Energy Management for the Chronically Busy

We’ve all been there….Out of energy, out of time but still, a dozen tasks remain on the to do list. The conundrum we face requires us to decide between much needed rest and adding those dozen extra things onto the next days list, which is already a mile long. If we stay up late and finish the list, our energy for the next days tasks is already low and chances are, that list is just as long.

I’ve noticed that my own to do lists are often compilations of previous lists and carryover from the day before. It feels daunting to start a day with so much on my plate and no wiggle room. Like, what if something doesn’t go as planned? After experiencing several major energy crashes and the after effects, I started to understand my own vicious cycle and began learning ways to manage my energy more efficiently. It’s a life in progress and challenging to make changes to systems that run deep and strong. As humans in America, we feel a particular need to be busy, hyper efficient, success driven and as parents, machines of perfection. I know men and women who are up until midnight finishing the days work and then up at 4am to get ready for the day ahead. For many of us, adulting looks something like this.

Prep 3 kids for school, get the dog to the vet, drop off someone’s forgotten lunch, squeeze in a yoga class, work a full time job, deliver said kids to after school activities and cheer them on, cook and clean, chaperone homework, be present for a partner, help the neighbor, support a friend, walk the dog, wipe the tears, plan for the future, stay in the moment, and enjoy life. Repeat daily.

When we realize just how much energy each of those things takes up, we plan a vacation. At the point of exhaustion, only then do we choose to rest and recalibrate. Hmmmmm.

As I have yet to master the art of shorter lists, I am starting with small steps. Maintaining the balance in my work schedule and allowing for ample downtime on a regular basis is not easy but the efforts continue to pay off. Resuming a daily yoga practice is a highlight, along with my weekly self care day, time for family and friends, and a new hobby, watercolors!

All the stresses and long days are manageable with a well rested mind and body. Listening to your machine and fueling it with nutritious foods can be a challenge but there are a few ways (other than weekly meal prep) to enjoy good food during the workday. Since it’s easy to start a day with healthy options; for me it’s a fresh fruit smoothie, I find that mid day is a challenge. As hairstylists, lunch is sometimes 6 minutes and not all of them are together. Here are some of my favorite energy management foods…and yes, I have cute lunch boxes!

The Classic- peanut butter and honey sandwich, cheese, fruit, pretzel thins

Pit Stop- oranges, carrots, hummus, pretzel thins, cheese

Rainy Day- soup (thermos!) hummus, toast, fruit

AM/PM- chicken sandwich, fruit, nuts, cheese, chocolate

Hot Tip- prepping everything in snack size bites means I can refuel and go, kind of like a race car pit stop!

Dinner is my favorite meal. I love to cook and even at the end of a day behind the chair, the act of preparing food, the smells, the sounds and of course the flavors, are worth the energy. Here is where prepping ahead is my friend….I plan two big meals a week that have leftovers for lunches or late dinner and 3 nights a week prepare fresh food, using cookbooks as inspiration. I prep veggies and other items in the morning so it’s not a daunting task to make a meal after work. This leaves time, money and energy for a spontaneous backyard barbecue or a night out at my favorite sushi spot. Win win!

Start by setting aside 5 minutes a day to focus on what your mind and body need. Listen and work towards honoring that call. Maybe days off aren’t in the cards but a daily bubble bath is. Whatever you can do to begin reconnecting the wires, slowing the pace enough to breathe and actually live this beautiful life is a step in the direction of freedom. Understanding how we manage our energy allows us to savor it deeply, use it efficiently, and manifest more abundantly.

Power up luvvies!!

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