I have had a-lot of feedback about my last post, “Stretch to new ENERGY heights”. Many of my readers were happy to learn more about flexibility and find out how it could contribute to energy. Most, however, were asking for more suggestions to combat their own personal energy drain. Complaints of low energy, lack of sleep and a general feeling of lethargy were flooding in. I have decided to act! Over the next couple of weeks I am going to flood you back. In a series of articles for all of us, I hope to get information and action ideas to you about taking back your life and experiencing it more fully.
Let’s call this, ManageYou 101. Energy, in so many ways, is a huge component of this but I will also try to touch on having a richer life, balancing life, commitments vs. convictions and even specific work-life maximizing ideas. Sound good? Well, let’s get going……….. Energy, energy, energy……wow. Where to start? I want to encourage you to mentally link health and wellness with ENERGY. Energy is health. I have decided to break this down into a few select areas where I feel it is important to experience vitality and high energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. We MUST remember, if any of these areas are stagnant that will equal energy loss and begin to sap energy from other areas. We may work hard to live spiritually energized but our low-octane level on the emotional and physical realm are soaking up all of our spiritual energy reserves! Today, let’s handle physical energy; the best place to start. Often this is an area many of us need help in and it also provides the largest impact (I am a “bang-for-your-buck” guy). First, let’s take a 4 question energy audit:
1. I don’t regularly get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, and I often wake up feeling tired.
2. I frequently skip breakfast, or settle for something that isn’t nutritious.
3. I don’t work out enough (cardio 3x/ wk and strength training 1x/wk).
4. I don’t take regular breaks during the day to truly renew and recharge, or I often eat lunch at my desk, if at all. This post less about educating us (we know the correct answers to the 4 questions) and more about providing life-impacting action ideas. In all of my years of life-coaching, physical energy improvement for my clients always has come down to sleep, stress and food. If we want ENERGY we need to inventory and intervene with change in these three areas. This is true for 90 year old independent adults as well as CEOs. Here are a few ideas:
1. Enhance our sleep by setting an earlier bedtime and reducing alcohol use (in life change it is likely easier to get to bed earlier than wake up later).
2. Reduce stress (notice I didn’t say “lose weight”) by engaging in cardiovascular activity at least 3 times a week and strength training at least once. Let’s not think of this an an exercise plan but an ENERGY prescription.
3. Eat small meals and light snacks every three hours (will we ever truly grasp that we NEED to eat less?).
4. Learn to notice signs of imminent energy flagging, including restlessness, yawning, hunger and difficulty concentrating.
5. Take brief but regular breaks, away from your desk, at 90- to 120-minute intervals throughout the day As always, I am here, or here (firstname.lastname@example.org) to answer more specific questions and provide strategies for YOU. Stay tuned……next time: Emotional Energy.