A few posts ago, I was asked how I find the energy to get things done, even after a long work day! After thinking about it for a day, I thought I’d share my experiences and hope that others chime in their ideas too!
Energy is something I used to really really struggle with. It seemed like after working, I was capable of nothing but crashing on the sofa, watching tv and relaxing. Only at the end of the night I felt no more relaxed and was dreading going to bed and repeating the same routine of exhaustion the next day! Gradually I built up a system which works for me!
1. Water! I try to make sure I get 6 glasses of water a day! Honestly, for me, this really really helps! I find I feel more hydrated and definitely have more energy!
2. Exercise every day! Now that I’m working full time (for those that asked, it’s pretty much 7-5 or 7:30 to 4:30 (with the occasional evening shift and about a 20-30 minute journey to work each way) and so far I’ve had one 24 minute lunch break!) it is harder - but even just a 20 minute brisk walk once a day really helps! I start my swimming membership soon and can’t wait!
3. I eat low GI foods! Honestly and truly, this has had a HUGE impact on my energy levels! It means my blood sugar isn’t dancing around the place and I’m consistent in how I’m feeling! If you are struggling with energy levels I would encourage you to learn a bit more about this healthy approach to eating! I should also add, I’ve drastically reduced my caffeine consumption!
4. Quiet Time – each morning I start the day with a good 20 minutes for Bible reading and prayer time! I also end the day with the same routine! Just having the time to let my mind relax, think of others, study and find peace helps start and end the day on the right food!
5. Lists - having an ongoing list of things that need to be done helps me stay organized! I am by no means perfect, in fact I did something on my list today that needed to be done 3 weeks ago! But, having that list serves as a bit of extra motivation and encouragement to keep plugging away at what needs to be done!
6. Work stays at work! This is something I really struggled with in the past but am, so far, much better at! It’s only work and while I work in a field that is very very difficult to leave behind, I know I owe it to myself to do it! When I had the kids it was so easy – they were the best of distractions, so I’m trying to be as kind to myself and give myself that same rest!
7. I start my day early! I find no point setting my alarm clock and waking up every 5 minutes to snooze multiple times. It isn’t restful and generally means I haven’t had enough sleep! Instead I’m realistic about what time I need to get up and try to go to bed accordingly. If I need to be out the door at 7, then it is much more realistic for me to be up at 6 or 6:15 than to keep snoozing until 6:30 and rush. You can read about my routine here!
8. Cutting back on evening activities! In the past, I found if I wanted I could be out every night of the week! Now, I try to stick to no more than one to two evening commitments a week and one commitment plus Church at the weekends! That doesn’t mean I don’t go swimming or hiking or spend time with loved ones, it means I keep structured commitments to a minimum. There are currently many activities I’d love to join: a Tai Chi class, a book group, a Bible study class and an evening photography group, but instead of rushing in and making commitments which take time & money, I’m prayerfully considering which is the right avenue in this season of my life!
9. Clean and de-clutter! I keep a clean home (or, more correctly, room at the moment!) and try to always have my laundry washed, folded and put away. A clean home, which functions smoothly has a really positive effect on your emotional health and makes life less stressful for me! I’m not talking about being a slave to cleaning, but I try to have dishes done, lunch packed, books & paperwork packed, floors vacuumed etc.
10. Vitamins! I’ve been taking 5 vitamins a day for two months now and have noticed a huge difference!!
11. Admitting defeat! I accept busyness will occasionally happen and I make changes as needed! I have a full time job and volunteer – while I’m peaceful and feel I lead a very simple life, there will still be days where life feels like a disaster zone. Last night I couldn’t get to sleep until well past midnight and I was up with the sun around 5:30! Needless to say I’m tired! Today my eating has been off all day as my breakfast leaked all over and I could only grab a homemade flapjack - which was not adequate to keep that blood sugar ticking nicely! But, tomorrow is another day
What about you? Do you struggle with energy levels? Have you done anything which helps?