Energy is something we all seem to be wanting and needing. Especially now when we seem to be in this surreal, holding pattern, uncertain of what is around the corner, uncertain of plans and normalcy and perpetual “ground hog” days. So while energy always seems to be a priceless commodity, it’s even more important now.
Personally, I hate to feel like I’m dragging. I don’t like feeling sluggish. I hate to wake up tired or start feeling drained in the afternoon. We all have different energy levels and certain times of day when we have higher or lower levels of energy. We need good energy. You know the feeling – and I’m not talking about the post two cups of coffee energy that might get you going but leave you crashing and burning later on.
I am typically a high energy person, but I’ll be honest and say that lately it’s been waning. It is definitely not in its normal, natural state. Prime example is it has taken me over a week to finish this little post to ya’ll! So, as usual, I’m thinking and writing on something that’ hitting me between the eyes.
This is huge! You have to be honest here. Are you one of those people who has to fill every minute of every day? You get a free bit of time and immediately think how you’ll fill it, squeeze in one more errand, respond to one more email, say yes to one more project? How many things do you allow to come into your day that just suck your energy? I know there are so many things you have to accomplish every day, so many things that require your energy. So, how about trying to focus on just what really matters and get out of the being busy just to be busy trap? I did an instagram challenge on Getting Unbusy a while back, so it’s a habit I’ve been trying to create for some time. Being busy for the sake of busyness is an enormous energy sapper. What really matters to you? We are all different here. I have a friend who irons every stitch of fabric in her home – even down to sheets and underwear. Sorry, but that will never happen in my home, and that’s a promise. I have another friend who gets up two hours before her family so she can read. These things matter so they become priorities, and then other things need to fall off. I have my own things that matter to me but you might think are crazy or quirky. It took me a long time to realize that I did not need to do everything, and that being busy with all the things was doing nothing but sapping energy. So, here’s the thing. Figure out what matters to you. Focus on that. Say no to unimportant tasks to protect your time and energy. Then, of course, you’ll have energy for what matters to you. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters.
2. Stay In Your Lane
When you are doing things you love and are good at you can just do that all day long, right? But if it’s something you dread doing, or struggle with, it can make you feel like a wrung out cat. I typically have a lot of energy. But there are certain things that totally make me want to fall on the floor in a ball. Long meetings get me. I hate meetings just for the sake of meeting. Meandering in a shopping mall or trying on clothes make me sooooo tired. Any sort of detailed paperwork, contracts, spreadsheets and numbers just make me want to pull my face off. I also bow down to teachers – especially teachers of littles. This is an honest confession. When my boys were little I would volunteer in the summers at Vacation Bible School. VBS is three hours. Only three hours. That three hours was the longest, most exhausting time that I could ever imagine. I couldn’t wait to get home and put the boys down to nap . . . so I could nap too! These things are not my gifts. I could teach six straight fitness classes and have energy left over or put me in a yard pulling weeds or doing manual labor and I’m good all day long. But a room full of preschoolers sends me straight to the bed!
I know you’ve heard the saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. While this may not be practical, I do get the meaning. I love to do lots of things and these things energize me. However, many of those things don’t help buy groceries or provide health insurance. So, I think it’s important to create space to do those things you love, even if not in your real job, but in your hobbies, your volunteering or in a side hustle. And if excel sheets, cooking from scratch, filing your taxes, making scrapbooks, etc. are not your thing, can you offload these things that aren’t your gifts or that drain you? Again, you can let go where you can to have room for those things that are your own unique and special gifts.
3. Drink More Water
If you are feeling sluggish reaching for coffee, Diet Coke, or sugary drinks might sound like the perfect thing to give you a boost, but not so much. Your body needs hydration. You need water. If you haven’t heard, we need to be drinking at least half of our body weight in ounces every single day. So, if you hadn’t heard that, now you have, so if you’ve forgotten or think it doesn’t matter, please give this a try. That’s all.
4. Work on Your Sleep Hygiene
This is a constant job for me. I am continually changing and tweaking my routine to work on finding the best way to wind down and set myself up for good sleep. Setting a bedtime is key I know. I am typically in the bed by 10 pm, sometimes earlier if I can. One thing I have not been good at when I do get in bed is shutting down the computer, phone, and mindless scrolling. I know how bad this can be and I am beginning to put my phone in the bathroom to keep my fingers and my mind from staying busy and keeping me up. A warm bath, reading a book (often I’ll make sure it’s not a particularly good book so I won’t get sucked in), a meditation app on my phone are some of my little tricks to get to sleep these days.
4. Exercise. . . move your body
I know you saw this one coming. Moving in a way that makes you feel good (even if it only feels good after!) is using energy to create more energy. Even on days when you think you don’t have it in you to exercise, I’ve always said give it 10 minutes. Typically after 10 minutes you’ve warmed up your body and will move past the block you might have been fighting. Exercise that gets you going and moving gets those lovely endorphins flowing, clears your mind, makes you feel stronger and mighty accomplished and productive afterwards.
There’s a balance with your workouts, too. If your program makes you want to spend the rest of the day on the couch, then that’s definitely not what I have in mind. You have to find your own sweet spot with what workouts, and at what time of day, are best for you. Also, spending your time in a gym, spin class or structured regimen is just a tip. Don’t forget about gardening, hiking, chasing little ones, walking your dog, and all those other ways you can move to make you feel good and energized. These are all things you get to do. They are not chores to be dreaded but a chance to bring energy into your body so it creates more – just for you. It’s such a beautiful thing the way that works.
5. Don’t Diet
I’ve always been a big proponent of a non-diet lifestyle. However, I’m like everyone else and sometimes have found myself suckered or cajoled into trying some new program or trend for a bit. Those crazy result photos, testimonials and hype can be pretty convincing – even when I know better. But the best way to eat and live and feel our very best is to eat healthy foods – you know, those that come from a mother – at normal times, in normal situations. No yo yo-ing, no starvation, not getting hangry and not getting that light headed feeling from a roller coaster spike and drop in blood sugar.
This may be a process and may take some time and patience, but learning to find a way to eat that fuels you and your body, and keeps your energy stable so you can have a full, busy day and life is definitely worth the time it takes to figure it out.
Bonus. . . .The people factor. You know those folks, whether they are friends, family members, co-workers, even neighbours who just drain you. These are those who may be negative, whiney, maybe even toxic that just seem to pull you down. Know when you are going to be around folks or situations that drain you. Avoid when you can, and when you cannot at least you can prepare for it.
That’s it for now. I think being aware is the best tip here and take some steps to keep going.