You know when you're on the airplane, and they tell you to put on your oxygen mask before you help those around you? The same is true when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Did you know that feeling well-rested is vital for our self-confidence and health? Our bodies are not made to run on empty, and a rested energy helps us prepare to face each day’s challenges. We need energy to complete our to-do lists, to work efficiently, and quite frankly, to be nice and play well with others!

Now, before we go any further, don't get me wrong – there are definitely seasons where we are just plain going to be tired. The new mom, the mom with the sick kiddo, and the entrepreneur up against a deadline may have to function on little-to-no sleep for a season. But the normal working mom and busy wife shouldn't feel exhausted all the time.

So if you've been in a constant state of three-cups-of-coffee and I'm-tired-all-the-time, let's take a few minutes to do a quick “self-check” and find out what's going on! Being tired at the end of the day is normal. Being exhausted all day long and running on empty is not.

Are You Getting Enough Rest?

I know this sounds like a “duh” question, but lack of sleep truly is the number one reason for exhaustion. Now I'm not just talking about quantity of sleep {7-9 hours}, but more importantly, what's the quality of your sleep? A good sleep routine starts with a good bedtime routine, which helps our minds know that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Taking a warm bath, reading, and dimming the lights are all ways we signal our bodies that it is time for rest. Going to bed at the same time each night, keeping the temperature low, and turning off electronics are also important to signaling our bodies that it's time to relax. Action item: Before you go to bed tonight, take a quick inventory of your room and black out those pesky lights that are keeping you up.

What's on Your Plate?

What you eat can affect how well your body rests at night. {Hello caffeine, sugar, greasy foods – I'm looking at you!} Seriously, though – how are your eating habits? Too much sugar from overly processed, high-carb foods can wreak havoc on your body, leaving you tired and sluggish {and bloated!} during the day. Caffeine too close to bedtime {i.e. after 3 PM} can also keep you awake at night.

Eating a wide variety of healthy foods allows your body and brain to regulate the hormones in your body {think of hormones these like your body's software system}, including the ones that help you relax. Before bedtime, reach for foods containing the amino acid tryptophan {foods like poultry, meat, fish, and eggs}. This amino acid allows the body to produce serotonin, which brings feelings of calmness {perfect for someone struggling to rest!} Action item: take an inventory of what you're eating and make some of those tough changes!

How’s Your Prayer Life?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…. I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” {Matthew 11:28-29}. When our souls are burdened, we feel exhausted. The creator of the universe tells us that we can find rest in Him. I don't know about you, but if I'm being completely transparent, I often miss the mark on this one. I try to do it all myself, and carry the burden on my own. But the Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” {1 Peter 5:7} “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need” {Philippians 4:6}. He created you – He wants to hear from you – and He can do anything! What freedom there is in knowing that no matter what I'm going through, He understands! Action item: Pray about it!

Are You Stressed?

Not only does stress wreak some serious havoc on your body {inflammation, increased cortisol production, etc} but stress can also rob you of sleep. Action item: try relaxation techniques like praying, journaling, brain dumping, taking a long walk/run, or deep breathing. A clear mind will help ease stress and help you get a good night’s rest.

Is There More?

Sometimes, our exhaustion is caused by a legitimate medical reason {mono, low thyroid, adrenal fatigue, first trimester, etc}. Don't put off going to the doctor who can help you to dig deeper to rule out more serious causes of fatigue. Action item: if everything else seems normal, make an appointment to see your doctor.

This life is too short to live it exhausted! #fitfluential

This life is too short to live it exhausted. Yes, I'm busy, and yes, I'm tired at the end of the day, but tired and exhausted are different. Exhaustion can rob you of living life to the fullest. It can be overwhelming, frightening, and {obviously} exhausting!

I would love to hear from you! Are you tired all the time? What do you do to make sure that you're getting enough rest?