Know Your Personal Energy Limits

Current Mood: Wobbly

Current Song: The Hardest Part by Coldplay

Last Sunday, I realized how tired I was. I was getting ready for an event, trying to hoist up a pair of tights, and caught sight of the bags under my eyes. I looked like a member of the cast of Twilight. Nothing good can come from any association with Twilight.

As per my usual method, I shrugged it off, and went about my day like all was well in the world. That evening, my body finally had it with my shenaniganizing, went on protest, and dinner came up the way it went down.

Yesterday was a difficult day, while I simultaneously fought waves of nausea, a terrible headache and the urge to throw myself off of the nearest high ledge. While I was upright, I looked at my calendar for the last week. Five meetings, other events, and a whole lot of running around. Sporadic sleep to top off the melange of instability.

No wonder my body crashed. If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself running on empty, or even in the red when it comes to energy management. This is a hard lesson to learn. So I had to stop and teach myself some energy lessons.

1. Down Time is Not Optional: “I have a bit of time, maybe I’ll just tick this task off my list.” Wrong! We often fill our spare moments with things that we need to be doing instead of taking a beat and just breathing. Do you really need to send that email right this moment or can it wait until a later time? Down time shouldn’t be something that you will do if you have a second. It should be built into your day.

2. Sleep is non-negotiable: I have terrible sleep habits. I’m an early riser and a light sleeper and this often makes me walk around like a zombie. I  know people who sleep with their Blackberrys next to their beds in case they get that email at 3 AM. I have never been one of those people because I realize that whatever terrible little sleep I get, I’ll actually need to function the next day.

3. Ask for Help: Another thing that I’m absolutely rubbish at doing. I am slowly realizing that I can’t do everything myself. Sometimes it’s a small thing like grocery shopping, and the thought of doing it alone is absolutely exhausting. Learn to ask for help, and not just when you’re in a bind.

4. You can’t be everything to everyone: We often wear too many hats. We try to be everything to everyone, and often, this is a source of great conflict for us. Sure, we want to be helpful, but we have to recognize when we need to bow out and let people figure it out for themselves. Can you energy be spent somewhere else?

5. Listen to Yourself: Not to sound woo-woo new agey, but when you’re at a point where you can’t physically stay upright because you’re so exhausted, you need to sit down. Listen to your body and your mind. The signs are often there long before crash time occurs.

6. Be Ruthless about Balance: Balance is hard to achieve, but do what it takes to stay balanced. You can’t always get it and sometimes you’ll be on the go flat out, but take time to exercise, to rest and to manage yourself well.

We can’t run on empty, and yesterday was a good reminder for me to learn to ease up on the gas pedal a little bit.

What are your habits for managing your energy?

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One thought on “Know Your Personal Energy Limits

  1. Pingback: Monday Percolator – 19 March « Speak Softly and Carry a Red Pen

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