09 January 2013

Energy Boosters!

Dear Lissy,

You sparkle with joie de vivre as you skip, spin, sing and dance your way through the days. But even you, my little sunshine, often lack energy for school or chores.  I'm listing the energy boosters I've found for myself over the years in hopes they will help you when you're first adjusting to working full time or you're a new momma who's a little overwhelmed.

First, what do I mean by energy?

  Energy: a combination of motivation, focus and mood 

Turns out that time management is pretty over-rated.  What we really need is more energy.  More motivation.  More focus.  That feeling (yes, I'm using the "f" word!) that you want to do something rather than have to or should.  

When I have focus, motivation, and a good mood, I can move mountains (or at least organize the attic).

Even with a great plan and schedule, I procrastinate if my focus and motivation are low and I'm in a funk.

Secondly, everyone has different energizers.  Sometimes just realizing "that doesn't work for me" is enough to help you find what does work.  Compiling this list has been a pinch of reality for me, too.  I realize as I typed this how many times I unwittingly sabotage my energy with poor choices.
  • Sleep:  I need 6 hours at night and a 1-1/2 hour afternoon or early evening nap for optimum energy.  I can get by on a 7-1/2 hour night if I have to, but my afternoon energy levels are wicked low.
  • No carbs after breakfast.  This includes fruit, grains, starchy veg, and even sugar in a cuppa tea or coffee.
  • 45 minutes to 1 hour of moderate exercise.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Schedule around very high or low temperatures.  My motivation takes a nosedive if the weather is hot and humid or the place I'm working is chilly.
  • Establish routines.
  • Set a timer.
  • Just start/start small.
  • Mentally assessing how this activity will serve, nurture, or grow a relationship.  
  • Get dressed for the activity.  
  • A planned break (especially if it includes a cuppa!)
  • Opposites energize.  Work alone?  Relax with someone, even if it's just a phone call.  Work with another person or group?  Relax alone.  Parenting a baby or toddler?  Schedule time with adults regularly.  Working in a high stress "adult" job? Plan something fun to unwind.  I also try to alternate tasks that are heavily physically and mentally.
  • Audio books or a class during repetitive physical tasks like folding laundry or going for a walk.
  • Epic music during mindful tasks like making dinner.
  • Solitude and absolute quiet for mentally demanding tasks.  
  • Simple, clean, organized spaces.  Clutter is one of my biggest de-motivators.  You're a collector, so this might be the opposite for you.
  • Table for reading or working.
  • Assignment or work for another person/group.
  • Visible reminders (whiteboard, notes on fridge, etc.)
  • Being authentic.  An action that reinforces what I think I should be growing towards will energize me and others I live with
    • Exercise:  I stay healthy not because of a 45 minute walk, but because that 45 minutes of exercise gives me motivation, focus, and a good mood that empowers healthy choices for the rest of the day.  It also motivates the three of you to get in a workout.
    • Devotions:  Spending time with the Lord changes my heart and mind, energizing me to obey Him and relate to others on a biblical level.  I've also seen regular time in the Word and prayer become a priority in each of your lives because of the importance I place on that time.
    • Keeping House:  I try to keep a tidy, well-run home and serve regular, nutritious meals because those tasks directly affect the motivation, focus, and mood of everyone in our home.
  • Beautifully designed, well-made tools.
  • Skill mastery.  
  • A deadline and/or achievable short term goals.
  • A well crafted plan.
  • Accountability.
  • Knowing my natural energy rhythms and working with, not against them.
and last, but certainly not least, 
  • Enabling grace.  There are always going to be days when I'm feeling drained, tired, or both.  It never ceases to amaze me how Christ will give me all the energy (focus, motivation, and mood) I require when I just bring my poor, sorry self to Him and beg for help. 
Wishing I could go for a walk with you today!  (What year is it now?  2030 or so?)

P.S.  There are many energy boosters that involve another person. A word of encouragement from someone you respect, a mentor that faithfully meets with you, or a roommate/spouse that works out with you are all wonderful motivators.  I've only included the ones here that you potentially control.

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