Do you ever assess your responsibilities for the day and feel like you would rather retreat back under the covers than try to tackle it all? With a full load of expectations on your military spouse shoulders, I don’t blame you! I have a lot of interests and responsibilities plus an innate desire to be helpful, so I tend to greet each day with a full agenda. Recently, one of my teammates even called me the Energizer Bunny. The truth is though, I get tired just like anyone else. Every day is a struggle to get my balance of responsibilities right. That’s a work in progress. But, I do have some tricks that I use to try and boost my energy so that I feel like I can take on those responsibilities with enthusiasm.
- Snooze. And no, I don’t mean hit the snooze button in the morning. Make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep at night. I’m a naturally a night owl, but if I’m teaching a 6:00 a.m yoga class, you can bet I have lights out by 9:30. Then, if you need a boost of alertness and energy during the day, Lifehacker recommends a 10-20 minute power nap. Curling up with my dogs for a few minutes in the afternoon is one of the sweetest moments of my day.
- Drink tea. Tea can give you a gentle caffeine boost, help boost your immune system, and keep you hydrated. According to Thrive Forward, if you’ve slept and eaten well and still feel sluggish, you’re probably not adequately hydrated. I drink my tea hot or cold, depending on the weather, and never add anything to it, so it’s a comforting part of my day that doesn’t add any calories.
- Fill your calendar mindfully. Allow yourself adequate time between commitments and know that each yes on your calendar has consequences. Rushing about, trying to get to the next appointment on time, choosing what routine responsibilities just aren’t going to get done today, all cause stress. Stress causes fatigue. It’s a dangerous cycle that you have to make a committed effort to escape. I’ve started looking not only at how a commitment fits into my day, but what it means for the period of time immediately following. If an event goes late into the evening when I have to work early the next morning, I’m learning to pass. Next up…figuring out how to allow enough time to get to places in D.C. traffic without worrying about being late. Each duty station presents its own challenges.
- Recognize triggers. What gives you that ugh feeling in the pit of your stomach? You know, that moment when you need to get something done, but you don’t think you can possibly summon the oomph to start. You need to exercise but gathering the gear feels like a lot of work. You’d like to make dinner but you would have to spend an hour cleaning up in the kitchen first. You need to tackle a project for work but your desktops, physical and electronic, are a mess. Recognize the triggers that sap your energy and develop routines to eliminate them. Perhaps keep a journal of what’s holding you back from what you really need to get done so you know where to start. Put out your workout gear the night before. Clean up the kitchen immediately after a meal or snack. Set aside a time during each day when you clear out your work space. Use routines to eliminate the triggers that sap your energy.
- Do what you love. How much of your time is spent doing something you really love? If your answer is not much, it’s time to figure out what really lights you up. Whether it’s taking the time for yoga practice, having lunch with a friend, or working in a job that you’re passionate about, having something in your day that you’re excited about can really boost your energy for everything else you have going on.
- Get clear on your talents. There will always be somebody who wants your time at home, work, and in the community. If you say yes to responsibilities that aren’t in your wheelhouse it will take a lot of effort to accomplish the tasks and you won’t be very excited about the work. If somebody asks you to do something that just doesn’t suit you, try saying no and asking to help in a different way. For example, if you’ve been asked to volunteer as the treasurer for an organization but you’re more of a creative type, see if you can be the historian or help plan events instead. Know what you’re good at and try commit your time to putting your skills to good use.
What is your biggest energy suck?