work life balance

Protect your energy - Decline for secret reasons

Do you often say “I haven’t even got the energy for ‘X’ let alone ‘Y’, but I’ve still got to do ‘X’!

Imagine Y is the thing that you really would love to have time and energy to do, from going to the gym, going for a run or a yoga class to reading a book in bed. X could be visiting your parents, relatives, to baking for a school fete. In fact you really haven’t got the energy to do anything other than getting up, doing a bit of chores in the morning, getting the kids ready for school, going to work, coming home, sorting out the kids, dinner, clearing up and putting the kids to bed and then it’s time for bed again. But you don’t go to bed of course, not until at least 11pm. You’re constantly exhausted and depleted.

It looks like you really don’t have any space in between those times to do anything for yourself. I get it as I’d been there.

So let’s try to work out your energy is spent here, as it seems like it’s seeping through somehow. And if you’re not careful, it will continue to seep through and you’ll run on empty, again and again.

How will you stop your energy seeping and start protecting it? I have a few useful tips here that you can try:

  • Do daily, weekly and monthly review and list what your responsibilities and to-do list are. Really be honest with yourself. For the things that you’re not sure, ask yourself ‘is this really my responsibility? Can I delegate this job? Can I drop it?’ Be really honest and clear.

  • Say No. To any extra work, or even to an invitation for coffee or dinner. Ask yourself ‘can I really afford to do this (energy and time), what would be the consequences if I said yes? Quite possibly another late night because you still have to catch up with housework or go food shopping, and so on which then delays everything and you’ll end up going to bed late and waking up tired. Politely decline for secret reasons - honestly (I came across this from Dr Libby’s Instagram post the other day and I thought I’d share this with you).

  • Say Yes to yourself to doing nothing, doing less, doing just enough and even picking up that ONE thing (the Y) that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time because doing this will not only inject some zing back into your life, but also will make you feel uplifted and happier. In turn, you’ll have happier and better behaved children children because they experience more positive interactions with their mummy, much less strained relationship with your partner and so on.

Some tips to replenish and recharge your energy:

  • Move your body. This might sound strange that if you want to protect energy, why do you want move? I’m referring to mindful movements here, walking, stretching, even dancing. Moving the body gets the stagnant energy moving and leaving your system.

  • Take a break regularly during the day, stretch, go outside, walk. It might even be possible to take a short nap! Rest on your days off.

  • Drink lots of water. Cut down or even avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks. Sometimes having caffeine or sugary drinks disguises your energy levels. Consider your blood sugar levels and adrenaline, just to mention a few!

  • Eat nutritious foods.

  • Go to bed early and maybe get up earlier so you have time to get yourself sorted before the rest of the household wakes up. Spend alone time with yourself.

  • Build routines for morning and bedtime. This will form good habits and have ripple effects to your day.

  • Last but not least, take conscious and slow breaths.

In summary, when we say ‘no’ to others, we say ‘yes’ to ourselves, we protect our energy, feed our own needs, tend to our health and respect our values.

Hope this has been useful to you. Let me know if any of this resonates and if you need any help from me. I’ll be delighted to have a chat with you and find out more about you.

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Claryn x