I shared in my last article on “Why Am I So Tired?” some reasons behind why we find ourselves so exhausted in this society.  In this article, I am sharing what I have been learning to stop the cycle.

I am going to be honest though, I find those old habits wanting to creep in because they are behavioral addictions that keep us feeling like there is some relief, but in actuality, they are part of the problem.


The problem in a nutshell is prioritization and time management.  Imagine a waitress taking an order for a family of seven and then as they are ready to be brought out she tries to load all seven meals and the basket of rolls all on one 20″ tray and up her arm.  It is likely that not all of the food will make it safely to the table.  If it does, she will have had to carry them very carefully and her stress load ends up being much more than if she brought out a few at a time.  Imagine doing that the entire shift.

We tend to do the same thing by having too many plates to juggle, or on the flip side … too much empty space with no structure or purpose.  Therefore, we seek out comfort or boredom relief wherever we can.  Yet, the solution is not our temporary shots of comfort, but rather a more long term process of reducing and /or reorganizing our plates.


I recently watched a video by Joshua Becker on “The Power of Subtraction” and the quote he started with was “When things aren’t adding up in your life start subtracting.”  I highly recommend this video, but I am going to share with you how I applied it in my life.

I’ll label this section as “Things I Say ‘No’ To”

A. Undesignated Scrolling: I stopped opening my phone in the morning and after dinner.  I set myself up just like my children and gave myself a set screen time to upload the Amazingly Deep Thought images and captions for the day.  This literally saved me over an hour of my time a day. 

Those little stops to read up on my very limited number of people I follow were really adding up.  I had to accept that I just couldn’t keep up with it all.  In fact, I really didn’t have time to keep up with more than two or three a day.

This came at a personal cost.  I started feeling guilty.  I felt like, “Here I am on Instagram posting things to be an encouragement, and I am not even taking the time to look at what others are posting.  How selfish is that?”  But the fact is that I need to look my children in the eyes.  I need to not be irritable because I feel rushed and interrupted.

So, I designated scrolling to about 15 – 30 minutes a day during my coffee break after lunch.

B. Sports: Now, this one is a tough one and I am not saying it is permanent, but until I figure out a better way, we just don’t do after school sports.  I have thought about this one a lot.  This is the first year where all of my children can read on their own well. (My youngest is seven.) 

As of now, our afternoons have consisted of Duo Lingo (foreign languages), 2 hours of piano practice (30 minutes times 4 kids), teaching a child Quickbooks, a few mental breaks, laundry and dinner prep. I would literally have to get rid of all of that for 3 months a year to add in sports.

Would that mean summer school?  Do you see what I mean?  You HAVE to take something away to add something new.  This is why it is so important to know your family’s priorities.

C. Social Activities:  I was talking to a young mom the other day and she said she started homeschooling her five year old (and she has a newborn and toddler as well).  She said that she realized that she had to start saying “no” to going out with other young moms for coffee at the park a few days a week.

This is probably something you are already familiar with, but a lack of a social life is a real thing as an adult.  We just don’t do social things on the weekdays and we REALLY try to not schedule anything on Saturdays.  If we are flexible on those things, they are almost exclusively for church, youth activities.

That being said, because we say “no” a lot, we also make a priority one Friday a month to invite over a family from church.

What this creates is a time to rest and recuperate after dinner during the week.  This has been invaluable.  I know that people sometimes see those few hours after dinner as “a mother’s work is never done,” but I make sure my housework is done so that I can enjoy my children with my husband.  Even if that is just sitting in the back yard or watching an hour of family friendly TV shows.  We rest.


In “Create a Better Brain through Neuroplasticity”  by Debi Pearl, she has a whole section on addictions.  I identified with the section on behavioral addictions.  “Behavioral addiction, sometimes called ‘process addiction,’ refers to a person becoming addicted to certain activities through a process of repeated participation.  These might include such things as shopping, playing video games, pornography, exercise, gambling, eating, and even texting.”

It speaks of people in perpetual states of sadness or stress are overrun by cortisol and are not producing enough serotonin, oxytocin, or dopamine.  “The chemical imbalance happens like this: by our addictions, we artificially trick the brain into producing more dopamine.”  “The brain actually ceases to be able to maintain equilibrium without the excessive amount of stimulus input.  Our actions, thought, and desires actually change the brain’s chemical balance just like hard drugs do.”

The problem this creates is that our brains never rest.  We feel the need for the dopamine and we go to our repeated behavior and our brain begins ingesting the stimuli and an over stimulation cycle of our brain continues.  What our brain really needs isn’t the dopamine shot.  What it really needs is to process its data and shut some things down.

I compare this to a web browser that has fifteen tabs up.  The computer processer is running and running and the computer is getting bogged down.  What it needs is for you to review each tab, close them down one by one and then to literally shut off the computer to restart it later.  

I’ll label this section “What I Said ‘Yes’ To

A. Mid-day Resets: I started scheduling in times of transition throughout my day to do just that.  During my lunch break, I eat my food and scroll my phone for 15 or so minutes and then I have the kids do something safe and I drink a coffee, take a walk or ride a bike somewhere quiet for up to 30 minutes.  It is then that I review the events of the morning (often with my “To Do” list) and I shut down that section of the day.  Then I review what I need to do in the next few hours and pray for God’s leading and blessing. 

I schedule another one in around 2:30 after science, history and giving a piano lesson.  I call it “Snack and Water Break.”  Our brains need water.  I appreciate a bit of fruit and yogurt, and then I just stare and process.  It has been healing.

I schedule a final one in around 5:00 right before I make dinner.  By this time, all of our stuff has been completed.  I just need everyone to clean up.  I eat some oats & 1/4 cup Daisy cottage cheese and drink some water and I am rested before I begin the process of dinner prep.  I do this because I am a bit edgy if I get hangry.  LOL. 

But these scheduled breaks equal about one hour (outside of lunch) and that was the hour I gave up of scrolling.  I chose rest instead.  I feel like we know we need rest, but sometimes would rather grab another cup of coffee rather than taking a nap.  This goes back to the principle of “The Power of Subtraction” and as The Minimal Mom calls it in this video “Mental Minimalism.”

B. A Morning Prayer Walk: I try to kill four birds with one stone in this step.  Last year, I read the benefits of being outside 2 hours a week.  I could honestly say I was barely outside 30 minutes a week, but I started bundling up (in the cold weather) and walking 20 minutes a day around my subdivision.  It was after this that I learned the power of a 20 minute walk a day.

Then as I was trying to get into a better sleep cycle (so hard for a wired brain like mine), I heard about the importance of your body being in sync with the sunrise and sunset and getting outside before 10AM.

As I have always tried to set aside time for personal prayer each day, it made sense for me to pray as I walked.  This honestly has become the most looked forward to part of my day.  I feel like “Enoch” walking with the Lord. 

C. Nutrition: Our brains need fats and magnesium.  We need vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin K2 to keep our bones strong.  Our guts need good bacteria to keep our immune system healthy.  Our entire body needs water.  Our blood (especially women’s) needs iron.  This is a big deal.  If you are continually exhausted, please take some time to see if you are deficient in any nutrients.  When counseling women, it is the very first thing I try to look at.  It links up with thyroid disorders, auto immune disease, anxiety and depression.

I love the study of nutrition and it’s effect on our mental health, but for the sake of time, I will just say that I make it a priority.

On a side note, one of my pet peeves with cooking shows is that they give your recipes that you couldn’t really eat very often.  They are more like special occasions type of foods or VERY expensive meats with gourmet vegetables.  It just isn’t practical.  When I was first learning how to cook nourishing meals for our family, finding an actual meal plan of a variety of dinners and lunches that were just family meals that everyone liked took several years to develop.

So, when I decided to make a Family Cookbook for my kids as they leave home in a few years, I thought I would share them with you all as well.  We have “Taco Tuesday” meals, and coming in October I will have all the soups I make. (Soup is my super power).  I will just keep adding to the recipe section of the blog here.

D. Sleep: Many women need more than 8 hours a night of sleep, but aren’t getting it.  I have taken special care to turn off any screens an hour before I intend to sleep.  I read for a while, put some earbuds in and play Alexander Scorby reading the KJV and drift off to sleep thinking of God’s word rather than the day’s events or whatever random thought may pull me away from sleep.

God says that He gives His beloved sleep.  It is a gift from Him.  Accept it.

E. Gratitude: Every morning when I wake up, I thank God for everything I can think of.  I start my morning breakfast thanking God for my home, warm coffee, tidiness and lamps to light the dark.  I take my morning walk and thank Him that I can walk, for the birds, for the sunrise, for safety.  As my children head to the kitchen, I thank Him that I can be a keeper at home and for food to cook.  I am retraining my brain in Philippians 4:8 KJV.  

So, in all of this I am giving my brain rest from continual stimulation.  I am allowing it to process and shut down.  I am giving it contentment and joy with gratitude.  This is what I believe mental health looks like and it is very much linked with brain health.  It feels like a deep breath.


I know that while I still have to work very diligently throughout the day, these things truly have made a HUGE difference.  I have spent this past bit with more joy, more peace, more patience, more eye contact with my children, more smiling at my husband and I am so glad.