For as draining as tiredness can be, there are some advantages to it. One, feeling tired can help us slow down and not be so rushed all the time. Two, feeling tired can nudge us to pay more attention to what we are thinking about so that we can strip all the idle and unhelpful thoughts out while filling up on more life-filled and goal-reaching thoughts. Three, feeling tired to make it easier to not yell (or participate in other negative and un-constructive behaviors) simply because we don’t have the energy to. Four, feeling tired can bring us to a place where we are willing to actually sit down and physically rest for once. Five, feeling tired can help us be more empathetic of other people who are chronically tired.
The drawbacks of tiredness are, of course, everything we know them to be. It’s harder to do everything we normally do at the pace we normally do it. It’s more work to feel “up” because we just don’t have the ready-to-wear enthusiasm that’s usually waiting for us when we wake up in the morning (and getting to this point in our recovery has taken us a very long time!). We now have to consciously choose positivity during the day instead of being able to just slide through the day with our positivity already intact.
But feeling tired doesn’t mean that the day has to be a waste or that we have necessarily lost any progress that we may have made on our road to a healthier and happier life (which translates beautifully into becoming a healthier and happier parent). It just means that we may have to move at a slower pace (bummer, I know) and that we may have to be more deliberate about what we think and what we choose to spend our emotional energy on and what we physically accomplish for the day. Having tired days can give us a much-needed change-of-pace and can help give us a review of the things we already know about living an intentionally effective life while also providing an interesting real-life test of our application of that knowledge.
So keep going, little by little. Remember what’s really important. Do the basics, to the extent that you can, for the day. Keep things simple. Help yourself out when you’re tired by not overloading yourself with all the peripherals that you might usually have the energy to take on. Channel what little energy you may have to work with into parenting your children well so that this day can be a successful one in the family relationships category. And make accommodations for yourself so you can get through the day in one piece—even if you’re never able to fully shake the fatigue. Stay in good relationship with your children, your spouse, and yourself. If you can do this, then nothing else really matters. Better days will come where there will be more energy at your disposal. Until then, keep keeping first things first.