Living in the southern United States, I don't get a lot of bitter cold temperatures or snow. That's just fine with since I do like to wear flip flops and go barefoot as often as possible. But on the rare occasion it does snow, I do have to admit, it looks really pretty. I stand at my back windows and look how the moon and the streetlamps reflect on the glistening ice crystals on the tree limbs, and how clean and pristine everything looks with a blanket of white. It really does look peaceful.
Then, my mind always immediately goes to my next power bill, and what surprise I'll find when I open the envelope. Ouch! I always dread those bills.
And then I think about my friends who live where it snows A LOT. I don't know how my Canadian friends manage it, from the cold to the life adjustments you have to make for the snow to the heating costs. My friend reminded me that they usually have more than one way to heat their homes, often allowing them to conserve on energy costs by using fireplaces and wood stoves and solar panels.
Ahh! Ingenious. 🙂 More than one source for energy. I can't believe I didn't remember growing up with a wood stove for extra heat. It's amazing how we forget about resources and solutions when we are no longer around them.
Whether you're talking about the energy needed to heat a home or the energy you need physically and emotionally just to get through the day, it's important to know where your energy is going- and just as important- where it comes from.
1. Know where you get your energy
No, I'm looking for an answer that you'd give in science class like from photosynthesis or something like that. But do know if being around people gives you energy or if taking a break away from them gives you energy. Know what foods make you sluggish and which can give you a pick-me-up (I'll save my caffeine lecture for another time, LOL). Many people try to force the thing that makes them less energetic, instead of doing what works for them.
2. Pay attention to the energy in all of your systems
When I chat with my therapy clients, I'm constantly assessing all of the parts of their bodies- and lives. We talk about the digestive system (food), the nervous system (emotions and cognition), sleep (all systems), and then about their workplace, school, home, church, other groups, immediate and extended family, friends, OK- I'll stop listing all of the various systems now. Instead of only focusing on what you're eating, if you're finding that to be particularly stressful, switch to pay attention to what you're telling yourself. Sometimes just shifting the focus a bit to something that seems totally unrelated to the worry at hand will help bring everything back to its normal balance point.
3. Be aware of your energy cycles
You're pretty familiar with the cycles within nature. You know when to expect the leaves to fall off of the trees and when to expect it to be hot. Your life is the same way. What I'm talking it's much deeper than just going to sleep each night, waking up hungry, and taking a shower before work. Many people look forward to certain times of the year. So if you have something to do that's more taxing on your emotions, try to schedule that during a more energetic time for you. If you hate winter, actively avoid doing something really stressful then, like buying a house or holding your wedding. Don't set yourself up for failure and more stress than you can handle if at all possible.
4. Get clear on how to recharge yourself should you feel drained
There's nothing wrong with you if you feel especially exhausted after coming out of a particular meeting or event. That's to be expected (so no guilt for that part). But when you know in advance about those things that suck the life out of you, plan for something that's rejuvenating soon after. No, it doesn't mean you have to go for a five mile run when I say, “rejuvenate.” It does mean have dinner in the crockpot so you don't have to cook. It means not accepting an invitation to help your friend on that particular day. It means announcing to your family that it's a Hulu night around the television instead of running to the mall.
5. Have more than one energy source
It can be tempting to put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to having someone who can support you during the tough times. More often than not, that one energy source tends to be your significant other, your mom, or your best friend. It's perfectly OK to lean on them from time to time. But it's not OK to only lean on them, whether it's for a short period of time or a long period of time. You don't want to overload the circuit! Get clear on who provides great support for this type of issue and who isn't as great at providing support with that type of need. It allows them to give you their best- and without draining them of too much energy because they are doing what comes more naturally. It also means that if one person isn't available, you aren't completely left in the dark.
Well, it seems that my energy systems are telling me that it's time to get to bed so I can keep my energy where it needs to be. 🙂 So I'm going to practice what I preach and pay attention to that part of my body. Sweet dreams!