We have this precious commodity called our “energy”. I define it as our fuel, our power, our strength, our vitality and our passion to live our lives well. How energetic are you? Do your daily choices boost your energy or zap it? Here are my top six energy boosters and zappers:
Top Six Energy Boosters
1. Being active every day. The human body was designed to move. I move mine often by hiking in the ravine near my house, playing hockey and taking frequent breaks from work at my computer (which includes dancing in my living room). Remember, sitting is the new smoking!
2. Eating well. I eat three relatively small, balanced meals and two or three small, healthy snacks each day. I eat mostly whole, less processed foods with an emphasis on nutrient-dense foods (lean protein sources, low fat dairy), along with lots of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and beans) and some fatty fish (like salmon). I drink plenty of fluids (mostly in the form of tea, both green and herbal). I also leave room for fun foods, like chocolate! Yum!
3. Getting enough sleep. Sleep restores, rejuvenates and refreshes. A good sleep routine matters. Letting go of worry, especially at night helps too.
4. Not overloading my schedule. This means leaving time for stillness, spontaneity, fun and creativity. It means leaving time for love.
5. Following my bliss. I get energy from doing what excites me most. For me, this includes studying, speaking and writing about being healthy, happy and free.
6. Spending time with people who love me. Kind, compassionate people who care and want the best for me inspire me to dream bigger, reach higher, and do more. Love is an amazing energizer!
Top Six Energy Zappers
1. Wanting or needing to be perfect. My desire for perfection is strong – for myself and others, including the people I love most. Perfectionism, however, can be exhausting and doesn’t serve me (or others) well. Better is to treat myself with kindness and compassion, especially when I fall or feel less than, and to appreciate what being human really means (not being perfect!). It’s important to know when enough is enough.
2. Not feeling my feelings. When I stuff or ignore my feelings, ultimately I suffer. Feelings denied are carried, like anger, sadness and hurt. It takes a lot of energy to carry the hard stuff. What I feel, I can let go.
3. Not having boundaries. Not saying “no”. There is only so much time in a day. Protecting my time and space, especially from people and situations that don’t feel good, is important.
4. Pretending. It takes a lot of energy to pretend about anything, including who I am, what I want or what I feel. It takes much less energy to be open, honest, and real. Here’s to being real.
5. Wanting what I don’t have. Wanting my life to be different (I call it “I’ll be happy when… syndrome) depletes my energy big time. Worrying about the future or being dragged down by my past does the same. Much better is to live in today, for today. It takes the least amount of energy of all.
6. Spending time with unhappy people. Spending time with depressed, sad, complaining or angry people who are stuck and have no desire to change is draining. I can encourage and support these people, but ultimately change has to come from within. In contrast, spending time with happy people who are really going places inspires and energizes me to get going too!
Conserve, preserve and boost your energy. It’s precious! Let go of being perfect, pretending, worry and wanting what you don’t have. Say “no”, create boundaries and feel your feelings (even the hard ones!). Eat well, stay active and get enough sleep. Leave time for you. Follow your bliss. Spend time with happy people, especially the ones that love you most!