Knowing how to maintain your energy is essential if you want to get more done and have a richer life experience. You can do this by learning to manage your energy better and becoming aware of how your body functions with its energetic ebbs and flows. Learn how to make positive shifts in your lifestyle and behaviors so that you can have sustained vitality through the ups and downs of life and avoid burnout. (Estimated reading time: 6 minutes)
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”— Benjamin Franklin
We are beings of energy living in a universe where everything is energy. The sun, our main source of heat and light, shines its rays into our lives. The trees, flowers, and animals grace us with energies of their own. These infinite natural sources of energy are available to us at all times.
But this energy doesn’t just surround us; it infuses us. As British philosopher Alan W. Watts so eloquently put, “You did not come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.”
Like the waves, our energy levels ebb and flow through our lifetimes and learning how to regulate it is a skill that will serve us well.
An epidemic of energy depletion
Based on several studies, many people struggle to manage fluctuations in their energy levels. Exhaustion, fatigue, and feeling “tired for no reason” are health epidemics of the modern era. More recently, the COVID-19 outbreak has added to the existing burden.
Pandemic fatigue is the exhaustion one feels after spending months dealing with the struggles of the new pandemic lifestyle like losing a job and loved ones, missing out on milestones like weddings and graduations, and feeling cut off from the world due to social distancing.
The silver lining of this pause in our ordinarily rushed lifestyles is that we have had more time and space to tune into ourselves. We can come to appreciate the finite nature of time and how important it is for us to conserve our energy to be present and engaged in every moment.
While the number of hours in a day is fixed, the quality is determined based on how we feel and process what happens to us. The key to getting more out of our experiences is to align our energy towards fulfilling the needs of all of our being.
Adopting a holistic model on the human energy system
For the longest time, science viewed health solely through the lens of physicality. If you felt depleted, it was because you were not eating enough or were sleep-deprived. If you had a headache, a pill could make it go away. This archaic model doesn’t take into consideration that our energy matrix is far more complex. For us to manage our energy better, we need a more holistic picture.
Our energy comes from four wellsprings: the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The goal should be to harmonize and bring balance to all four bodies, not just the physical. Familiarity with the power and limitations of each force is essential in maintaining optimum levels of energy.
If you feel lethargic and have a holistic view of your health, you’ll go deeper and explore the emotional void that caused you to indulge in your former excesses. Rather than automatically assuming a dip in energy levels is because you consumed too much sugar and carbs a couple of hours ago, you’ll get to the root of the problem and go beyond the symptoms.
From an energy medicine perspective, the physical body represents a deeper and dynamic energy field. This unseen conscious force that runs through our cells has different names: Chi, Prana, and Life force energy. When the flow of our life force is disrupted in some way, it results in illness or abnormal function, while a balanced flow promotes health.
The medical community is gradually accepting the role that our inner world plays in our health and wellbeing. The biopsychosocial model views health and illness as products of the interconnection of psychology, biology, and socio-environmental factors.
This model on health has its roots in ancient civilizations such as classical Greece. The ancient Greeks paid attention to social and physical influencers of health, which made them create supportive health environments, public health policies, and orient medicine and treatments towards a humanistic and naturalistic framework.
Hippocrates defined health as based on equilibrium established between our individual habits (work, diet, lifestyle) and our external environment (food, temperature, water, wind, ground).
The role of energy management in success
Understanding the holistic nature of energy makes it easier to find ways to boost it naturally. If you’re someone with aspirations, you’re going to need the mental clarity, alertness, and emotional balance to accomplish more in less time. An energy management plan is just as important (if not more so) as a time management plan.
Since each aspect of our health is interconnected, we need an integrated strategy for sustained vitality that nourishes and keeps us going through the ups and downs. By adopting these 5 ways to manage your energy better, you’ll be well on your way to making positive shifts in your lifestyle and behavior.
1. Establish a healthy lifestyle: Looking after your body is non-negotiable if you want to maintain energy levels and handle the demands of your day. Establish a regular routine that allows for proper nutrition, adequate sleep and rest, regular physical activity, and exercise. It will ensure you have lasting energy and that you function at high levels throughout your day.
2. Work with your ultradian rhythms: Our bodies have an energy cycle called “ultradian rhythm,” which repeats every 90 to 120 minutes. Our energy levels go up and down throughout the day based on these cycles. Becoming aware of your rhythm and checking in will make you more attuned to your “peak performance periods” and those times your energy dips. Organize your day around these cycles so that you can get more things done and do your best work.
3. Watch your thoughts: Just as our bodies need nourishing food, our minds require a healthy mental diet. This begins with regulating our thoughts. Avoid being self-critical, complaining, and overthinking, reduce negative thoughts, and be careful what you expose your mind to.
Avoid excessively watching the news and using social media. Instead, replace it with activities that enhance your mental clarity, like meditation and journaling. Stay motivated through empowering self-talk, reading inspiring material, and cultivating a mindfulness practice.
4. Pace yourself: Trying to work non-stop for several hours at a stretch is a surefire way to burn out. Studies show a better alternative to maximize productivity is to work in focused 90-minute bursts with some recovery time in between. Structure your routines around 90-minute chunks followed by renewing activities (like walking) to replenish your reserves.
5. Regulate your emotions and moods: Emotions have a significant impact on our energy levels, and not knowing how to regulate them can be detrimental to our wellbeing. Learn how to manage your feelings by paying attention to them, labeling them, and taking action accordingly. Eliminate triggers, activities, and people that drain you and leave you feeling depleted. Replace them with activities that uplift you and leave you feeling stronger.
6. Tend to your spiritual needs: To channel energy that lies beyond the physical plane, we need to feed our spirits. Your life force is activated when you do things you’re passionate about and give you meaning and purpose. You raise your vibration when you help improve the lives of others, say a kind word, and approach life from a place of gratitude.
Incorporate restorative time into your daily schedule like praying, meditation, nature walks, travel, reading, listening to music, dancing, deep breathing, etc.
Managing your energy is so much more than just being more productive and effective. It’s about having the vitality to show up to your life from a place of enthusiasm. Having high energy can offer you a more enriching life experience and give you access to all the colors, texture, and vibrancy available to you.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: What’s your favorite energy management technique? In what way does it help you feel nourished?
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