There’s nothing quite like the energy-sapping, bone-jarring, soul-depleting feeling caused by baby-induced sleep deprivation.
Unlike the probable hangovers of your pre-mama days when recovery from a late night involved sleeping in and a greasy breakfast or travel-fatigue eased with a snooze and the excitement of your destination, the exhaustion mamas endure can seem endless and unforgiving.
Operating on “baby time” and placing the needs of your precious offspring ﬁrst leaves little time for self-care, let alone an uninterrupted stretch of quality sleep.
While nothing beats a full eight hours of Zs, there are a number of yoga inspired tools you can use to cope with fatigue, leaving you feeling refreshed and nurtured.
1. Do legs up the wall (restorative inversion).
Try this pose for a full body/mind refresh. The reversed blood-ﬂow from toes to torso particularly beneﬁts tired legs and the back is positioned nicely for rest and length.
What to do: Clear some space and sit side-on to a wall so one shoulder and hip are almost touching it. Take the opposite shoulder to the ﬂoor, roll onto your back and swing your extended legs up the wall.
Rest your head on a pillow for extra comfort, and cover your eyes with a cloth or eye pillow if you like. Stay for three minutes or longer.
2. Revive your Eyes.
If you feel your eyeballs haven’t seen enough of of your inner lids lately, an eye pillow should feel heavenly. Store bought eye pillows are usually ﬁlled with ﬂax seeds and perhaps lavender for a wonderful aroma, but you can easily improvise by ﬁlling a sock with dry rice or lentils and tying off the end.
The gentle weight of the pillow over the eyes encourages them to sink deep into their sockets. This, combined with a few minutes of sight-withdrawal mimics the sensation of sleep and is calming for the mind.
3. Sound it out.
Pranayama (yoga breathing exercises) can help boost energy levels too. A super simple technique is to take a big breath in through the nose, and exhale through the mouth with an audible, “aahhhhh.”
Try a few rounds throughout the day. Making sound is a fantastic way to soothe tension and blow the cobwebs away.
Yoga Nidra is a wonderful addition to the tired Mama toolbox. Translated as “psychic sleep,” a 30 minute session can be as refreshing as four hours of regular sleep. All you do is lie down comfortably on a mat on the ﬂoor or the bed and listen to and follow the audio instructions.
Remaining still, your awareness is guided to different body parts in a speciﬁc sequence designed to set up a circuit of energy. Some versions include imagery and breathing exercises too. Search online for a downloadable version.
When time permits, combine these tools together for a wonderfully nurturing self-care practice.
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Editor: Steph Richard
Photo: elephant digital archives