Managing your energy to reduce your stress
Here are some journaling exercises for you to do in the evenings. There are three exercise to do at the beginning, middle and end of the program.
#1 As you prepare to get started
Start by becoming more aware of your energy drains and energy boosts. Tonight before bed, on a sheet of paper or in your journal, make two columns with a line down the center. On the left side write Energy Drains and on the right side write Energy Boosts. Take 5-10 minutes and list everything you can think of in your life that either boosts you or drains you: physically, mentally, emotionally, at work, at home, with friends and with family. Get specific and continue to add to the list as you notice how different things affect you.
#2 At the end of the first week
I hope this first week is going well for you so far. It is very normal to have a rocky beginning so be gentle with yourself. You will be getting into the swing of things now and should start noticing improvement in your symptoms over the next week.
If you've been easing into your cleanse, plan to take it a step deeper over this upcoming weekend. You'd be amazed at how "not hard" it is to eat no processed sugar, to avoid gluten, to fit in the self-care routines, etc. Be open to this cleanse being not only possible but quite enjoyable, too!
Remember the lists of Energy Boosts and Energy Drains that I asked you to make before we started? I hope you have been noticing how your energy is affected by various things in your life. This Recharge program will help you have more vitality and long term health by helping you learn how to manage your energy for optimal effectiveness and enjoyment of life.
Create clarity out of chaos
When you have a million things on your mind, it's really hard to focus. It drains you of energy and makes you unproductive. This is such a common issue with busy women. When we are trying to take care of so many things, we end up feeling like we are not taking care of anything very well.
Take 15 minutes or so and write down your thoughts, worries and mental To-Dos. Get it all out so you can see it on paper.
Now go through that list and check off all the things that you cannot control anyway. As you check them off, mentally consider them done since it is not worth spending your precious energy on things you can't control.
Then look at the things you can control and circle the top priorities (max of ten things). This list is what you actually need to be focusing on, not the millions of things you started with.
If you honestly have more than ten (I know, sometimes life is crazy like that!) then schedule certain times or days to focus on those things rather than carrying them around as constant To-Dos. That will free your time and your energy to focus on the ten most important things at a time.
Release the drains
Look back at your list (or make one now if you haven't yet) of Energy Drains. These are things that are creating friction and making it harder for you to move through life with ease and pleasure. These may be on any level: physical, mental or emotional.
Following the 80/20 rule, most likely there are a small number (20%) of these energy drains that are creating the largest amount (80%) of the friction and discomfort in your life. Identify these major drains and start to plan out how to address them or release them.
One area to watch for is unfinished business. Again this can be physical, mental or emotional so look for things that you have left with loose ends that need some closure or conclusion. Finish a project, file an old pile of papers, make a decision that you've been putting off, or maybe forgive a past hurt so you can move on with your life.
Your energy is precious and these exercises will help you to spend it wisely and conserve it for the things that really matter. This Recharge program is helping to fill up your cup again, so do these exercises to stop the drains and maintain your energy.
#3 At the end of the second week
Today let's look at how to maximize your Energy Boosts so you can get through your day and still have energy to spare. Go back and look at the list of Energy Boosts that you started two weeks ago and put a star next to the ten things that are most important to you.
Notice that these are things that do not stress you out but rather feel energizing. Usually it is the things that are most important to us in life that give us the most energy in return.
Now consider this: Are you spending most of your time and energy doing things that are important, urgent, both or neither?
The sweet spot would be to mostly do the things that are most important to you, and occasionally handle something urgent as long as it is also important.
If your life is full of other people's urgent fires that are not actually important to you, consider how you can develop more healthy boundaries. Know that the other person is on their own path, and that their issues are not yours. You can still be supportive and compassionate without getting tangled up in their urgency and stress. In fact, you can help them the best when you can be present, centered and grounded in your own strength.
If you spend your days in crisis where everything feels urgent, stop and consider whether these emergencies are truly important. If everything feels both urgent and important, it's time to take a step back and reconsider your priorities so you can focus on what is *most* important.
If you get easily distracted and wind up spending a lot of time and energy on unimportant things, you'll want to focus so you can be more productive and have more free time to truly relax and recharge.
ACTION STEP: Write down the top ten things in your life that are the most important to you. Post this list where you can see it every day and start your morning with setting an intention to focus on at least one of them that day. When things come up throughout the day, ask yourself if it is important, urgent, both or neither.
When you raise your awareness about this and learn to manage your own energy by spending it on things that give you energy in return, you will have the energy you need for all the important things that you do!