It is normal to feel exhausted even if you do not move or engage in a lot of physical activity. Emotional burdens add to physical burdens. Being affected by war and any military events in any capacity impacts health, both mental and physical, which might in turn affect your daily routine, the way you respond to stress and different events and people in your life, and how you feel and function throughout the day. Loss of proficiency in everyday skills is also a normal consequence of stress.
Think about what you are able to achieve after a good rest. Your body movements will be more smooth, you will be able to make better and more adaptive decisions, you will be able to be a better protector for your children, you will have less chance of displacing “negative” feelings to “less threatening” people, like your children. After only three or four nights without sleep, you can start to hallucinate. It is hard enough to take care of oneself in such a state but even harder to take care of children and your loved ones. You need to sleep well to have enough physical resources to continue performing your daily routine. Consistent progressive muscle relaxation can assist with better quality of sleep. For example, I personally cannot fall asleep and maintain sleep unless I follow a strict schedule of when I go to bed and when I wake up. But even a consistent schedule is not enough for me. Having terrible insomnia for eleven years taught me that I cannot sleep unless I take care of myself by exercising, giving myself frequent breaks throughout the day in order to avoid headaches, and following my own relaxation routine (baths, showers, walks, different relaxation techniques) on a consistent and extended basis. If I do not force myself to sleep well one night the following day I will experience such a terrible headache from sleep deprivation that even if I want to I will not be able to fall asleep anymore. It is a terrible loop. I have a long way to go, but only by taking care of myself and relaxing my body, I am able to sleep better, function better throughout the day, be more helpful to my clients and build and maintain healthy relationships.
You can add activities that might help you to get distracted from the current events. Make the schedule as specific as possible but also keep in mind that it might have to change given the unpredictable nature of the war. You can also try to schedule new things that were added to your life. For some people, it might be longer periods of time being spent with other people, reading news, or other new responsibilities. Try to focus on structuring what you can actually control in your schedule. That means that the activities should be doable and easy enough to accomplish. Do not be too harsh with yourself and do not ask too much from yourself. Setting small goals and steps has high chance of success and therefore will help you achieve bigger goals in the end. Creating a schedule and sticking to it as much as possible will also create conditions for you to feel more stable and safe and will increase a perceived sense of control over your life.
It might be you, your children, your house, items inside the house, and your daily life. You might have less control over other things given the circumstances. They should be simple enough in order for you to accomplish them. During such challenging times doing even small accomplishments can help you feel alive. Accomplishing simple activities is still an achievement.
By creating a schedule with activities that are within your control and then tracking what was possible to accomplish from that list (you can also count unplanned activities), you will focus your attention on the present moment to keep living, helping yourself and your loved ones. Having somebody to share these accomplishments with can also increase your chances of staying focused and motivated to continue performing a daily routine. Having somebody to report to is an evidence-based intervention that helps people to stay on track and improve the quality of any kind of performance. You might also find it comforting to have somebody you trust to share your daily life with. It creates the feeling that you are not alone. There is somebody else by your side physically or virtually. It might be your friend, your family member. For example, if you have access to social networking services, you might find it helpful to share this kind of message with people you trust: “Today I was able to cook soup, take a bath, my younger daughter and I danced with a YouTube video. We were not able to walk today because of air-raid warnings.”
Humor is not something shameful in stressful and post-stress situations. Humor is a part of the protective and adaptive body system, which not only helps us to cope with stress and nervous tension but also contributes to a more successful recovery and adaptation of the human psyche after experiencing trauma. Humor can manifest itself in different ways depending on the individual characteristics of a person.