Being tired is the enemy of the modern mother …
And yet …
It’s the most common complaint about being a mother in my work as a family wellness coach.
Do you ever stop to think about WHY you are so tired?
Unquestionably, lack of sleep absolutely does contribute to a tired mama, but what if your kids sleep well most of the time and you are STILL tired?
Or, what if you can’t get the sleep you really need because you are too busy staying awake — worrying about a clean house, deadlines, running errands?
For this reason, I’ve been researching and studying the WHY behind the exhaustion in mothers around the world.
One of the bigs reason modern moms are so tired all the time — even when they get enough sleep — is because they live in a state of worry and anxiety.
Thinking too much is tiring …
Over-thinking is truly exhausting.
A couple years ago, I wrote the following story for a guest post on another site that pretty much summed up a lot of my early motherhood worry story:
“Wow, they’re sleeping in today.
Oh, goodness, the whole day will be ruined because they’re sleeping late.
They’re crying; they’re hungry.
No, they’re not hungry.
Yes, they are hungry.
Must fix something healthy.
Nothing easy is healthy.
Who am I kidding? They won’t eat anything healthy.
I want them to eat well.
Is it wrong to give them all sweets for breakfast?
Yes, it’s wrong.
This was a conversation I had had with myself when my twin daughters were just toddlers.
And, yes, it was exhausting.
I wasn’t alone. And you’re not alone, either.
Worrying is what makes us conscious, caring mothers.
But What is All this Worrying Doing to Us, Really?
I have always been an over-thinker and a worrier by nature. It’s a family genetic thing. In fact, many of the women in my programs fully admit to being the same. My tribe found me because we are much the same in many ways.
Even now, if I’m not really careful, I’ll worry about everything, including the fact that I worry too much. While my daughters are no longer toddlers, they are tweens. Need I say more?
I accept my worrying nature as my genetic makeup and rather than criticize myself, I work desperately to keep my worries under control by learning practicing the art of letting go and trusting the process of raising children, being a mother and being human.
But here’s what I know …
The only way to feel less tired in my day is to be present and awake — and less in my head thinking.
- Worrying robs us of our joy.
- Worrying robs us of our time.
- Worrying robs us of our ability to stay present.
Modern mothers are filled with worry – about what we are feeding our children, how we are raising them in this crazy world, what we’re not doing and could be doing better.
But what is all this worrying doing to us?
It’s leaving us just plain exhausted.
Too tired for the fun stuff. Too tired for living and having fun.
Granted, there are really good reasons we worry — to keep us safe and make sure we’re doing things that need to be done. I’d be more concerned about someone who never worries than someone who worries too much, actually.
But there is absolutely no denying the fact that too much worrying zaps our energy.
How to Stop Worrying So Much
Imagine a whole day spent without a single worry.
You didn’t worry that you left one of your appliances on … or that your child didn’t eat healthy enough … or that your partner left work on time.
Of course, this is a fantasy. We’re always going to have worries.
In fact, my daughters are seriously big worriers, too, and a year ago I realized their worries were only adding to my own.
I had to get our worries under control. It was crucial for our peaceful, playful family life.
So what did I do?
I created a system for worrying.
We established daily Worry Time.
Setting up a designated time to worry — for my daughters it’s in the evening before bed — has truly changed how my girls face their own anxieties.
I’ll simply ask them: “Do you have any worries?”
And they respond.
We discuss, process and create action plans around each of the worries.
And then it’s over. We let them go.
In the past, before worry time, worries just took over our days. Now when a worry comes up in the middle of the day, I’ll say — it’s not worry time. We’ll talk about it at worry time.
And, here’s the thing. It works.
In fact, there’s science to prove that creating a dedicated worry time does work.
Implement A Worry Time System for Yourself
It’s true that dedicated worry time works really well for adults as well.
For myself, I have begun a worry-free work zone. As a result, I am not allowed to worry about my kids when they are at school and I am working. This has greatly improved my own creative energy and freed up so much time I had been losing to worrying.
In order to start this system, create a dedicated worry time that includes a four-step process, according to researchers at Penn State as reported by LiveScience about a study that asserts that we can reduce our worries by creating a time and space to deal with them.
The 4-Step process includes the following:
- Catch and Stop yourself From Worrying.
- Set aside a time and place to return to this worry.
- Put that worry aside until the dedicated worry time.
- Stay true to your word to focus on the worry later.
Step No. 4 is the crucial step in my own research and work with highly sensitive moms. When we skip over tackling the worry it just pops up again — another day or another week or another month.
To help you with Step 4, I’m sharing my Worry to Warrior Action Plan that includes a worry list printable and an easy system you can use to process your worries effectively. Get access to your Worry to Warrior Plan below.
It’s important to remember that your worry time is the ONLY time you can worry.
Once you start making exceptions in using this system of reducing worry it simply will not work.
Consequently, when you do stick to your worry free time then the rest of your day is full of ease and you will be much more motivated and productive — and present.
Wouldn’t that be blissful?
Grab the Worry to Warrior Action Plan below.
About the Author
Shawn Fink is an author and family wellness coach for mothers around the world who long to be more present, more peaceful and more playful at home and in their life. She is the author of two books, including The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow. Her work has been featured internationally including in Mind Body Green, The Huffington Post, Mamalode and The Shriver Report. Get more wisdom via email by signing up below.