Energy. Got it? Want it? Need it? Like that last bit of the toothpaste in the tube, are you squeezing out what little energy you have left, just to get through your week, your day, or the next hour? Does it feel as if a giant cosmic vacuum cleaner has sucked up all your energy?
If you’re wondering how to plug up those energy leaks – the ones that leave you begging for your bed, even though you end up tossing and turning and not getting the rest you need. Reaching for another hit of sugar or pot of coffee may provide you with an artificial charge to your day, but it’s not the ideal way to restore your energy.
There are things you can do to bring energy back into your life – things that will allow you to access your power.
1. Stop micromanaging.
How much energy goes into managing the people and events in your life? Do you plan everything to the very tiniest of details? This urge to control has its roots in fear – the what-ifs that your mind creates and that you obligingly follow up on by directing, looking after, over-seeing, managing, planning, supervising and worrying. Granted, there is a need for this type of execution, but not for everything. There are times when you have to let go – let your children pick out their school clothes, give your employees autonomy to work within the guidelines you have established, or to not have every minute of a family vacation scheduled with military precision. Loosening up on the micromanagement belt allows for breathing room and more energy.
As Bob Newhart says in this humorous clip, just stop it. Easier said than done, right? At the end of this post I will share how this can be achieved with less effort and more grace. Plus gain the wisdom to know when more management (and better processes are needed).
2. Cease procrastinating.
Sweep it under the rug. Mañana. If I don’t see it, it’s not there. Oh, the things you tell yourself just to make yourself feel better about not getting to those taxes, the laundry, work projects, your health. The truth is, deep down you know that the task/s you are neglecting to attend to are lying dormant like some symbiotic creature silently sucking up your energy.
3. Notice how you feel after eating certain foods.
You may have an intolerance to certain foods. You might also be able to get away with eating a small amount of those foods, but push beyond your personal limit and you begin to struggle. The tricky part is learning to connect the dots since you may not immediately feel the negative effects of what you consumed. Keep a food diary to help you sharpen your investigative skills. Are you sweating through the night after eating a particular dish? Do you feel more innervated? Do you notice any slumps in energy?
4. Cultivate good sleep hygiene.
It’s maddening. You’re exhausted, yet when you are nicely tucked up in bed, you can’t fall asleep. Or if you do, you awaken far too frequently throughout the night. Be proactive and build some sound sleep habits. For ideas on how to overcome Sleepus Interruptus, see Perchance to Sleep on my other blog, A Rheumful of Tips. (Once there, scroll down for a list to links of other posts about other sleep tricks.)
5. Get up and move.
6. Get a heaping helping of nature.
Enjoy some forest bathing. Get up early and walk towards the sunrise. Go outside at night and marvel at the sky. Let the sound of the waves or a chattering brook wash away your troubles.
7. Address and undress your stress.
Stress is draining. It wears out your nervous system, interrupts your sleep and has tentacles that reach into many, if not all aspects of your life. Stress is like that static-cling piece of plastic that you can’t shake loose. But you can, quite easily, if you practise putting your heart to work for you. The great news is that you don’t have to wait until the end of your workday, the weekend, the vacation, or any of the other things you wait for in order to get a sense of balance in your life. You treat the cause of your stress as you go about your day by changing the quality of your heart rhythms.
It’s not hard, but it does require dedication. As you put the strategies into practice, you begin to feel better and do better. You learn to recognize the behaviours that no longer serve you, such as micromanagement and procrastination. Instead you learn to self-regulate your thoughts and emotions, building new neural connections while over-riding the stress response. Fear moves out of the driver’s seat and into the back of the car. You learn to recognize how your perceptions colour your world – portraying fearful scenarios when there is no real threat or danger.
8. Smooth out your heart rhythms.
Your heart knows when you are soaking in negative emotions. In fact, the rhythm your heart produces becomes jagged. Heart rate variability is the beat to beat changes in your heart rhythm, which you can see here:
As you practise smoothing out your heart rhythms, you balance your nervous system and you influence your emotional, mental and physical health. As you synchronize the various systems in your body this ultimately leads to a body that works more efficiently. This consumes less energy, just as a well-tuned car does. That’s powerful! It’s meaningful – not only for you, but the people who love you. When you feel better, you do better.
When you see how your thoughts and emotions impact your heart rhythm pattern, you quickly understand the importance of making this practise a part of your stress busting strategy.
Plug up those energy drains!
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