Three Tips to Living with Low Energy or Chronic Pain

 

Photo Credit: Stock.xchng photo


I have a secret. I am not an energetic person. Never have been–even as a kid, I got tired before everyone else. I was the one who was relieved when parents came to break up sleepover shenanigans so I could get some much-needed sleep. I was in a car accident years ago, and the residual pain taps my energy further while adding its own problems.

My practice focuses on the chronically ill, so I see a lot of people like me. Many of them have trouble mentally dealing with their health issues.  They feel like they’re missing out on life, or that all they can do is get the daily requirements done, then drag off for as much sleep as possible before doing it all again. They are constantly tired, and usually depressed.

I get frustrated at my energy levels, but all-in-all I handle them pretty well. I look at my life, and it is full–I go out with friends, I have a career that uses my talents, and a husband and cat who love me. I get a fair amount done most days, and stay better rested than I have been at any earlier point in my life. How do I do it? I’m glad you ask!

  • I accepted there were limitations. This idea is anathema to many. They want to fight with everything they have to get one more thing done, add one more activity, one more commitment, one more accomplishment. For those whose personality fits this lifestyle, it is great–the constant challenge energizes them, so fighting their limitations is a great coping strategy. Most of the people I see day-to-day don’t have this personality–they just wish they did. I stopped wishing for it a long time ago, and made a few policies: I rarely commit to extra responsibilities because I know I can’t be reliable at them.  If I get so little sleep that I cry when it’s time to get up, I cancel my day. I avoid places, other than my office, where sick people are likely to congregate–no trips to the drugstore during flu season, and no unnecessary gatherings with a gaggle of small children. Being sick takes a lot out of me, and since setting up this policy I have a lot less illness than I used to.
  • I eat well. As much as I used to like soft drinks and french fries, I almost never eat them now. I don’t digest either of them well, and the “hangover” of eating any kind of junk food gets in the way of the things I want to do. My husband and I invest a lot of our income on healthy food that tastes great. We both enjoy food, and both know how important it is to give our bodies good things. It was a lesson we have only really committed to in the past five years or so, but now that we have we get reap great dividends–a clear mind, better moods, and a gradual improvement in health all-around. My pain levels are usually very low, and my energy improves the better I eat.
  • I try to have only positive things in my life. Lest you think I live my life focused on what I can’t do and cannot eat, let me tell you my philosophy: I am a valuable commodity, I have a lot to give, and like any precious thing or entity, I must receive excellent care to be at my best. So I put as many good things into my life as I can. The lesson of positivity is relatively new for me–I used to feel that saying my life was going well was a form of bragging. Now I see it as a way to improve the world around me by not adding to the complaints that burden society. I try to look at my life with a positive perspective (“change your story, change your life“). I seek out positive people to read and emulate, like Michael Hyatt, Marc and Angel Chernoff, Chris Guillebeau, and others. Putting upbeat, can-do, honest words into my mind each day helps fight discouragement and gives me the raw materials to create my own positive creations. Taking care of my mind also gives me a safe place to deal with hard things. When I’m tired, cultivating a positive outlook means I don’t bow to discouragement as often, and dark days when I see only the negative are easier to turn around.

These are just three tips for dealing with fatigue and stress. They are simple, but not always easy. Do you have any tips you use for dealing with the issues in your life?

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    It’s All About Integrity

    Thanks to Krappweis for the photo.

    Twice a year, I do an inventory of my life. I look at what’s been working, what isn’t working, and what steps I can take to fix things. Reading that sentence, I am impressed at how proactive I am. The reality is not quite as nice.

    Until now, my inventories have been pretty informal. I’m a big-picture sort of gal, and coming up with all the specifics of how to track goals, and how to break down goals are not my strong points. So often, I know the general things that are better, or that need work, but the steps toward improvement are harder to make stick.

    I’ve let myself off the hook for years. “Play to my strengths,” I tell myself. “You’re doing your best,” I say encouragingly. I defined myself as organizationally challenged, so not meeting goals or having unrealistic timelines for accomplishments was just “me being me,” and therefore ok.

    This permitted mediocrity has become a little tiresome. Life is about living what I believe. I can do anything I put my mind to–maybe with some creative skirting around obstacles, and maybe with some unexpected side trips on the way–but my attitude and willingness to hold myself to high expectations are the keys to my success. Right now, true, I am not an organizational genius. I have no need to become someone who has every second pinned down, and a house so perfectly ordered I can do a magazine shoot with no warning. But I can streamline my life so that it works for me. And then I can better work for others.

    Living a life of integrity means you do what you believe. No compromise. If I’ve been given life as a blessing, I’m supposed to do something with it. I have to be striving for something. I have to move in the direction of my beliefs. Right now, issues in my life make it hard to be of service to my friends, family, and the world.  I’ve had enough.

    So starting now, I’m making new baselines. New levels that I have to meet to be ok with myself. I may change the standards as I tweak the system, but I won’t let the standards go. I won’t break appointments with myself for goal setting and evaluating without a true emergency. I will keep an up-to-date chart showing progress toward different goals. I will tackle laundry, bills, and other obnoxious parts of life at regular intervals because I hate falling behind. I will rest when I need to, and not feel guilty. There will be set exercise in my life, and there will be things I will not eat–starting now.

    I don’t like these new resolutions. But I hate seeing the person I want to be languishing. Years have passed. I’m not as young as I used to be. Time will run out someday. I’ve got things to do.

    How about you? Do you have goals you’ve let slide? Are they really important to you? If they aren’t important, throw them out. If they are, do whatever it takes to get to them. Life is too short to ignore your dreams.