The second in this series on increasing you energy NOW is a very important and often overlooked source of energy. It is something that is almost impossible for some to do, but it is vital to our sense of well-being and joy.
Increase Your Energy Now, Tip #2
Take Time for Self-Care
Whenever I talk about self-care, I often get a couple different responses: 1. What's that?!, or 2. I don't have time for that.
Self-care is an integral part of restoring our mental and emotional energy so that we can be more present and can be responders instead of reactors. Have you ever studied all day or worked on a project at work for hours on end? Have you ever dealt with irritated and needy kids/spouse/boss/family members all day? If so, you know the mental and emotional strain I am talking about.
It can feel like your brain has dulled and your nerves are stretched tight. You are weary, the strain of concentrating and holding yourself together has settled in to you shoulder blades. You haven't done much physical work (perhaps), but your body is tired.
Self-care gives us an opportunity to take care of ourselves, to recharge our batteries in a way which is deeply healing and restorative. It can provide us the energy we need to come back to our responsibilities, our jobs, and our families and friends with renewed patience and care.
Self-care can be:
- taking time to get a massage.
- taking a mental break from your tasks to spend 10 minutes in quiet contemplation or meditation.
- doing 5 to 10 minutes of breathing exercises (even taking several deep breaths can be a good example of self-care).
- spending 10 minutes engaged in a mindfulness exercise. Stop what you're doing, head for the nearest window, or just sit where you are. Then just allow your senses to experience everything that is happening. If it is noisy and hectic where you, try to get a quiet place. Just be and feel with all your senses.
- allow someone else to help you. This one can be very hard for some people, but often the act of letting go of a task can free up mental and emotional space for us to focus.
- Taking a 20 minute nap. There is research that shows that just 20 minutes of napping during the day can improve alertness and productivity. See this article archived at medicinenet.com from WebMD: The Sweet Science of Dozing.
Self-care should not be:
- gorging yourself on a large meal.
- going out and spending on things you can't afford or don't want or need.
- using any substance (alcohol, drugs, food) to alleviate your strain.
I'm not saying these are all bad things to do, I am saying that when we are already mentally and emotionally drained, it can be easy to do things which we wouldn't do if we were fully energized. We can set ourselves up for feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse which are some of the biggest drains of energy out there.
Allow yourself the gift of self-care; it is an important part of being a healthy, well-functioning adult, and it frees up mental and emotional space to be present and to conduct our lives the way we really want to.
See #1 in this series: 20 Tips to Help You Increase Your Energy NOW, #1.