Renewable Energy for Women

When I had my fourth child, I suddenly became very aware of my energy.  I felt it get bottled up inside and cause emotional breakdowns.  I felt when it had been completely used up and I had to sit blankly on the couch saying “yes” to everything my children wanted to do (as long as I didn’t have to move).  I felt when it would come back each morning to start the routine all over again.  Understanding my energy has become a little side hobby.

My brilliant cousin expressed energy consumption this way:

“Imagine that every morning we are blessed with 100 “grace dollars” to be used throughout that day.  We spend it (and save a bit) just by living consciously moment to moment.  This currency is also our energy, prana, or life-force.  We may figuratively use $7 in calmly preparing a lovely meal and another $15 in teaching a child to swim.  These uplifting activities are also investments that create nice memories which pay dividends later.  By the end of the day, we may feel so glad to go to bed because our daily currency has been spent and we’re ready to renew during sleep.

The most expensive activities include things like a 26-dollar argument with a family member or financing negative beliefs we carry from our past.  When we have any lingering anger, blame, or resentment toward people or past events, we must use our daily energy to keep those old feelings alive, or at least available when we want to tell that old story.  It’s like yucky old wounds we maintain in order to make sense of a situation or to keep tabs on justice.  Just think of a past event that hurt you but you have chosen to forgive and move on.  The memory exists, but the emotional drama is gone.  Imagine the pain and draining feeling you would have if you constantly chose to be bitter about that issue. “
This is a map of the energy pathways as understood by yogis. Notice that your energy extends out around you (your personal bubble!).  I have been much more aware of how my children react to my energy, especially when I am holding them, rocking them, feeding them.  It is almost impossible for a stressed out mom to calmly put her child to sleep.  I have to think calm, sleepy thoughts and my children will fall asleep.  My muscles need to be relaxed, my breath needs to be even and slow.  Only then will they relax and breath deeply and fall asleep.
So, for the benefit of women like me, who run out of energy some days at 2:30–here are some lists.
Things that create energy (for me- it will probably work for you too, but I can’t say conclusively)
  • Exercise early in the morning.
  • Reading my scriptures and praying for help, specifically for energy to get through the day.
  • Waking up earlier than my kids and getting something accomplished.
  • Eating a large, healthy breakfast (with a low glycemic index)
  • Talking with friends about nice and fun things.
  • Having a plan of things to do with my kids.
  • Serving others in a meaningful way.
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning the house and then living in a clean space.
  • Taking an afternoon nap.  Or even one at 8:30 am.
  • Doing my hair and makeup so that I am ready to face whatever errands or outings come.
  • Sunlight
  • Creating something
Things that deplete my energy:
  • Bored kids–when they are bored, they suck the life out of me.
  • Taking on too much, just the mental stress of “how am I going to get this all done!!” overwhelms me even before I start doing any of it.
  • Staying up later than 9:30 pm.
  • Watching a glowing screen right before bed.
  • Eating meat and sweets makes me feel very sluggish the next day.
  • Holding a grudge, revisiting past hurts/fights.
  • Staying in my exercise clothes all day.
  • Being indoors, in fluorescent lighting.

The other day, when I was having my blank-stare-on-the-couch moment, knowing that I still had a social engagement that night, I was wondering how in the world I would get us all there and function.  But once I started getting going, trying to get my kids ready and then talking with my friends at the event, I felt more energy come and I made it all the way to 9:00 without dying.  Which was pretty miraculous.

If you find yourself living mostly in the second list, and wonder how in the world people have enough energy to do things on the first list–here is the grand secret:  Doing the things on the first list actually gives you energy.  Just start working on something from the first list, and when you have a little more energy built up, do something else and so on.

What have you noticed about your energy?  What depletes it?  What makes it last?

6 responses to “Renewable Energy for Women

  1. reading this yesterday made me very tired. I lounged around all morning. Then I ate a better breakfast and got going. Cereal just doesn’t cut it.

  2. I hear that Hosander–good food goes a long way.
    Leaving my house to go on walks with my kids often brings energy and helps me enjoy the moments as they happen. I like leaving my phone home sometimes. I’m also usually energized by phone conversations with dear friends and family, trips to the library, a cleaning spree, and a good laugh–usually from a funny movie or TV series.
    However, I tend to think that there is great value is taking things easy too. The day following a busy day puts me in a relaxed mode where I’m content to kick it at home and maintain life. Chill-like.

  3. I think it’s hard to get out of the “rut” of bad energy or no energy. I also wonder how adrenals, and the hormones produced by them, play in. What if you just don’t feel like it? It would be nice sometimes to have a fairy-godmother just come for a day or two and do all your work for you. I think being an adult is hard sometimes.

    • Good observation, sunbird. It’s true that we can get in a rut of being tired. And my personal philosophy is: do what I feel like doing. When I am too tired for something, I don’t do it. I have faith that eventually I will want to and have the energy to accomplish the things that are waiting. I also know that I am not a naturally lazy person, so I don’t worry that it will never get done. But being gentle with myself is one way to deal with those “rut” times. Also, I should add that by the end of each week–every single week– I am exhausted. Even doing all of the energy-promoting things.

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