Tired parents: 25 common mistakes that zap your energy

Exhausted? Here's how to get flagging energy levels to soar by cutting the physical and emotional clutter in your life. You'll be a happier parent (and person) for it.

10 mistakes that zap your energy
©iStockphoto.com/Valua Vitaly
1. Wardrobe confusion. Too many clothing choices can be stressful on busy mornings. Edit your wardrobe down to the items that you wear now and donate the rest to charity.

2. "Fat clothes." If you have lost weight due to healthy eating and exercising – congratulations! Don't hang on to your old wardrobe "just in case." Stay fit for life.

3. Painful shoes. Get rid of any uncomfortable shoes – except for that one pair of knock-'em-dead stilettos you need for black-tie events.

4. Soda pop. Trade in your soda pop for plain soda water with a twist of lemon. You'll still get the refreshing spritziness, but without the sugar high and resulting sugar crash.

5. Procrastination. "We add stress and lose energy when we put off doing fretful things," says Natasha Barber, a Vancouver-based clinical counsellor. "Clear your mind and move through the motions of completing the task. You'll feel lighter and energized when it is over."

6. Expired meds. Do you dread opening your medicine cabinet to a shelf of bottles that you know you can't just toss in the trash? Drop them off at a pharmacy near you for safe disposal.

7. Email clutter. Delete those piles of old emails and unsubscribe from any e-newsletters you don't actually read -- but only if they're from retailers or reputable organizations you trust. Otherwise, use the "Junk Mail" or "Mark as Spam" buttons in your email program to mark the messages as untrustworthy.

8. Diet angst. Stop stressing over calorie, fat and sodium counts. Just eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day -- raw or cooked, and as unprocessed and free of sauce as possible -- suggests Toronto-based registered nutritionist Theresa Albert. If you focus on this goal -- and attain it -- you and your kids won't have any extra room to eat less-wholesome foods.

9. Unhealthy eating.
Poor eating habits are one of the biggest energy vampires around. Improve your eating habits -- in just one easy step per week -- with Albert's book Ace Your Health: 52 Ways To Stack Your Deck (McClelland and Stewart, 2010). This card-format book itemizes the most important steps you can take to improve your health and energy levels, with crazy-good recipes to boot.

10. Bad volunteer commitments. Studies show that volunteering provides an awesome "helper's high" -- but only if it's a good fit. If your volunteer gig leaves you emotionally drained rather than energized, consider volunteering somewhere else.

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