The sun is finally out and it's a gorgeous day here in Chicago. I'm camped out at a Starbucks for a couple hours to write before meeting my friend Amanda for a late lunch and our usual Friday adventure. We've been meeting up every week to hang out and explore different areas around the city and it's been great to have some regular face-to-face quality girl time! Even though I'm an introvert and love working from home, I'm learning that I do need regular social interaction or else I start to feel lonely and get caught in my head.
It might be sunny today, but the rest of this week was rainy, dark, gloomy, and my mental energy has been really low. I've been lacking motivation and drive, and it's been a struggle to get up and moving in the mornings.
(In addition to the weather, I know my cycle is still a little wonky since I quit hormonal birth control pills in February, so I think that has something to do with it too).
The Old Me would have freaked out about slacking, beat myself up for failing to crush my early morning workouts, and tried to push through and be productive.
Luckily, the New Me is learning to go with the flow and back off! I know that if I give myself permission to take it easy and rest, my energy will return. I'm embracing the fact that I'm human, not a robot, and especially as a female human my energy does run in a cyclical pattern week to week and month to month.
When we feel off, our bodies are giving us a signal.
The funny thing is that you don't have to be physically tired to feel blah, unmotivated, or lazy. We have several different forms of energy: mental, emotional, and physical, to name a few.
Have you ever noticed that you feel burned out or spacey after a really hard day of getting stuff done or pushing your comfort zone, even if you were sitting in front of a screen the entire time? That's because you used up your mental energy!
Or have you ever felt completely drained after a deep or tough conversation (even if it was good)? Emotional energy: zapped.
Here are some of my tips for bouncing back and recovering your energy when you feel blah!
What to do when your energy is low
1. Identify which bucket of energy you've been using in the past few days: mental, physical, emotional, or a combination.
Have you been waking up early to work out and not getting to bed on time? Have you been going through stress at work, in your relationship, or with your family? Have you been stretching your comfort zone and getting super excited about life lately?
2. Take note of where you're at in your monthly cycle.
The week before your period, you'll feel restless or anxious (oh heyyy PMS), and during your period you'll feel super low energy. This is completely normal, and it's important to recognize! I really love this e-book that relates our cycle to the changing seasons.
3. Take a moment to BACK OFF and touch base with yourself.
Ask yourself "what do I NEED right now?" Brain-dumping your thoughts and feelings into a journal is a great way to tune into your intuition. Be aware of any mental chatter, self-judging thoughts, internal pressure, or thoughts that begin with the word "should." Tell the chatter thanks but no thanks, I'm going to listen to my heart right now!
4. Go with the flow and take action to restore your positive energy.
Deep down, you already know what you need to do to feel better. The trick is to quiet down our mental chatter and let the right answers rise to the surface. Once your intuition tells you what you need, do it! Don't worry about letting people down, finishing your to-do list, or slacking off, because unless you work in the ER or labor and delivery, no one is going to die if you take a moment or even a full day to re-calibrate. If you're taking care of kids as a parent or teacher you have a more complicated role, but you still deserve to put your energy first and the kids will ultimately benefit too.
HERE IS THE SECRET: sometimes inaction is the best action, and you really do need to chill out with your favorite Netflix show, or sit in the sunshine with a book, or ditch the to-do list and meditate for 10 minutes to clear your head. But sometimes if you're just mentally or emotionally tapped, a run outside or a workout will re-invigorate you even if you feel lazy or unmotivated.
Remember this quote...
Intuition + Action before emotion
Don't let your emotions get in the way. If you wait until you "feel motivated," you'll never get anything done. On the other hand, if you feel guilty for being unmotivated, you'll start to bring in even more negative energy.
Touch base with your intuition and take action (or inaction) to feel the way you want to feel!
Whether you need to cut yourself some slack or rise up and do the hard thing, the right answer is inside of you. Consider this your permission slip to tune out the noise and tune into what YOU need :)