How would you like to have more energy? How would you like to bound out of bed in the mornings, at 6am or earlier, ready to take on the day? How would you like to stop feeling lethargic and fatigued, and start feeling light and vibrant?
Today we’re talking about ENERGY MANAGEMENT – so you can maximise the energy you currently have and start building strong habits to increase your energy levels. You can also access my FREE Energy-Boosting Resource Toolkit at the end of the article!
What is energy management? It is putting an effective plan in place to manage and maximise your personal energy levels on a daily basis. We’ll talk about:
- Managing your personal energy levels to maximise your effectiveness and joy
- Understanding your energy personality, so that you can nourish your own energy levels intuitively
- Building a foundation of daily habits to support your energy
We all have multiple demands on our energy, from work to personal and everything in-between. As a yoga teacher, I see that people turn to retreats as a solution for their burnout crisis. Stress is pandemic and what many of us don’t realise is the toll that it can take on your health, both short and long-term. A few days on retreat is NO SOLUTION for a chaotic life that is in bad need of an energy management overhaul. We are allowing ourselves to become drained energetically on a daily basis – but a simple foundation of habits can help us turn that situation around.
We know that prevention is better than cure, so today’s topic is all about managing your energy on a day-to-day basis so that you can live your best life, without the burnout! That way, a retreat becomes an added blessing to a joyful life, rather than something you resort to in times of crisis and stress.
What I’m trying to say is, there is no need for things to get that out of hand. You don’t have to feel depleted. We all feel overwhelmed at times, but there are a few simple steps you can take daily to nourish your energy levels. You CAN take your energy management into your own hands to feel incredibly energised, motivated and invigorated…
Effective energy management is just as important as time management. I have talked on the blog before about time management, its importance in your life and some ideas to help you manage your time effectively. I advocate blending both time and energy management strategies into your daily routine.
This quote DEFINITELY translates into energy management as well. Let’s keep on rolling with the money analogies… In order to manage your energy effectively, you have to be aware of your energy account balance: incoming energy and outgoing energy. Just like with budgeting your money, you need to be aware how you SPEND your energy, where you WASTE your energy, how to SAVE energy and how to MAXIMISE your energy.
There are 3 main sources of energy: food, sleep and breath. The basis of your overall health and energy levels depend on this golden trio. This is your foundation for consistent levels of personal energy. If one of these aspects is out of balance, your energy levels will suffer.
Food: Use your intuition and listen to what your body tells you. Your body is the best judge. Every body is different, and while this article is not about nutrition, food quality is very important. Eat whole foods, lots of veggies and fresh produce. Limit processed and sugary foods (empty calories), too much caffeine or alcohol. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea throughout the day. Use common sense and listen to your body. If you find that you are chronically tired you can also look into taking an iron supplement (especially as a vegetarian, like me!)
Sleep: When it comes to sleep, everyone is different. Personally, I like 9 hours of sleep – which seems like a lot to most people. I can do 8 pretty happily, but 9 for me is optimum. Anything less than 8 hours makes me jittery, tired, irritated and short-tempered for the whole day. Sleep is vital to maximising your energy potential. Sleep allows you to heal, grow and recover on a physical level. Your subconscious and deeper levels of mind communicate and digest the experiences of your day during deep sleep. As Menander said, “sleep is a healing balm for every ill.”
Breath: Breath is a subtle and beautiful companion to us throughout life. Some of us are hardly aware of our breath as we go through our day. However, it is the most POWERFUL tool that you have for energy management. Deep and slow breathing (through the nose) oxygenates every cell in your body. It alkalises your system, keeping you at optimum health (cancer grows in an acidic environment). It connects you with the present moment. From a Yogic perspective, the majority of your energy comes to you through the breath, in the form of prana, or subtle vitalising life-force.
A few dynamic breaths (like bhastrika) of fresh air can take us from lethargic and tired to bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Think gulping lungfuls of crisp air on top of a mountain… Breathing makes us feel alive.
Often times, as soon as we improve even ONE of these areas, we see a MASSIVE improvement in energy levels, sometimes way beyond what we expected. Nutrition, sleep and breath are the foundation of a healthy, energetic life.
So now that we know where our energy comes from, what do we spend it on?
Depending on whether you are an INTROVERT or an EXTROVERT, your energy will be directed differently. Introverts frequently report that they need a lot of time and space alone in order to ‘recover’ from spending time with others. On the other hand, extroverts will freely seek association with other people, and tend to stagnate and become bored when they are alone.
A draining experience for one person can be an invigorating experience for someone else. You need to understand how your energy behaves in order to manage it effectively. Pay attention to how you feel in different situations – alone and with others. Take time to nurture the introverted aspect of yourself that needs to unwind in solitude. Spend meaningful time with loved ones and friends when you need company and support.
As much as possible, spend time with activities that energise you. If you are introverted, that could be a personal hobby like journaling or pottery. If you are extroverted, it could be a group sport activity or inviting friends over for dinner.
There are some activities that we think may be energetically draining, but that leave us “tired, but happy” – and exercise is one of these. Even though we spend energy during exercise, we boost our endorphins – so we increase our mental and emotional energy. In the long run, consistent exercise also helps our physical energy levels and stamina. If you’re not sure whether an activity will feed or deplete your energy levels, look at how it makes you FEEL afterwards. For example, climbing a mountain is tiring, but makes us feel fantastic and vibrant – whereas a conversation with a self-involved, moaning colleague can be incredibly draining!!
Try to avoid energy-draining situations when you can. Prioritise your own energy needs and know when to say ‘no’, or at least ‘not right now, thanks.’ Plan time for replenishing your energy when you make a big ‘energy spend’. I’ll talk a little more below about self-care for replenishing your energy levels.
Some quick tips for energy management:
- take frequent breaks while you work
- learn to say ‘no’ and set healthy boundaries that work for YOU
- have a ‘happy place’ to imagine and retreat to in stressful/boring times (when you can’t escape!)
- have someone to vent to
- keep a journal of your energy levels, get to know what energises and drains you
Dedicate time to yourself each day to replenish your energy levels for body, mind and soul. It may be yoga, meditation, journaling, self-massage or a combination of these and more! Caring for yourself allows you to have enough energy to show up for the world. Nobody can give their best energetic self if they are feeling depleted or run-down. You can top up your energy levels through daily self-care.
Prioritise yourself. Prioritise your self-care. You matter. Your energy matters! By developing an attitude of self-care, you affirm to yourself your own importance. Your own worth and value. When you practice your self-care ritual with an attitude of gratitude and love towards yourself, you amplify the effects of your self-care.
Conscious self-care is an incredibly giving and self-assuring practice, and allows you to feel abundant in your energy. More and more, you will find that your energy is overflowing. You will have more energy to offer others, and you will handle previously draining situations with ease. The more you give to yourself, the more you will have to give to others.
I will speak more about self-care in future blog posts and videos, as it is a huge subject and so at the core of living joyfully.
We cannot save up energy for a rainy day. Energy is flowing, transforming from one place to another. The sun perpetually shines, radiating energy all the time. It doesn’t hold back, it doesn’t try to conserve energy. We are connected to a similar source of energy, like a cosmic eternal sun. Yoga and in particular, meditation can bring you closer to this aspect of yourself, closer to source. Practicing on a daily basis will put you into contact with that part of yourself that gives without condition, that is always full and overflowing with abundance. The more we dwell in this place of ourselves, the more energy flows – effortlessly – into our daily life.
If this sounds a bit woo-woo for you, that’s okay.
There are profound and sometimes strange experiences that don’t always translate well into words. The only way is to experience them, and those experiences come with time and practice. The deeper and more subtle aspects of energy management naturally arise as you spend time with the deeper and more subtle aspects of yourself. As you get to know these aspects of yourself, your intuition will become sharper and you will be able to listen to what you need to care for and explore those aspects.
I always recommend finding a teacher who you can talk to in-person to help you discover and learn as you go deeper. It also helps to have a ‘buddy’ who is at a similar stage and who will understand some of the revelations that come to you. They say that “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
So much for the deeper aspects of energy management.
Are you ready to overhaul your energy habits and start living with an abundance of energy? You have two choices: you can either keep going at the same pace, feeling worn out and overwhelmed, or you can start TODAY to take the simple steps towards living a life full of energy.
- Start an ‘energy journal.’ Take note of the things that energise and drain you. Be aware of how your energy personality affects your energy levels in different situations.
- Incorporate more whole foods, vegetables and vegetarian meals into your diet. They will increase your sense of lightness and overall energy levels.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, at the right time. 11pm-2am are crucial hours for your body to sleep and repair itself. Aim to be asleep by 10pm for best quality sleep.
- Begin incorporating pranayama breathing techniques into your day. Spend at least 5 minutes a day consciously with your breath, observing it and breathing deeply through your nose.
- Make time in your day for a conscious self-care routine and treat yoself!
Want even more resources? I’ve included my top 10 in my FREE Energy-Boosting Resource Toolkit – access your copy below!
Top 10 Energy-Boosting Resources Toolkit
Get ready for BOUNDLESS ENERGY, naturally - with your FREE Resource Guide for Boosting Energy.