03 Aug

by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day–not just physically, but mentally, too?

Two weeks ago when I was giving my Girl Talk in western Ontario, I had an anonymous Q&A session when women could ask questions about sex. And each time I do the event, I always get very similar questions. And TONS of them relate to “how can I want sex if I’m just so tired all the time?” I’ve tackled being too exhausted for sex recently, but I thought I’d return to it since it’s such a common question with a more practical response (rather than just some tough love!)

So today I’m going to give you a bit of a pep talk–and 10 great ideas! But first, let’s go back to basics. God designed you to be married (and He designed women to be able to manage motherhood). He also designed you to have a GREAT marriage, which includes regular sex. I know we live in a very difficult, busy culture, but the fact remains–this should not be impossible. Having energy for sex SHOULD be something that we can figure out!

And energy for sex, I think, comes in two forms: mental and physical.

The more mental energy you have to spend on tiny “emergencies” that come up through the day–what am I going to make for dinner? Where did I put my car keys? What time is that doctor’s appointment again?–the more we’re going to feel tired because we feel as if there are all of these details we have to keep straight in our head or the whole world is coming tumbling down. Those are the days when we feel as if we’re moving at 120% all day, but then you look back and you wonder what you got done at all. It’s depressing.

That’s where organization can help. If you’re organized, you don’t have to waste mental energy on little things, and you can spend the time thinking about important things–or just breathing and enjoying life around you.

Sometimes, too, we feel chronically tired because we don’t take care of our bodies, or we don’t get enough sleep. You feel like you spend your life dragging. Combine that with putting out “little emergencies”, and you have a recipe for true exhaustion at night!

So that’s the goal for today’s post–how to get more physical energy, but also how to reduce those stressful “tiny emergencies” that leave us feeling worn out! The best strategy to make this post work for you is to pick 2 or maybe 3 tasks that you’re changes that you’re going to implement–the 2 or 3 that would make the most difference NOW. Don’t try to change everything; pick a few and make real changes instead.

How to Get More Physical Energy for Sex

1. Go to Bed at a Decent Time

It used to be that adults had a bedtime, too. Now most couples don’t go to bed together, and they stay up on video games, the internet, or another screen until they fall asleep. When you use a screen at night, your sleep is poor. And if you’re waiting to go to bed until you’re drifting off, of course you’ll be tired! If you need eight hours of sleep, calculate backwards 8 1/2 hours from when you get up. That gives you time to relax, be romantic, and drift off. And then go to bed!

2. Teach your kids to sleep

We love our kids. We don’t want them to cry. We want to comfort them. But here’s the thing: you can actually TRAIN your children to need you to go to sleep. Teaching a child to sleep on their own is a tremendous gift. It means when they’re tired, they can drift off. They don’t need something else (which is stressful!). I see so many parents who go through long routines with toddlers and elementary aged kids who just refuse to go to bed at night, and that completely wears out a mom. And kids who get up in the middle of the night? You need your sleep, too!

So a few quick things: kids sleep better at night if there are schedules during the day. Have small kids nap at the same time. Have them eat at the same time. Snacking throughout the day doesn’t lend itself to as good a sleep as eating good meals with some healthy snacks during the day. And a good bedtime routine, where you have a relaxing warm bath, read stories, cuddle, kiss, and sing, helps kids quiet down, relax, and get ready to drift off. If your kids aren’t sleeping well, talk to a mom who is about 10 years older than you who has kids who slept–and asked how she did it. Most moms who have kids who sleep would love to help impart their knowledge–because watching kids not sleep and watching moms get so warn out is so discouraging, when you know that sleep is possible!

3. Eat well–and that means healthy meals.

If you put junk into your body, your body won’t rest well. When we made the switch to eating real food (which simply means good food that you cook at home, rather than packaged food), we felt better, and I went from needing 9 hours of sleep at night to needing about 7 1/2–and still feeling rested!

4. Go outside during the day

I went for a walk in the woods near our house this weekend!

I find getting outdoors helps me feel invigorated. So I try to have a walk everyday–and I’m Canadian! I do it even in the winter, even if it’s just going around the block. Fresh air helps the energy levels! (And going for a walk together after dinner helps you talk more, too!)

5. Drink water

It’s such a little thing–but do we do it? One woman said,

I need to drink enough water throughout the day. If I’m dehydrated I’m tired and irritable.

Yep. Me too. And if I get a headache, 9 times out of 10 it’s because I haven’t had enough to drink that day. I find I’m worse when I’m outside of the house during the day, too. So buy great water bottles to take with you everywhere you go! It’s a little thing, but it matters.

6. Know what you’re going to have for dinner the night before

How to Get More Mental Energy for Sex

Avoid those big “tiny emergencies” by having a plan. It doesn’t take much. And going through recipes and finding a new meal planning routine can be fun! Check out the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle for some awesome resources and ideas.

7. Do your “end of day” things before the “end of day”!

Here’s a great tip from someone on Facebook:

Try to get your ‘end of the day’ work done early. If I wait until the kids are in bed to clean up after dinner, make lunches, etc. I am too exhausted. But if I can keep on top off these throughout the day, I have much more energy for extra curricular activities.

Great thoughts! Another way of thinking about this is “only touch each thing once”. Instead of carrying a dirty dish to the counter and leaving it there, and then having to go back to that dish later, put it in the dishwasher right away, or wash the dishes right away. It doesn’t take that long, and if you do it earlier, then you can start to relax and unwind before bed, rather than needing a burst of energy to do things that you don’t really want to do anyway.

8. Take some breaks

There’s nothing more exhausting than being on the go all day, even if it’s just with little things. A number of Facebook readers mentioned the importance of breaks;

If I’ve got a full day going, I try and intentionally take a few five minute breaks throughout the day. Whether reading a couple pages of a book or doing a couple rows of knitting, it’s amazing how a small, quick activity just for you can give you a ton of extra energy!

Another woman wrote:

Try short do-absolutely-nothing breaks. It’s how I survived film school. I would go to my room, set my alarm for 10 or 15 minutes, lay on my bed and do absolutely nothing. Try to not even think. The alarm is so I didn’t even have to keep track of time. I found even this short break would give me the energy I needed for the rest of the day.

9. Limit Screen Time

If I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen or on my phone, it feels like it zaps my energy level. And so many TV shows are depressing, anyway! Try not to watch screens right before bed. Play a board game as a couple instead! And doing more things that feed your soul and give you energy (like hobbies, devotions, talking) rather than just vegging in front of a screen helps you have more energy.

10. Lower Your Expectations About What Needs to Get Done

Lower your expectations on what you feel you HAVE to do, HAVE to get done! If you are saying “no” to the time it takes for sex, it’s because you took the time to say “yes” to something else…was that something else worth it? That’s been a long time lesson learned for me, especially when my kids were younger and more physically exhausting to take care of. But I realized I didn’t want to say yes to a clean home if it meant later having to say no to time with my husband. So my house didn’t stay as clean…dishes didn’t always get done right after a meal – in fact, sometimes they got done while I was making the next meal. 1f612 - 10 Must-Dos to Give You More Energy (for Romance!) at the End of the Day Not saying I recommend that, per se, but it was only for a season. (Now my kids are all old enough and take turns with the dishes lol!)  So maybe think thru your day and talk to your spouse about it, see if there are things you could both say no to so that at the end of the day, you can say yes!

Reposted and used with permission from Sheila Wray Gregoire

Check out To Love Honor and Vacuum for more great articles found HERE

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