Hacking Your Energy Cycles

Everyone has some times that they are energetic, optimistic, and ready to take on the world. And other times when anything more than curling up to read a book is exhausting. While we often have to work through low energy times, working with our energy cycles whenever possible helps build feelings of accomplishment and confidence, and gives us leeway when our enertgy is low. Here are some ways to work with your energy:

Keep notes. I only recently realized that I have great energy about two weeks out of the month, mediocre energy for about one week, and almost no energy at all for on sad week each month. Because I didn’t see the pattern, I scheduled big projects when I was least able to do them. Now that I see the pattern, I look at my month and plan accordingly. How do you learn your energy cycle? Document it. The fastest way is to spend 6 seeks and set an alarm on your phone for every 4 hours (except when you’re sleeping). When the alarm goes off each time, mark your energy. You can use a smiley face, neutral face, or frowny face, writing “good,” “so-so,” or “awful,” or whatever works for you. Using the four-hour timetable over six weeks should help you catch patterns you might otherwise miss.
Plan. I’m not a super structured person. Detailed schedules frustrate me, and it has been a journey to find a way to organize my time that works for me. I now plan big chunks of time for a type of activity, and go from there. So I have my clinic hours,  and set times for writing, housework, continuing education, and the mundane stuff–bookkeeping, catching up on notes and mail, etc. Building more of the things that take more creativity or grit in my good times frees up time for the easier “fun” activities when I’m not feeling my best.
Be flexible. Anytime you are dealing with the vagaries of your body and mind, treating it like a much loved toddler is helpful. Sometimes you see your toddler acting up by refusing to concentrate, wanting to have fun instead of work, or resisting a schedule. If you have children, or pets, or have ever read any books on caring for either, you know that behavior issues can have different causes, and it takes time to learn which method of dealing with an issue is best. Sometimes your inner toddler is tired, and a 20 minute nap can work wonders. Other times she is bored; a quick spontaneous change of schedule can help restore a desire to accomplish. Still other times, there is fear or trying to fight a boundary you’ve made from some sort of self-sabotage mechanism (this doesn’t really describe a real toddler so much, but use that flexibility for my analogy, too please). For these time, gentle tough love must come into play. “We don’t get our break until we finish paying the bills,” followed by a lot of praise afterwards, may be the necessary remedy.
Improvement. If your energy levels are lower than you’d like, take steps to improve them. Is your diet aimed at keeping you healthy while still enjoying your food? Are you exercising in the amounts and forms that most benefit you? Do you get enough sleep? Is there a health issue that you have put off getting checked out? Taking care of your health is a side of self-care that yields tremendous dividends in productivity and profit. If there is an issue that continually gets in the way of you meeting your dreams, take it on.
I am available for wellness coaching and Chinese medicine consultation. My goal is to help you live the energy-filled life you want.

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