There is unquestionably more chaos and disruption in our world right now. This constant state of intensity is causing many to be more restless, irritable, and exhausted than ever before.
Many of my clients ask for support in finding ways to keep their energy levels up when their go-to answers of extra sleep, exercise, and diet don’t seem to do the trick.
There are many ways we leak our energy. With some on-going awareness and maintenance, these practices can help you feel more rested and in control. Here are my 6 surprisingly helpful ways to increase your energy during exhausting times:
Learning how to prioritize your time and commitments can help significantly in restoring your energy reserves. Women are particularly prone to over-committing because we often feel we’re letting others down if we say ‘no’. I encourage my clients to practice saying no with the following guidelines. First, thank the person for thinking of you; they obviously hold you in high regard and believe in your abilities. Then say, “While I appreciate the opportunity, I’m going to have to pass.” There is no need to give any further explanation. But, if you feel you must, the reason can be as simple as that you have too much on your plate at this time to give your best to the task. When you’ve given this response, stop talking. Continuing the dialogue opens up doorways for negotiating. There doesn’t need to be any negotiating. You have said ‘no’ politely and strategically.
You can get comfortable with this valuable boundary by practicing it with close friends. It will soon become a familiar approach that prevents you from over-committing.
One of my mentors, Eben Pagen, recently taught me about the 60:60:30 productivity cycle and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it since. The premise is that our brains work best within a system of focused work, separated by a short rest cycles. Start with 60 minutes of concentrated work, followed by 5 minutes of rest. Repeat this cycle again. When done, take a solid 30 minute break. During the break, do something that is creative, inspiring, or simply just rest.
Our mind and body respond better in these scheduled bursts, rather than working non-stop till we drop. I’ve personally noticed that the quality of my work significantly improves using this method and I have more energy and focus to give other tasks.
Along with better productivity cycles, scheduling full shut-down times is also crucial.
At least once a month (and preferably once a week), schedule what I like to call “Me Days”. These are windows of time where you should do only things that feel restorative. This could be visiting a spa, going out into nature, painting, singing, dancing or other art forms, and/or taking long naps. Whatever lifts your spirit and allows you to feel more like yourself again, these activities are all that’s allowed on “Me days”.
I invite you to create a list of such activities to look forward to and schedule ahead for such occasions. Then calendar this time to ensure you stay loyal to your plan.
Most of us spend the majority of our time operating from the left side of our brains where language, logic, and learning take place. In a world so technology based, little time is spent in creative time. Creativity happens in the right portion of your brain. Activities like drawing, painting, writing songs or poetry and even journaling are managed here.
Whatever you love to do that is creative, dedicate more time to play in this space daily. (I recommend 30 minutes minimum). This dedicated creative time helps us feel inspired, which just naturally fuels our energy centers and helps us feel recharged.
Few people realize that being surrounded by clutter can be literally draining. Because all items have an energetic charge, being enveloped by many objects (books, stacks of paper, clothing, computer gadgets, sporting equipment, etc) can make us unconsciously feel like we’re being shouted at.
Even if you don’t notice the impact of clutter at the moment, taking time to organize and purge items in our space can feel incredibly restorative. It’s another activity to schedule or one you can do in small steps daily. Who knew a yard sale could feel so liberating?
Media free days
Let’s face it, we all live on our devices more than is healthy. Research has proven that our brain activation from pings and alerts can cause the same highly reactive states as addictions.
Add to this that our main-stream news channels over promote and sensationalize the tragic events of the day, it’s no wonder we feel completely exhausted.
I encourage my clients to get really tough with their media consumption. Taking a weekend off or at least one full day a week where the smart phone disappears can provide a sense of calm and peace the body craves. Initially, yes – you’ll likely feel like you’re having withdrawals. (Addiction to our smartphones is a real thing, so it’s a normal response). None-the-less, continue. Soon enough, you’ll get the result described and it will be well worth the initial discomfort.
During the work day, turn off notifications and only check emails at specific, scheduled windows. Tell others that you won’t be available unless it’s an emergency. Setting boundaries with when you are reachable is another smart way to carve out quiet space so needed in this frenetic world.
In the end, it’s all about discovering the sources that cause you to feel depleted.
When you’ve practiced the exercises above, keep going. Sit and journal what else might be contributing to your energy drains. They aren’t always obvious, so being willing to be real with yourself is an excellent start to getting yourself back on a restorative path.