The art of managing our energy levels

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

It’s been a humbling experience to see how little energy I’ve had recently. Basic tasks which I would usually do without thinking have taken a large amount of effort.

Sometimes this is about my mind – logistical tasks like doing washing or cooking food can get overwhelming the more I complicate it in my head. I’m probably as indecisive as I’ve ever been – when I don’t know what I want to eat I can change my mind several times within a few minutes. Even deciding on a Youtube video to put on in the background seems like a difficult endeavour.

The answer is often to get out of the head and do more physical activity. That has helped, though unfortunately I’m still finding it very tiring to do things physically too. Even actions like going to the supermarket can be really tiring. It was quite sobering to see how attending one Toastmasters evening for a few hours left me completely wiped out. This feels very different to a few months ago where I would do a full day of work followed by things on most evenings of the week without issue.

I’ve needed to learn to be very discerning with how I spend my energy. Whereas before I could seemingly conjure life force out of thing air, in my current period of fatigue it’s been pretty tricky.

The positive about this is that by being more energy-conscious, I’m seeing how much I would previously use inefficiently. Retreating into my shell has been good to see where I’m putting in energy in places (pursuits, hobbies, people) that don’t really yield a whole lot of positive results.

It also means that I need to be a lot more intentional about what I choose to do, as well as giving myself more leeway for shortcuts than I would have given myself in the past. In social settings, I’ve allowed myself escape routes (i.e. leaving early), for dinner, I’ve often shifted to meal replacement shakes when too overwhelmed with cooking. I’ve also kept my days relatively free with room for flexibility in case I simply do not have the energy to do things.

When we’re in the constant rush of life, we can get into a habit of expending a lot of wasted energy. This slow-down period for me has shown how much that’s been the case.

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