I’ve been pretty fortunate that Finners generally sleeps pretty well, and as a result, there haven’t been too many days when I’ve felt truly exhausted (although I’m choosing to ignore the current sleep regression). But, so far so good.
The days I’ve felt worst, have actually been down to my own insomnia, far from ideal when you’re the one lying awake post-feed with a snoring baby and husband on either side.
If I haven’t slept well, or following a few consecutive days of interrupted sleep, I know about it (and usually so does anyone in the nearby vicinity). Emotions are high and motivation is super low.
This is when I have a ‘bare minimum’ day.
In the past, I might have pushed through feeling anxious and low, then drunk my way to happiness in the evening. One thing pregnancy taught me was sometimes you just need to slow down, let it go, and do the bare minimum, whilst still complying with a few health non-negotiables.
So here are my non-negotiables for a 'bare minimum' day….
Caffeinate – Coffee is key so make it large and enjoy it (at this point you may even be able to pull the entire day back and crack on, but if not, read on).
Hydrate – Water maintains your energy level and ensures optimal functioning of the body (you may feel far from optimal but it will only get worse if you don’t hydrate). I down a pint first thing and then at least another with every meal.
Eat – These are the days I’m most likely to crave sugar and (whether or not I give in) the non-negotiable is that I have to have at least five (ideally pushing ten) portions of fruit and vegetables. Vitamins and minerals are essential to help get your body and mind back on track so that one bad day doesn’t spiral into a full week.
Walk – You may not feel like working out, using your brain, or interacting with others but, something you can do with minimal effort is to walk. 20 minutes of fresh air might change your whole day. Or it might not….but, at least you’ve got some steps in.
Rest – I know I need to reschedule plans when I can’t face getting ready. Sometimes you just have to let go and not feel guilty for rushing about your day as usual. Lockdown has made it perfectly acceptable to have a sofa day and particularly as a new mum, it’s totally ok to have sofa days, so ditch the guilt.
So these are what I call ‘bare minimum’ days…..achieving anything more really is a bonus.
Do the bare minimum, then focus on what feels good.
I’d love to say I always work out when I feel like this and pre-baby I probably would have pushed myself to but, now I have slightly more on my plate I often don’t. Instead, I’ll rearrange my week so that I work out when I feel more up for it which also reduces missed workout guilt because I know I’ll still do it at some point. Try to just capitalise on the days you do feel good. The last thing you want is to add workout guilt to your anxiety list.