I sometimes feel as if I should be a part of a particular support group. Like: “Hi, my name is Nat, and it’s been two days since my energy was low.”
Because I’ve been struggling with low energy forever if I’m being perfectly honest, but I’ve only been truly aware of it for the past few years.
If you are a woman, you probably feel this during a particular time of the month, and you should know it’s perfectly normal. I don’t want to get too scientific about it but, as I understand it, our progesterone levels get higher, and that makes us more sleepy, tired, and it’s nature’s way of getting us to stay put and safe because there might be a new life forming inside us.
Isn’t that beautiful? Nature is so wise.
Well, only when you don’t have a boss, a deadline, or the thousands of things we need to get done during the day.
So what do we do?
Well, as someone who can barely get out of bed, I’ve designed a few strategies that help, especially during those particular days when hormones are against you.
We are lucky enough to be living in times that science is proving all our most basic needs to be fundamental (I know, right?). And according to the world’s leading neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker, Ph.D. sleep is universal; even worms do it!
According to him in his book Why We Sleep:
“(…) sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day—Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death.”
So my take on that one is quite simple: I go to bed at least 1 hour earlier than habitual.
I have found to need around 8/8:30 hours of sleep on a regular day. And that can be increased to up to 9 hours during that period. (Yikes!) I know it might seem like way too much, but I guarantee it’s going to make a difference.
Clarity means not having to make a lot of decisions during the day, and remember: every decision is going to require some energy of you. Because on those days I have so little, to begin with, I need to be very mindful about them.
So first things first: I track my cycle and set up reminders beforehand for those days.
Every Sunday evening, I plan for the week: all the meetings, calls, workshops I’m going to teach, and I plan accordingly: that means bedtimes, Epson salt baths, sauna, and exercise (we’ll get a bigger perspective on that one next).
I don’t typically enjoy over-structured days, but I genuinely welcome them once a month.
I’ve been practicing meditation consistently for over thirteen years, and only for the past few, I’ve added an extra practice in the morning right after getting up.
I think talking about how fantastic meditation is for you is almost redundant at this point, although I will share my take on it and why I decided to add an extra practice in my day.
The kind of practice I do has a precise goal to stop the thinking process. And that by itself gives my mind a rest, space for creativity, more focus, and less need for “distractions.”
#4: Energy Breaks
We, as humans, all have rhythms. You’ve probably heard about the circadian rhythm that regulates our biological processes that are tied to 24-hour cycles (circadian comes from the Latin circa + dies, which means “around a day”).
But did you know there’s such a thing as ultradian rhythms? Ultra means “beyond,” meaning it happens more often than every 24 hours. More specifically, ultradian rhythms refer to periods of about 90 minutes.
After getting that information from peak performance research, every time I sit down to work, or study, or even during meetings, I set a timer for 90 minutes. When it goes off, I take a 15 to 20-minute break that will provide rest for your mind.
My favorites are reading, listening to music, going for a short walk, taking a nap, going to the sauna, and caring for my plants. Note that reading emails, watching TV, scrolling through social medial will enervate instead of energizing you.
#5: A Good Cup Of Joe
Now I saved this one up for last because I don’t think it’s a good strategy. I only use it in case of emergencies, and even so in a minimal amount!
Before I tell you more about it, let me ask you this: do you know how caffeine works? Usually, we drink it and think it gives us energy, but what it does is mask our fatigue. It prevents our brain from knowing we are tired.
All of that doesn’t mean we should never drink it! But we need to be strategic about it. So I save my super small portions only to use when my energy is low and only once, early in the morning.
You also want to keep in mind caffeine has a half-life of 5-8 hours, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine like I am, you might want to have a curfew for it. Mine is 10 am, and I only drink around 80 mL, which is approximately 4 mg of caffeine.
I hope you will put those strategies to use, and if you have some of your own, how about sharing them with me in the comments? I’d love to connect!
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