Has overwhelm and stress taken over? Can you even remember a time when you weren’t so stressed out with a to-do list a mile long? This has become your new norm and you accept it.
You create habits of taking on more and more without even realizing it’s happening sometimes. The next thing you know you realize you’re in way too deep, but now you don’t want to let anyone down so you continue to put everyone else first. Here’s the problem with that.
It’s not sustainable!
YOU are the only one who can chose to put yourself first.
If you do not set that boundary, unfortunately no one else will. Not only that, but others will keep asking more of you because that’s human nature. Someone asks a favor or your boss needs something from you. They ask because they know you’ll say yes. You like to say yes. You are a helper. A people pleaser. The problem is, you have nothing left to give. Not to yourself and certainly not to anyone else. You secretly want to say no, but feel guilty.
You don’t want to let anyone else down, yet you have accepted that it’s totally ok to let yourself down. You have decided you are not worthy of time for yourself, yet you find yourself constantly wondering how the hell you are going to make it through another day or week.
You need to learn to manage your energy better. You are constantly giving energy to others all the time. You give it to your family, partner, boss/coworkers, friends, even strangers that cut you off in traffic. How many times have you had some type of interaction with someone and you perseverate on it in your head over and over wishing you responded differently? It sucks so much of your energy, but you can’t seem to let it go.
You expend energy physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally all day long. Here’s a quick breakdown of each aspect.
Physically: Do you make exercise a priority?Are you ensuring you are going to be early to get 6-8 hours of quality sleep. What is the quality of your nutrition? Are the foods you are choosing to eat giving you energy and vitality or are they draining you? Are you taking on too many responsibilities.
Emotionally: Your thoughts and your family and the impact they have on you, your mood and your energy. Are you still thinking about what that rude woman in the coffee shop said to you three hours ago? Are you feeling so anxious about a deadline? Your body has a fight or flight response which kicks in during times of stress, releasing stress hormones in your body. Quick bursts of these are great as they get you into action, but when they become a constant and you have no time to rest in between the body becomes exhausted, as its not meant to function long term in that type of environment. It’s so important to make sure you are making time for rest to allow your body to rebound from the emotional stress.
Mentally: Are you able to focus on one task or are trying to multi-task? Do you easily get distracted? When you are having dinner with your family are you present and able to give your attention fully or is your mind full of to-do’s. When you are not present not only can those around you tell, but it tells other people they are not important enough to you to be fully present. Is that how you want to show up for yourself and those around you?
Spiritually: Do you feel connected to something deeper? It can be god, the universe or time in nature. Does your current lifestyle allow for time to go to church or take a walk in nature or are you too busy? When you are making the events that are important to you a priority not only are you ensuring your body gets an opportunity to recharge its energy, you are also becoming a part of a community. Research has shown that being part of a community decreases your chances of feeling isolated, depressed and anxious.
Here are five tips to help you learn to manage your energy, avoid burn out and take back control of your life.
Schedule in time for YOU first!
Look at your schedule and be sure to block off time for yourself first. Make this a non-negotiable! Do not give yourself permission to remove this time because something else comes along that feels more important. Newsflash, nothing is more important than your well being! This will guarantee you have time in your schedule to do nothing, meditate, take a class, read a book, take a walk, whatever fills your cup. Most women do the opposite They keep piling on more and more things onto their schedule and in their life, then realize there is no time left for them. Here’s the deal, depending on the season of life you are in the amount of self care time may change quite drastically. If you have small kids, you may be thrilled to have just a few quiet moments alone, whereas if you are a business owner with no kids you may be able to schedule in more time for you. Again, if you don’t make yourself a priority, no one else will.
Assign each responsibility/action an energy level
Know how much energy each invite/task will require from you. To do this, I recommend my clients make a list of all the places they give their energy to- work, family, household duties, self care time, time with friends, etc. Once they have done that I ask them to rate the amount of energy each item may take on a scale from 1-10, 1= requires minimal energy, 10=requires maximum energy. I recommend always rating higher than you think because usually things take more time and energy than we think they will.
These scores comes in very useful when making a schedule. For example, if you know that a meeting with a particular client is going to be a 10, you can strategically schedule that meeting in a time that works best for you, ideally not immediately following another 10. This allows you to ensure you are balancing the amount of energy you are expending with the amount of energy you are giving back to yourself. The more you practice this and the more mindful you are, the more you can begin to make this a habit when scheduling events.
Be aware and honest about your energy level:
Allow time in your schedule for check ins. These are an opportunity for a quick check in with yourself to see how you are feeling. Do you need to take a water and bathroom break to clear your head and get your body moving or would taking five deep breaths give your body the reset it needs? Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling throughout the day and let this be your guide throughout the day. You may have other unanticipated events come up, which will take more energy from you and will require you to be more flexible with other items on your calendar. You may need to push something back a day to make sure you are able to attend to the work crisis while still attending your favorite yoga class or dinner with your family.
Hold off on giving an answer
Do not automatically give a response. When someone asks for a favor or invites you to an event, you can reply with “Thank you for thinking of me/inviting me. I will have to see if that’s something I am able to take on at this time. I will get back to you shortly”. Then give yourself time to truly decide. Is this something you really want to do? Does the idea light you up and you can’t wait to go or does just hearing about it make you want to pull your hair out? By doing this you avoid saying yes because you feel guilty or out of habit. Which then avoids the uncomfortable situation of saying yes then trying to come up with an excuse of why you can’t do it. You know you are guilty of this! We all are! You are in control of your time and you should treat your time as the CEO of your life.
Know what are you saying no to
If you are saying yes to someone or something else, then what are you saying no to? I get it, you look at your calendar, see an opening and then say yes. However, then you realize you are booked every night this week or you haven’t made any time for you. Before you say yes, ask yourself is this something that is going to feed your soul or take away from you. Energy management is all about learning to say no to others so you can make time for yourself. Life is a balancing act and it’s imperative you are not taking on too much and constantly saying no to yourself. It can be sneaky at first. You may find yourself saying no to small needs that may seem insignificant, but before you know it you are saying no to larger chunks of time and much needed energy for yourself.
Would love to hear if this resonated with you and how you manage your energy.
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