Explaining fatigue in a way my kids can understand was important to me because I wanted them to understand what they could do to help and also, to remind me to make good choices where I spend my energy.
After my most recent and worst episode of total exhaustion I was trying to eliminate the things that wasted my energy. Sometimes it was all I could do to get out of bed and brush my hair and put on clean clothes… I wanted a way to explain this abnormal fatigue to my kids without freaking them out but in a way that would help them comprehend that it was not an every day tiredness.
(by the way, the link to watch me explain this on video is here)
One day the following scenario just flowed out of my foggy brain and something clicked with my kids and they have been so understanding and helpful ever since! Here's what I told them:
Let’s say when I wake up I have 6 energy blocks (for a visual, I used their Minecraft Periodic Table Blocks)
I make breakfast and clean up the kitchen which uses up one of my energy blocks.
Then I notice that the laundry is piling up, so I do a load or two, which uses an energy block.
You guys get into an argument and I have to fuss at you and separate you for a little while which uses up, well, actually wastes an energy block.
Later, I notice that no one has done their chores so I remind everyone to catch up, but 15 minutes later you’re still playing, so I remind you again and I get frustrated that you didn’t do it the first time and thinking about what I should be doing better to be a better parent makes me feel tired and I’ve just used another energy block.
I realize I only have two energy blocks left now.
I still need to drop off some things at the post office, pick up a few groceries and while I’m out I notice I’m out of gas… so I have to take care of these things, using up an energy block.
When I get home I still have to put away the groceries and make us something to eat… So I use my last energy block.
I’m exhausted and need to just rest now because all of my energy blocks are gone.
You come in while I am sitting down to ask if I can play Settlers of Catan with you. But sadly, I have used up all my energy blocks today so I can’t play. I’m really sad about it but there’s nothing I can do. You can't spend what you don't have!
I go to bed feeling really bad that I didn’t get very much done today and I didn’t play with you either so that makes me feel even worse.
Sometimes when I go to bed feeling bad about myself I end up borrowing an energy block from tomorrow and I wake up with less energy blocks than I had the day before!
On the other hand, there are things I can do to help me get more energy blocks for tomorrow.
I can prioritize my day better.
I can take better care of myself, by eating right and taking my supplements.
I can try to get a good night's sleep and/or take a nap.
When I have extra energy we can exercise together.
There are things you can do to help me SAVE my energy blocks!!
When you do your chores without being told it reduces my stress and that saves energy.
When you get along with each other it makes me feel happy and that saves energy!
All of these things can add up and contribute to giving me more energy blocks in the future!
Can you believe that my children started “catching” me doing something that might waste an energy block and they stopped me? It has been several weeks since I gave them this mental picture and just this morning my son found me washing my kimchi jar and offered to help. My 8 year old daughter offers to go get things for me now so I can save my energy! This worked for me, you guys! I told my friend Kathleen and she suggested I share it, so here ya' go!
Laughter is the best medicine…
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands. They just don't.” ~ Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
If you can relate to chronic fatigue or other illness that wipes out your energy, or you simply want to find encouragement you might want to check out Hopelively. I hope this analogy can help someone else who is struggling! If you can relate, let me know in the comments below! Also, feel free to leave suggestions on how to save energy! (BTW – my kids DO their own laundry as soon as they can reach the knobs, before that day they help by putting things away!)
While you are here you MIGHT want to sign up for my #31habits that begins October 1, don't worry if you're late, you can still do the series no matter when you start!
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