Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
For many years now, I have been feeling like I've been running on an energy deficit. As a mom to a toddler who still sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night and the fact that for the past two or so years, I haven't really slept through the night , I feel like I am running at an even larger deficit. When you add insomnia, poor self-care and stress, then you have what I can only describe as a recipe for disaster. But with so much riding on me performing at my best at all times, I have started looking at ways to try and figure out how to deal with my chronic fatigue.
- Cleaning up my bedtime routine: Being pregnant, moving to a new country with no friends, feeling restless and Covid, I turned to TV for solace. More explicitly, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And while I still love watching my shows and movies, I have realized that when I cut out watching TV in bed from my nighttime routine, I fall asleep faster. Also, a few months ago, I have been using blue light glasses, which have helped with headaches and for my eyes to adjust better to screens. Another bedtime hack is having good bedding, comfortable pyjamas and, of course, an good book to read before bed.
- Vitamins: I'd like to say that I am consistent with my vitamin D, which I take every morning with my cup of hot lemon water. An essential vitamin for energy and so much more, I have really enjoyed the liquid drops and find they help me feel more energized. The rest of the vitamins are still a work in progress, but I have a suspicion they too will help with some of my chronic fatigue.
- Taking naps: Now that my daughter is in creche, I value a good nap. This means napping for a good few hours or even just 30 minutes when I can. And on weekends, when I find myself particularly worn out, I try to nap when she naps which is always a good hour or two and leaves me feeling refreshed. The trick for me, however, is never to nap past 4pm, otherwise I find myself awake way past the early hours of the morning.
- Foam rolling, gentle stretching and self massage: As a fan of self-massage, I find that when I give my body some extra love, I sleep better. This can mean a one-hour foam rolling session or a quick oil gua sha massage. Or if I really want to take the self-care up a notch, then a good stretch and facial do the trick before bed.
- Balanced diet: While I will never be one to turn down some junk food. I do notice that when I eat better, I feel better. This means lots of fruits, good quality meat and lots of vegetables. Sneaking in iron through spinach in my morning smoothies also helps me feel better but also ups my iron intake, especially during my period.