Last week we started a conversation about energy. In a recent survey I did out to my community, hundreds of women told me that one of the main issues in their life is lack of energy. And let’s face, many women are just flat out exhausted. Yet we often don’t talk about it. We think we need to be all glossy and looking like we have all of our stuff together, and that doesn’t include talking about just how tired we really are.
But the reality is that if you stop to have a real conversation with women around you, and stand in your vulnerability for a minute, you would realise that those women you look at and admire for having their shit together, are mostly just like you – simply trying to get through it all.
So this week, let’s look at five of the well tested tools to help bring your energy back, and see if you can get some pep in your step this week. I know that for most of my private clients, this is one of most important conversations we have on an ongoing basis. I hope it helps you too.
Five energy remedies that will help.
1. Get more sleep. Yeah, I know you knew this was coming first. It’s a no brainer. And yet we still wear our busyness and ability to exist on nano sleep as a badge of honour. Well, some of us do. I gave up that charade about a decade ago after my last burn out. Research tells us we need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. You read that right. Now for carers or parents of small children, you just do the best you can while you may be having interrupted sleep. But for the rest of us, there really are no excuses.
Sleep is a choice. The quality of your sleep can be improved. Set up a bedtime routine for yourself. An hour before bed, try and turn off the devices. As research from Harvard Medical School tells us, the blue LED light in our devices is a hormone disruptor and will interrupt your sleep patterns. Make some relaxing tea, douse yourself in some calming essential oils like lavender, camomile or vetiver. Read something to help you wind down. Do a few restorative yoga poses. Then lights out. In bed with lights out by 10.30pm is a good rule for many women, especially if you can sleep until 6.30am ensuring your eight hours. If you need to wake earlier, then yes you guessed it, try and get to bed earlier. Try this for a few weeks with discipline and see what impact it makes. For some great tips on sleep from a Doctor who knows, check out this article from Oprah.com. More sleep is the ticket to everything energy related. Do this for a month and see the difference for yourself.
2. Meditate. Yes you can. Trust me you can. When I’m out speaking and teaching wellness and resiliency practices, I can literally see the walls of resistance go up when I start taking about meditation as a tool to improve, well, everything. I can imagine those little cartoon air bubbles coming out of peoples heads with things like ‘yeah I’ve tried but….’ written in them, and comments like, ‘but I can’t stop my thoughts from coming,’ or ‘my mind is too busy,’ or ‘I get bored,’ and often ‘I just fall asleep.’ I’ve seen and heard them all. It’s called resistance. I get it, as I was there for a long time too.
But here are some truths. Meditation practice is proven to give you the energy equivalent of good sleep. This alone should be a reason to get to you sit and focus on your breath for ten minutes, let alone the other hundred plus reasons why we meditate. If you want more energy, to feel calmer and more rested, and clearer of mind, then learn to sit. You can use an app like Headspace for a guided meditation, or a mantra, or sit and breath with intention. All of your thoughts don’t need to vanish from your mind. Just keep coming back to your point of focus. Committed practice is key here. Trust me, it’s worth it. I’ll do a dedicated blog on meditation soon with the science + spirit of it, so watch out for that.
3. Eat for energy. What do you really put in your body on a daily basis (you can tell me, we’re all friends here)? Eating for energy and nourishment is a completely different thing than eating purely for pleasure. I should know. I have overhauled my eating habits dramatically in the past year, losing excess weight and gaining a beautiful amount of health and energy in the process. I follow an Ayurvedic, mostly vegan diet. It works for me. That doesn’t mean you have to follow it. We all thrive on different things, the important part is working out what that looks like for you. You can read all the advice in the world, but I have found the only way to really know is to experiment.
That said, I would suggest looking at where you get your nourishment, what food gives you energy, and what leaves you slumped over your desk at 3pm. Infusing green drinks, wholefoods, vegies, pure water, healthy teas, supportive supplements, herbs and minerals, will all support your system with positive high vibes and energy to burn (as will cutting out or limiting things like sugar, processed foods, over dosing on caffeine and moderating alcohol). Write down for one week what you are consuming then see what can be cut out replaced with better options. You can also track your energy along with your food and liquid intake to see the patterns of what actually happens when you eat and for the hours afterwards. You may be surprised that some things you thought were good for you are actually things that are sapping your energy. Track it and see.
4. Do yoga. Yoga literally changed my life. I had dabbled in yoga for years but it wasn’t until I had my burnout in my mid thirties that I really felt called to practice. And practice I did, even completing my yoga teacher training to go really deep. Let’s bust some myths about the practice. It’s not just stretching, but you will stretch. You don’t need to be flexible or touch your toes. When I used to get big tall muscle guys in my class who complained about not being about to reach their toes, I told them to bend their knees. Like magic, there are your toes!
There is the asana practice, but you can get beyond the physical asana into the other limbs of yoga (there are 8) if you choose too. It will soothe your spirit, your mind and your body, all in the one practice. I recommend you find a local studio and take a beginners class if you haven’t practiced before. For those more experienced, there are heaps of apps and online programs you can use if time is of the essence. For me, I practice with a highly experienced Iyengar/Ashtanga teacher 3-5 times a week, as well as doing my own morning practice. It takes dedication, but it’s one of the core anchors of my health and wellbeing. For some great practices and guidance on yoga and energy, check out this page on Yoga Journal.
5. Get yourself checked. I recommend to many of my coaching clients who are consistently low on energy to go and see an Integrative Doctor. This is a Doctor who looks at your system holistically – from your blood work through to your emotions and lifestyle – and treats you from the root cause. This may involve any number of tests, from simple standard blood tests, to live blood work (pin prick of blood looked at under a live monitor), testing your hormones through your saliva (you spit into a little test tube) and all manner of other things. It is the truest way to really see what is going on with your energy and health, and look beyond the superficial to see if there is anything underlying causing your tiredness. I highly recommend this as your next check up.
I hope this has been helpful. These are the basics. There are many more practices I am writing about in my new book, and much more on my site, to support your energy and wellbeing.
P.S It’s on this week!!! Are you coming to the Real Women Event on May 3 in Sydney? We will be talking all things Simple + Intentional Living – and yes, managing your energy will be a big part of it! We have a small number of tickets left. I really hope to see you there.