Might managing our energy be even more important than managing our time?
There’s a common belief that we can do as much as we want to as long as we can fit it into our days. Often this is without considering the energy we have to do all those things. And if we run out of steam and don’t accomplish all we had managed to fit into our plans, we think we are lazy or ineffective.
Here’s an example that you may be able to relate to. A person commits to a new physical training program. Often, they will start out by identifying they want to get into better shape (so far so good). Next, they decide they are going to follow a training program that consists of 5 workouts a week, each lasting about an hour (oh dear). What’s more, is that they do this while eating less.
The reason they were probably out of shape is that they didn’t have the energy to commit to being more active in the first place. Being stressed and tired likewise caused them to want to eat more things that weren’t conducive to weight loss.
So now, they intend to go from that, to adding four hours (7 if you add driving to the gym, showering, and more) of exertion, while having less energy in the form of food to help power them through it!
Geez, why do you think that doesn’t work?
Why is Your Energy Zapped?
Running out of steam and feeling blah – having low energy – can be an indicator of an illness, injury, excess stress or being overextended. It makes sense when you are sick, hurt, or doing too much that your energy levels will fall. In these cases, rest, recovery, and taking some things off your plate can help you revive your energy.
There are also some less obvious reasons people have low energy. Believe it or not, low energy can happen when you are otherwise healthy, injury free, and aren’t overwhelmed. Here are three of them.
Reason #1 – You aren’t living your best life. This is true of many of us during these years of the pandemic. So much has changed, so much is still uncertain. If we aren’t setting and achieving milestones, it can zap our energy. Underachievement can cause boredom, depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness. We may not have new measures for milestones in a life changed in many ways.
Reason #2 – You aren’t spending time with the right people. With our social interaction restricted in the past two years, we may be spending more time with those who complain, gossip, are sad, etc. Or we are spending a great deal of time alone or with the same small circle. This really drains our energy and leaves us feeling down and unmotivated.
Reason #3 – Your growth is stunted. Many of the things that stretch us have not been part of our daily lives as much lately. We may be out of atmospheres where we are constantly learning and stimulated by work and social interaction. Much of our focus has been making things work, adapting to difficult situations. True, this does require creativity; but it tends to be focused more on survival than transformation. Narrow rather than expansive.
Managing Your Energy
Generally speaking, humans need to eat, drink, sleep, and have a sense of purpose for optimal health. Outside of those guidelines, we are all unique. Our energy comes from the nuanced aspects of our preferences and what gives us joy. Your mind and body are connected and will indicate through reactions what things bring you more energy and get you excited about life. Pay attention to the cues and learn to read them so you can maximize your unique brand of energy.
Look at your activities in all aspects of your life. They can rev up your energy or deplete it. Your unique personality lends itself to certain activities and finds very specific things exciting and energizing. Engaging in extracurricular activities that stimulate our minds and create a sense of wonder boost our energy. Your unique personality might need more or less activity to feel stimulated and emotionally satisfied.
Try out a variety of activities and pay attention to how you feel. See where your passions lie and how you react when you engage in meaningful activities. Allow yourself plenty of options for fun and don’t limit yourself from trying new things.
This is a great time to engage in some of this exploration of what energizes you. It’s an individual thing. What gives me energy may drain yours. As you explore, be sure to keep notes or journal so you capture what you are experiencing and learning.
Managing your energy can be a game-changer. As you learn and practice more, you are able to manage your life and aspirations better. It’s a worthwhile pursuit!
Here’s a great resource: Manage Your Energy Not Your Time
It includes ways to manage your mental, psychological and emotional energy. Check it out!
I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.