Just like our time, our energy is a limited resource. Do you ever wish you could clone yourself to get everything done?
When your energy is running low… how does it make you feel? I know personally, I’m cranky, unable to get quality work done, and all I want to do is eat junk.
There are so many things competing for your energy each day; Work, kids, housework, cooking, errands, exercise and if you even have a chance to squeeze in those leisure activities, they tend to feel like a chore because you are so exhausted.
I’ve realized over the years that I have to take a proactive approach to have energy, if I want to be the best version of myself. I’ve compiled a list of 5 ways that you can manage your energy, so that you can be your best self too.
- Exercise and eat well
This is one of the most overlooked ways of increasing your energy. It seems counterintuitive. If I have no energy, how can I exercise? Its like the old question, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? In this case there is a clear answer. The exercise. Increased energy is one of the FIRST things that my clients report to me after they start an exercise routine.
The food we eat has such a huge impact on our emotional and physical well-being. Have you ever had a weekend of celebrations and over indulging? Remember how you felt the days following? Probably a little sluggish and depressed. If you do find yourself in this situation, just focus on your next healthy meal. Exercise and good food should be a priority in life, for a multitude of reasons. If you want to have success in ANY area of your life, get moving. Eat more veggies. Drink more water.
- Get enough sleep and take naps
I shouldn’t have to twist your arm to get more sleep. Yet most of us are walking around sleep deprived. When you are sleep deprived (even if you feel like you can function) your body is in a state of stress. Stress will constantly depletes your energy. Do you ever notice if you are tired and trying to get work done, you find yourself searching for a snack? Your body is seeking a spike in glucose to get you going again.
The best remedy for the stress induced sleepy munchies is a power nap. 20 minutes is all you need. I’ve always been able to find some way to sneak in a nap. In college, I would sleep on any bench near by. When I worked in an office, I would wrap up my coat and use it as a pillow while I was on my lunch break, or go out to my car and recline my seat. Now that I work from home, it’s much easier for a little cat nap. I don’t deny myself of what my body needs, and neither should you. If you can’t possibly get a nap into your day, get more sleep at night. You need 7-8 hours to feel your absolute best.
- Eliminate distractions and unnecessary tasks
In our world today, it’s nearly impossible to not get distracted. There are notifications and emails popping up every five seconds. You go to search one thing on the internet for a report you are working on and somehow you find yourself watching videos about cats that ride skateboards. You MUST take control of your environment, and eliminate the distractions. Every time your attention gets stolen from something you are trying to do, it zaps the energy from you. It takes even more energy to get yourself back on task.
All day long our brains are super-stimulated and working overtime. To prevent these distractions from stealing your energy, change the settings on your phone and computer to no longer give you notifications, and turn your phone on silent when you need to get important tasks done.
The other thing you can do is cut down on unnecessary to do items. You may feel overwhelmed because you are trying to do too much. Here’s the thing: YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL. How much is your time and energy worth? Can you consider hiring someone to take care of some of the chores? Is it possible to do your shopping online? Make sure you grocery shop at times when the store is not busy (don’t shop after work!) and plan your errands to do them as efficiently as possible. You can also automate your bills every month, so that is one less thing you have to worry about.
- Focus on one thing at a time
It’s no wonder we are exhausted and stressed out. It is overwhelming to think of all the things we need to do. The key to overcoming this is to stop multitasking. If you are like me… you might have 15 browser tabs, 5 excel spreadsheets, and 8 word documents open at a time. This is exactly why we find ourselves scatter brained and not able to focus… wasting time and precious energy.
The way I’ve learned to combat the urge to work on multiple projects at once is with an incredible tool called the pomodoro. Basically, you focus on one single task for 25 minutes, and then give yourself a 5 minute break. After 3 pomodoros, you’ve earned yourself a 25 minute break. It’s important to choose only one task for each pomodoro. Put your phone on airplane mode, close your email, and don’t you dare get on Facebook. Checking Facebook is something you get to do on your 5 minute break! To help you get started, I recommend the app Focus Keeper for Iphone, or Clear Focus for Android.
- Practice meditation and breathing exercises
Meditation is a daily practice that helps you calm your mind and your body through breathing and mindfulness. When you practice breathing and meditation, you make huge deposits in your energy reserve. Meditation can be as simple as focusing on your breath, though there are many different ways to mediate. The commonality is that it brings you into the present moment.
When you are under stress, your breathing rate speeds up along with your heart rate and blood pressure. By focusing on slowing down your breath, and taking full, deep belly breaths, you slow down your heart rate and trick your body into thinking there is nothing to be stressed about.
The same goes when you are feeling very emotional. The next time you start to feel upset, notice what happens to your breathing. Pay attention to other physiological signs like tightness in your facial muscles. Then, take 5 slow, deep breaths, lengthening them with each breath. When you meet yourself with awareness, you will immediately start to feel better.
Deep breathing and mediation are great tools that are available to you any time of the day. Take advantage of them!