Parenting is a demanding job. It takes a lot of energy to care for tiny humans, and unlike other jobs, being a parent isn’t confined within certain working hours. So what can exhausted moms and dads do to replenish their energy and stave off parental burnout?
For many people in need of a pick-me-up throughout the day, coffee — or some other caffeinated beverage — is the go-to solution. But while energy drinks and shots often provide a speedy jolt of energy from sugar and caffeine, that energy doesn’t usually last long before it causes you to crash. Instead of reaching for yet another cup of joe, exhausted moms and dads will likely get better, longer-lasting results from more natural sources of energy.
While the best way to recharge is to get more sleep, that’s easier said than done when you have a baby or young child’s sleep schedule to reckon with. Having natural, consumable energy sources at hand can help keep some of the exhaustion at bay.
Read on to learn more about natural energy sources that can re-energize exhausted moms and dads and help prevent parental burnout.
What Is Parental Burnout?
Like other forms of burnout, parental burnout is caused by prolonged stress, overwhelming expectations, and insufficient rest. It often involves not only physical exhaustion but also mental and emotional symptoms as well, including feelings of despair or hopelessness, lack of motivation, irritability, disrupted or changed sleeping and eating habits, and sometimes even a turn to addictive substances as a coping mechanism.
In many cases, burned out, overly-exhausted moms and dads feel as though they’ve poured everything they have into parenting, leaving no time, energy, or attention for themselves. They’re often in need of quick, simple solutions to keep up their energy and make it through the day.
What Are Natural Energy Sources?
Exhausted moms and dads may not have much time to spend planning out meals, but making just a few healthy, energizing choices for your diet can make a big difference. For starters, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough macronutrients. These are nutrients that our bodies need in large quantities to sustain us: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
However, it’s just as important that these macronutrients come from healthy sources. While healthy sources of carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables give you energy, unhealthy ones like processed foods and refined sugar cause that midday crash. For exhausted moms and dads, reaching for a candy bar might seem like the easiest option, but it’s not one that will help in the long run.
Instead, reach for a handful of nuts. Healthy fats — typically found in plants like avocado and nuts — help energize you, while unhealthy, saturated fats found in various meats, dairy products, and other processed foods can cause unhealthy cholesterol levels and inflammation.
7 Natural Energy Sources for Exhausted Moms & Dads
The last thing exhausted moms and dads need is to have to spend extra time — and precious energy — preparing food just to make it through the day. Here are a few ideas of healthy foods to keep on hand that are both simple to prepare and nutritious, natural sources of energy:
- Water: Believe it or not, just staying hydrated can help keep your energy levels up. Additionally, drinking water can help keep you from overindulging in caffeine or other sugary options.
- Fruits: With plenty of healthy carbs, vitamins, and other nutrients, fruits are an excellent source of energy and easy to consume in small amounts whenever you have the time for a quick snack. They’ll also help satisfy a sweet tooth if you’re tempted to munch on candy instead.
- Sweet Potatoes: Packed with carbs, protein, fiber, Vitamin A, and other nutrients, sweet potatoes offer a range of health benefits beyond just extra energy. And they tend to be cheap, making them easy for exhausted moms and dads to keep in stock, even on a tight budget.
- Oatmeal: Full of fiber and other nutrients, oatmeal is great for either a hearty breakfast or an afternoon snack to keep you feeling full and energized for several hours. Steel-cut oats are the healthiest, least-processed option, while instant oatmeal is the most processed and often contains added sugars.
- Dark Chocolate: In small quantities, dark chocolate can help boost energy levels, as it contains just a little caffeine and sugar, along with other nutrients like iron and antioxidants.
- Nuts: Nuts make for a great non-perishable snack that’s packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Eating just a handful or two at intervals throughout the day can help keep you going.
- ModBalls: Why not combine all of these nutritious energy sources into one? Made with 85 different high-energy whole foods (including all the ones listed above!), ModBalls are specially engineered to fuel exhausted moms, dads, and anyone else. These energy bites are packed with lasting fuel that comes from macros — healthy carbs, fats, and protein — not caffeine.
The more high-energy foods you can have easily accessible, the easier it will be to quickly replenish your energy and push through the challenges of parenting.
Keep Your Energy Up
While choosing high-energy foods will certainly help keep exhausted moms and dads going throughout the day, it’s still important to get as much rest as possible. For best results, combine that rest with healthy, energizing foods, and remember to be gentle with yourself: You’re doing an important and extremely difficult job.
Want more easy-to-prepare, natural energy sources? Shop ModBalls to explore our nutrient-dense energy bites.