Tips for Coping When You’re Running on Empty

Running on Empty

I haven’t slept in what seems like forever.  My kids have been sick and awake at all hours and my husband works nights.  Aside from having a fabulous mother-in-law who is taking good care of me, here are a few things I do to feel a little more sane when I’m running on empty.

Shower/Bathe – When I’m pooped, it can be tempting to skip the shower but being nasty ain’t gonna make me feel better.  If I’m covered in my own filth, I’m going to feel gross which is not what I need when I’m already dragging. So I hop in a hot shower and clean up.  Even if I skip the shaving and exfoliating, I know I’m at least clean.

Comfy/ Cute – Just because I’m not in my Sunday best, I try to wear comfortable clothes that keep me warm but also don’t look sloppy.  My faves are my yoga pants with a cute tank top and bright colored (not oversized) sweater or sweat shirt.  Complete with a bright pair of slipper socks and I’m cute and comfy to stay home and still decent enough to make a drug store run.

Makeup and Hair – No one feels like getting gorgeous when they’re wiped out.  So here’s what I do.  I do SOMETHING with my hair, even if it’s just a cute pony tail and I generally straighten and style my bangs.  That takes no time at all. I add a colored headband to my pony to add a little somethin somethin.  Then I choose the two most important makeup items to me – usually foundation and a little mascara.  That way, every time I walk by a mirror, I don’t feel like I’m in a horror movie.  Don’t overdo but don’t under-do either.

Sippy Sippy – I keep a cup of ice water going all day and sip on it often.  It keeps me hydrated and the cold perks me up a bit.

Get a Few Things Done – I feel better if I do a little, even when I’m the walking dead.  I’ll hang some laundry, do a few dishes or wipe the counters.  I like to pick up a few things so the house looks decent. That way, I don’t feel like I’m living in my own filth. Again, don’t overdo but don’t under-do.

Nap – I like to squeeze in some time to rest.  While my kids sleep, I like to sit and watch a movie or nap a bit myself.  I shoot for an hour long nap.  I don’t want to oversleep but the rest allows me to make it through the rest of the day.

Take a Pill – Being tired can cause aches and pains.  If you have a headache, pop an Advil.  You might be surprised at how much more functional you’ll feel if your body isn’t hurting.

All of us go through periods of insomnia or sleeplessness for whatever reason.  I guess we just have to learn to cope during those times.  How do you deal with exhaustion?  What perks you up after an all-nighter (or two . . . or three)?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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9 thoughts on “Tips for Coping When You’re Running on Empty

  1. Great ideas! I also find it helpful to quote a line from one of my favorite books, “I think I can…I think I can….I think I can….” Ha!

  2. {Melinda} You are so right on with all of these! I had some oral surgery this week and was down and out for a couple of days. The first day, I could barely get out of bed. But the second day, I put on something comfortable (but not entirely hideous), put on a little makeup and started to move around and do a few things, even though I was still feeling a little puny. It made such a difference!

    I love your blog … so many practical, everyday hints. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Melinda.

      Ashley wrote that one. She’s had a tough couple of weeks with the kids being sick and she was sick, too. So she’s actually lived those steps recently.

      Oral surgery. Yuck. I’m a real baby when it comes to the dentist. I bet you’re glad it’s over.

  3. My kids are a year and a half apart in age, now 6 and 7 1/2, but when they were both under 2 I was perpetually exhausted (which wasn’t helped by the fact my younger child didn’t sleep through the night until he was a year old!). My husband helped a lot, but we were living in Russia at the time so we had no family anywhere nearby and also had no babysitter, ever. When my husband traveled for work, usually for 10 days at a time, I really had to pace myself with my kids, like running a marathon (which I never have done but can only imagine a similar level of exhaustion!). I had to make sure I went to bed on time, because I knew my early-bird husband was not there to get up with the kids at 5:30 am. I had to grab rest any time I could, even though my daughter had already given up naps by then. Half an hour of Dora never hurt anybody, so I made sure to lie on the couch while they watched a video. Also, I tried to schedule a slow day after a busy day. For example if we had a playdate or I had an outing or appointment with them, I tried to have nothing scheduled the next day. Busy days in a row quickly wore me out!

    I really had to prioritize my energy. I had such a limited amount of energy, I just didn’t have it in me to clean the house much so instead I focused the energy I had on making sure we ate good healthy food. I had to eat well to try to avoid getting ill, which would make everything that much harder!

    Also emotionally I had to pace myself. I had to let go all the little annoyances I could. I couldn’t get upset over my toddler’s tantrums or my baby’s crying. I had to stay on as even a keel as I could to get through that time. Which was not easy!

    I’m very sensitive to noise, and with two kids under two I frequently suffered from over-stimulation. When the kids finally (!!!) went to bed for the night, I enjoyed silence. I kept everything as quiet and calm as I could, to soothe my frazzled nerves.

    My mantra when I was really exhausted with no relief in sight was pace myself, stay healthy, grab rest when I could, and stay calm!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Laurie. Those are really practical, good ideas for coping. The situation you were in is definitely tough! I’m impressed with your strategies.

  4. Pingback: My Favorite High-Protein Lunch « Cocina Marie
    1. I journal in my planner – at least, write down things that happen. If I need to do problem solving, I do it on a separate piece of paper. Writing things down helps me think them through and come up with a solution. Journaling is a very good thing for a lot of reasons.

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