STOP WASTING YOUR ENERGY
So to set the scene for today .. I’m currently writing this on a Sunday afternoon, sat on my sofa, feeling tired and full of what I can only describe as a constant, dull feeling of worry & dread. Apparently it’s just one of those days! So I hope you do enjoy.
I don’t know about you, but I myself have been exhausted this past few months, for a number of reasons. (Some of which I will refer back to soon, so keep reading if you’re gagging to find out why) This significant decline in my physical and mental wellbeing, has reminded me that “energy” is something that is always in a state of flux. Some days it’s there in full force, others not so much. Sometimes it’s present but not in the way we want it to be, but we forget that we can do things to help save & restore it.
So what’s lead me to talk about this today? Allow me to explain .. (as briefly as I can)
After spending a few months juggling teaching yoga (and all the fine details that come with that), keeping my own personal yoga practice up, working full time, working on new artwork, playing house, being a wonderful girlfriend (mostly) & just generally keeping myself alive I realised I needed to make some changes to the goals I had set for myself. Typical me, I had given myself too much to do in an unrealistic space of time. This resulted in me becoming ill, anxious and injured. So since then, I have taken the focus off where I want to be in a year & instead focus on actually ENJOYING (god forbid) the things I am working on RIGHT NOW. I spend so much of my time explaining to people how they should prioritise their health and sanity, but then here I am letting my own go downhill! Hypocritical much?
Why am I telling you this?
Because I realised I had been abusing my own energy. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? But it’s true. So many of us do this without realising, it’s only when we become unwell in one form or another that we realise we’re out of fuel and now running on fumes.
I’m not writing this today so I can tell you what you should do, or how you should care for yourself. After all we all live so differently with different demands. There are so many factors that come into the equation of every day life. Family, kids, pets, jobs, money, health and so much more, all of which vary for everyone. Despite these differences, we all fall into the same trap of “burn out” at times, and this has a lot to do with our energy. (Take a shot every time I say “energy”)
SO WHAT IS ENERGY?
Well it depends what context we are in! Today I'm talking about it in it’s physical & mental form, which needs regular top ups. Similarly to electrical energy, it can blackout at any time. When this happens, that’s our body’s way of telling us something. If you’re constantly pushing your body (such as training every day with no rest) or not pushing it at all, then you will eventually start to feel the reproductions of this. The same goes for mental energy. If you’re constantly worrying about things, planning things or over analysing (standard day for me) then you will also eventually burn out, if you don’t take the time to give yourself a break. It may take months for this to happen, or it may only take days. This all sounds a bit ominous when I read this back to myself, but it’s important to know that “burn out” is pretty common & comes in many forms.
WHAT IS BURN OUT?
To put it simply, it’s when you’ve had enough. You’ve probably experienced this multiple times so I don't feel like I need to over explain it. But it’s important to know that it comes in many forms. For some people it displays itself through emotional outbursts, a week stuck in bed, or a complete drop in the immune system. It can last for a few days, weeks or even months. It’s what happens when our energy is in low supply, and it hasn't been topped up. I know i’m making us sound we’re cars, or electric toothbrushes, but it’s not the worst way to look at it!
DISCLAIMER: There are many reasons why somebody may be emotional, bed bound, or constantly unwell. Just to make it clear, I am not blaming all of these things on “low energy”. If you think something isn’t right with your health, I’m not saying you will 100% fix it with a walk round the block and an “energy top up”. I’m not a doctor (thank goodness)
So like I said, the aim of me writing this is not to give you mindless instruction, after all that’s not my place, but to encourage you to ask yourself certain questions every now and then. We are constantly on the go, constantly trying to achieve, constantly seeing what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to get swept up in a busy week and realise you haven’t had any fresh air, haven’t eaten consistently, or haven’t looked away from your screen. Maybe you’re a parent who gets very little or no time to do the things that make you feel revitalised, or you have a high demand job that seems to drain you.
Regardless of what your situation is, these are the questions I want you to ask yourself every now and then..
1. How am I feeling today, honestly?
2. What is one thing I can do for MYSELF today? (For example, setting aside 30 minutes for a walk in the fresh air)
3. What is one thing I can drop today? (For example if it’s a busy day ahead, is there something that can be cancelled or pushed back to make your day more manageable?)
There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, there may not even be an answer on some days and that’s fine! Just give it a whirl.
WAYS TO CONSERVE YOUR ENERGY
Let’s face it, life can get busy & we can’t always prioritise ourselves. If we said no to everything & always chose taking a nap or a binge on Netflix, we probably wouldn’t get very far in life. At the end of the day, we HAVE to do life. We have to work, pay the bills, show up, speak to people & generally put ourselves out of our comfort zones at times. We will have phases where we are so busy & overwhelmed by life that we start to feel like we’re drowning. The reality is that we CAN’T always control this. However we CAN control how care for ourselves, which in turn will determine how we interact with the outside world. (or the ZOOM world!)
So here are some of my key methods of conserving my energy… maybe give some of them a try?
1. AVOID SLEEPING IN ALL MORNING
On the days where we don’t HAVE to get up and moving at 7am, it’s tempting to stay in bed. Now some days, having that extra sleep may be necessary. You know if you’re in need of some extra snooze time, so don’t punish yourself if this happens! But if you notice that this has become a habit & you find yourself feeling lethargic when you do finally climb out of bed, perhaps try setting your alarm for an earlier time. Perhaps 8am? Even if you have nowhere to be, get up, take a shower, dress yourself, have a coffee, whatever it is that makes you more determined to get up! Open yourself up to the opportunities of the day, especially if the day is yours!
(or you know .. have a big sleep if that’s what you need)
2. EAT YOUR BREAKFAST…AND HYDRATE!
This sounds like such a basic thing, but so many of us just don’t eat breakfast. Perhaps it’s due to rushed mornings or not not wanting to eat when you’ve just woken up. I’m not saying get up and cook a full english at 6am, or even eating straight away. After all a lot of us hate eating when we first wake up. But don’t leave yourself without food all morning. If you’re up early and you don’t eat until 12 - 1pm, then perhaps that needs changing! You would be amazed at the increase in your overall energy & focus during your day after you’ve drunk plenty of water & had some food in the morning.
I’m not saying ditch your morning coffee .. that would be madness. Just accompany it with something other then MORE coffee!
3. MAKE TIME FOR MOVEMENT
It’s so easy to get caught up in work, errands, or whatever it might be in your life that tends to stop you exercising. Why not dedicate yourself twenty minuets a day, that’s it just twenty! You don’t have to go for a run, or start churning weights. Perhaps just go for a walk round the block? Or give yourself some time to do some simple stretches .. OR DANCE AROUND! Daily exercise has become something that we dread to think about, but in my opinion it’s become over complicated because of how much there is out there.
I promise you .. the world WILL NOT END if you take twenty minuets out of your day to move your body. And if somebody moans at you for it … perhaps suggest a walk for them too! Sounds like they need it.
4. BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR TIME.
Despite what you might think, you can only do so much in the space of one day. You can cram as much into your day as possible, with an extra long list of things to do. Maybe you’ll skip lunch to get some extra errands out the way, or you’ll forget about your break to get some fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, we all have days like this and it can’t always be avoided. But if you do this to yourself on a regular basis, what do you think is going to happen to your body & mind? Our lives are so high intensity, we spend so much time wondering why we’re stressed & run down!
So chop that “to do” list down & be more sparing with your time. Don’t neglect your own wellbeing. After all, how do you expect yourself to show up for others if you’re totally drained?
Your relationship with yourself is the same as your relationship with other people.. you get out of it what you put in!
So this has been quite a long post, if you’ve made it all the way to here then congratulations. if you weren’t exhausted before reading this, you probably are now!