What To Do When You're Low On Energy

Confession: over the last few weeks, I feel like I have run out of energy.

Between the clocks changing, work slowing down and the weather feeling much cooler, I’ve fallen out of routine and, to be really honest, feel like a bit of a slug getting around most days.

Now, this is not my style at all. I enjoy being busy - catching up with friends, exercising, working on my business and writing to you guys.

So you can imagine my brain started going a little crazy when those activities fell away and I found myself nodding along to the Netflix notification that my next episode would be starting in 10 seconds.

‘What’s wrong with you?’
‘Get up and do something’
‘You are way behind on your to do list’

Thanks brain! But of course, berating myself wasn’t working or making me feel any better. I took a new perspective and tried these steps instead.

Be kind to yourself

Instead of beating myself up, I took a step back and looked at what was going on.

I’m not a robot who is going to feel the same way and do the same things every day for the rest of my life. I’m going to have ups and downs and feel different week to week and year to year.

Once I accepted this, it took a big load off and I could just accept that I wasn’t running at full steam at the moment.

Appreciate what you had

A few weeks ago, pre-energy slump, I was probably begrudging my busy schedule and responsibilities - and ironically, now I missed them!

The grass is not always greener and I know when I’m back to feeling energetic again, I’m going to bear in mind how much I missed that busy life I created for myself.

Just do something

The other night, while feeling tired after work, I thought: 

‘I’ll just get the laundry on, and will make it a bit more fun by listening to a podcast while I do it.’

After that, I knew I could sit down again and rest.

Lo and behold, once I got the laundry on, I started doing a few other things around the house, then felt ready to reply to some emails I’d been putting off.

My energy level rose as I went and after about an hour of productivity, I was ready to chill out again, knowing I’d made some progress. Don’t push yourself here but doing small things can make you feel much better.

What do you do when you’re in a slump? Let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook.

 

How To Get Through A Tough Time

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A major purpose of this blog is to get real with you readers and to reassure you that you’re doing a great job, even if your life is not as perfect as you think it should be.

As I mentioned back in August, I was going through a tough patch - luckily something I haven’t been through in a long time.

While in the midst of one of these rough times, it can feel all consuming, like it will never end and like you never appreciated the ‘normal’ times.

It reminds me of when I get a cold - sore throat, runny nose, the works - and I realise I was never grateful for all the days I was healthy with a clear nose and fully functioning throat! 

So during this period I read, listened and soul searched through as much self-help collateral as I could find.

And you know what? There was no quick fix... sorry readers. 

But - I did pick up a few strategies that helped ease the pain and that I will remind myself of in future hard times.

Treat yourself like your best friend

When going through a tough time, it’s so easy to beat ourselves up and berate ourselves about getting over it as quickly as we can.

Negative self talk can come in - voices telling you that you're being weak, too emotional, too easily affected. None of this helped me.

What did help was imagining one of my best friends coming to me with a problem - would I tell her to get over it and stop being so stupid?

No, I would listen to her and make her cups of tea, and take her on long walks and hop on the couch with her to watch her favourite movies. So what did I do? I did all these things with myself.

Another thing I found helped was doing things that made me feel capable - getting involved in a tough work project or helping a friend or family member with a task I have skills in. It helped distract me and made me feel useful and worthy.

Don’t deny the negative emotions

Again, it’s so tempting to mock ourselves for feeling down and in turn try and bury any negative emotions.

Sure, thinking positively and expressing gratitude helped me, but fighting against the negative emotions did not. They were going to be there whether I kicked and screamed against them or not.

As Dr Russ Harris notes in his amazing book The Happiness Trap, we can make room for negative emotions even if we don’t like them, and they will often start to come and go without too much fuss. It also seemed at times that I was addicted to these negative emotions because I was constantly replaying negative scenarios associated with my problem. Again, fighting aginst that did not work. 

Molly Mahar also said a great quote that helped me with during this time and that was to ‘trust that when you are ready you will start to climb out’...

Accept the different seasons of life

I won’t post any frivolous quotes here but I’m sure you’ve heard the concept - how can we appreciate the positive seasons of life without the negative?

Not every year or season of life is going to be up, and if anything a slump makes us appreciate the neutral, so-called 'boring' times of life, or even better, the happy seasons.

It’s the nature of being human and I accept there will be plenty more crazy seasons to come. If you are going through a dark phase, I want you to know it will pass and one day you will look back upon it and it won’t seem as all consuming as it does right now.

Hang in there, be super gentle with yourself and put one foot in front of the other, day after day, and eventually it will be ok. I promise.