely exhausted.
By no means, do I think it’s just me who suffers from fatigue. In fact, I know it’s not. Because it is one of the main conversation topics from working women, working moms, and stay-at-home moms. We are all pooped.
Answering emails late at night and first thing in the morning, work dinners three nights a week, children who think trying out life as a nocturne is a fun lifestyle change – so many different things have us forgetting our thoughts mid-sentence or doing silly things like putting the cell phone away in the freezer. I’m constantly “hiding” things on myself. I still can’t find a few gift certificates I meant to give away at Christmas.
Fatigue doesn’t just affect memory. I slur my words so much my employees probably think I’m an alcoholic. I’m not rolling Don Draper style, it’s just that my brain can’t get the words to my mouth fast enough. These days it’s worse than ever. I am not a napper. Not since UMass or pregnancy have I taken a shut-eye during the day. I just can’t. Anxiety builds about all of the things that aren’t being done because I’m curled up in bed. But, recently on a ski trip, I dropped my boys off at ski camp at 9 am, and then went back to the room and slept until 1 pm!!! The only reason I got up was because the abusive cheerleader in my head kept telling me I was a loser if I didn’t do at least one run down the mountain.
I can’t take it anymore, I’m sick and “tired” of feeling this way. While there can be serious conditions that cause fatigue, it is most likely our lifestyles. Lack of sleep, dehydration, evil alcohol and caffeine, not enough exercise, and too much sugar are some of the potential energy sapping culprits. Starting today, I am kicking off a three week “No More Sleepy Slug Challenge!” Here’s the plan:
1. Combat Lack of Sleep – Aim for an 8 hour trip to dreamland. That means going to bed at 10, even if though you still haven’t seen the latest episode of your favorite show. I want to watch the Walking Dead, not look like them. Try to quit screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime, this will supposedly make falling asleep easier.
2. Limit Alcohol Intake – Ugh, I don’t want to make this challenge impossible! So, no hard alcohol, only beer and wine, and only 2-3 days a week, with no more than 2 glasses per night. (And ladies, this doesn’t mean fill the biggest glass to the brim and count it as one. I’m on to that trick, because I’ve tried to convince many a bartender of the proper pour.)
3. Reduce Caffeine Intake – Again, trying to be realistic here. Let’s confine caffeine consumption to the morning only. I currently drink seven Nespresso pods in a large thermos with delicious whipped almond milk and chocolate, and then a couple cups of tea throughout the day. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to cut it to four pods and decaf tea only. So, if you happen to see me, and I growl at you, this is why.
4. Eliminate Processed Foods and Sugar – I really don’t eat that much processed stuff. But, sugar might be a problem. So, I’ll leave the chocolate bar out of my coffee, and I’ll put the Trader Joe’s salted caramels in the back of the tallest cabinet. With my memory issues, I’ll probably forget where I put them anyhow.
5. Drink More Water – Let’s start chugging water frat boy style. My day will now begin with a glass of warm lemon water. Warm water hydrates you more quickly, as your body has less work to do to make it ready to enter the blood stream. Why lemon? Totally different post, and not sure I’m on board for all the benefits, but I do love a good ritual. After that, aim for about six 8 ounce glasses of regular water throughout the day. Coconut water also contains potassium and is a great low-sugar alternative if you get bored of the H2O. Just make sure it is all natural, and doesn’t have any additives.
6. Exercise – Here are the marching orders; four to five days of at least 20 minutes of cardio (40 if you have the time and can do it) and 20 minutes of weights. This will help our bodies become more efficient at getting oxygen to the command center. If you are starting to feel listless in the middle of the day, stand up and do some squats and take in some deep breaths of air. Maintaining an active circulation is key.
I mentioned the challenge to Kim, and she’s in! We plan to use this post to update you with how we feel, our successes, our failures, etc. If you decide to join us, use the comments section below this post. We want to hear from you! And by all means, if you can be more aggressive – no wine, no caffeine, go for it!
So, who’s with us? Three weeks and maybe we’ll feel a little better and less like lost fools on April 1st. And if not, three glasses of wine will help us to forget the entire thing.
Let’s get going girls!
UPDATE: March 18th, 2015
It’s been one week since I proposed our “No More Sleepy Slug” challenge- how is everyone feeling?
I wish I had a better report on my end. But, I’ve caught an ugly head cold, and so, since Monday I’ve had cotton brain to the max. (Waaaaaah!)
I did learn a couple of things over the past week that were enlightening. The first- I’m not an Alcoholic, but I am a chocoholic. Man, I have chocolate stashed everywhere. Open a desk drawer- chocolate! Open a purse- chocolate! Go into my closet… you get the point. So, from the sugar perspective, not doing so great. But, with everything else, I’ve (mostly) been a good girl.
The second discovery, which I realize doesn’t make me any Sherlock Holmes, but may be the key to my fatigue- when my children sleep in their own beds, I sleep much, much better!
In fact, last Friday, I was not tired once during the day. Honestly, I felt great! I felt so great I decided to go out to dinner on Friday night, which led to a major fail. Lots of delicious food at Alden & Harlow, accompanied by many tasty cocktails and crisp wine; which led to a late night, broken sleep, and major headache in the morning. So, not so good on the sleepy slug challenge, but scoring major points on the “I’m going to have fun and kick Friday night’s butt” challenge.
On Saturday, my friend LB brought over an amazing bounty of cheese from the wonderful Wasik’s in Wellesley. (Ah, how I love alliterations!) Their cheese is phenomenal. I estimate I consumed two pounds of that heavenly stuff. I don’t think that affects the challenge, but I’m feeling guilty and needed to confess.
Sunday was fine. Monday I was already starting to feel worn down from the cold. I followed the rules until the boys and I made a delicious brownie mix for desert- also supplied by LB. (Curse you LB!) I ended up eating half the tray for dinner. I’m not proud of this fact, but at least I didn’t let the children see.
So, it’s almost bedtime and I am signing off for this week’s report. I know on which issues I must improve. How about you?
BTW- If you’re looking for some great food, head to Alden & Harlow in Harvard Square. If you’re a long-time foodie, you might be sad to visit and see the restaurant has taken up post where Casablanca was. But, once you try the food and are absorbed into the ambiance, you’ll get over it. Haute Tip: their potato chips and onion dip are to die for!
UPDATE: March 25, 2015
Hello My Haute Little Slugs!
Completely kidding, you are all 100% hauties. 🙂 But, I am still feeling sluggish. I’ve decided to throw the chocolate back into my coffee. A mocha won’t kill me, and it curbs the chocolate cravings for the rest of the day. Besides, I’m using super dark chocolate. And that’s full of anti-oxidants- right?
I do officially have my children sleeping in their own room. I call this a major triumph for a number of reasons. They do eventually sneak into my room when I am sleeping. But, at least I am getting a solid five hours of sleep, before they start sleep wrestling.
I’ve kept up with the lemon water, but now I’m drinking it all day long with a ginger tea bag in it. 🙂
I really do think the key is not enough sleep. Let’s see how I feel next week. If you’re trying your own challenge at home, please let us know! What’s working for you? Any variations on the plan? We want to hear from you!
UPDATE: April 1. 2015
So, three weeks of more water and exercise; lots of lemon; less alcohol, caffeine, and sugar and I know how to beat that constant sluggish feeling- more sleep.
The lifestyle modifications made me feel healthier. But, the simple fact is, I do not sleep enough. And, I know this is the same with my friends. Mothers or not, most women do not make sleep a priority. It’s hard to put ourselves to bed! Catching up on chores, kids waking in the middle of the night, late night work emails or early morning runs, knocking off some of the mounting DVR’d shows, or finally replying to texts from our besties. I guess the one thing motivating factor for me is vanity. There’s nothing like a good night of sleep for one’s skin.
And with that thought, I’m signing off.
Sweet dreams hauties!