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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Creating something
- 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?