Sleep deprivation is all-too-common these days, whether because of a demanding job or a new member of the family who doesn’t keep the same schedule as you (or both). My daughter didn’t sleep through the night for two and a half years, so I learned a lot about how to get things done with little sleep. If you’re feeling overworked, tired and unhappy, some of these strategies should help you fake it until you make it to a place in which you’re getting more regular sleep.

Take Care Of Yourself

It can feel impossible to do the things you need to do to take care of yourself — like eating well, working out or even just getting down time — when you’re working constantly with little sleep, but it’s essential.

The more you can do to keep yourself healthy despite your crazy schedule the better off you’ll be. When you’re eating well you’re giving yourself the fuel you need to keep your brain and body functioning.

Exercise, even if it’s just a brief walk outside or a plank or sit-up challenge, will give you a goal outside of work to reach for, not to mention the endorphin boost you get from moving your body.

Keeping up with your physical appearance is important, too. Any new mom will tell you a good hot shower can be sanity saving. It’s the same for people who are lacking sleep for other reasons.

Carve Out Time Just For You

It’s super important to have down time, no matter how small an amount. Taking a mental and a physical break from working and from the workplace is a key to happiness when you’re feeling a lot of stress from your job.

It might not be possible to get away for a full day, but even if you could carve out half an hour or an hour when your work is done to spend time on a hobby you enjoy, read a book or just do nothing, that will give your brain time to re-energize and remind you of things that are important to you outside of work.

Get Perspective

It’s important to remember your current work situation is demanding and unpleasant but also temporary. Just like all kids eventually sleep through the night, no job can stay demanding forever.

Projects come to an end; busy season does not last all year. If you can fake it until you make it to the end of whatever is causing your overwork now, you’ll be so much more grateful for the time you have when it’s over.

One strategy I like to use when I’m feeling overworked is to write out things I want to do when I have more time. It could be a trip with my family, a book I want to read or a project I want to finish. Thinking about those things and looking forward to the time when I’ll have time gives me an extra push of motivation when I feel like giving up.

Remember Why You’re Doing It

Finally, remember you chose to do this project or take this job for a reason. What’s the end goal? Whether it’s a raise, a promotion, the promise of more time off in the future or even the prestige that comes with having accomplished something major, remember why it is you’re making the sacrifices that you are.

Having a really demanding job, working all the time and not getting enough rest is really hard. Taking time to remember why you’re doing it and what’s in it for you is a great way to keep moving forward feeling sharp and productive even when all you want to do is take a nap.

Featured photo credit: amirjina via photopin via flickr.com

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