It’s not even 9:00 am, and I’m groggy. Like, fall asleep wiped out, tired. This is what it feels like when my autoimmune conditions (I’m never sure which one) decides to rev up inside my body and unleash waves of fatigue. I get it. It’s my body signaling for me to rest. It needs to do its thing and heal, so it’s pushing the pause buttons on my physical and mental energy.
The thing is: I never know when autoimmunity is going to fire up.
It can literally flare at any time, with little to no warning. I’m pretty in tune with my body, so I can detect a few subtle precursors: a sudden draining of energy from my body, a layering of brain fog and weakness in my limbs. Then I know, it’s go-time. I need to rest and let my body repair what’s going on inside that I can’t see.
I’ve learned to listen to these cues and manage my time with not only with a focus on the tangible to-do tasks of the day, but also with a nod to my energy levels.
An article in the Harvard Business Review explains that our energy is derived from the body, emotions, mind and spirit. Each of these stores can be expanded and renewed with intentional, scheduled behaviors.
This awareness is a necessity for those with chronic health conditions, but really anyone can benefit from being in tune with their innate core needs.
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Managing Your Physical Energy
Over the past year, I’ve been reading and writing often about circadian rhythm, or our body’s internal clock. After all the interviews, books, research and implementing much of the information I’ve learned into my days, I’m a firm believer that listening to our bodies and giving them what they need is the best way to boost our physical energy.
It’s ok if you need to add naps to your day, follow a special diet, go to bed early, rise later than usual or take on fewer commitments each day. Each person has a different capacity for doing, and it’s best if we honor that. I suggest reading The Power of When to learn more about your chronotype, or how your body specifically works within each 24-hour cycle.
Managing Your Mental Energy
When it comes to your emotions, mind and spirit, consider having a conversation with yourself. This sort of check-in is often the reset button we’re looking for to ease heavy mental burdens, feel nourished and understood. A few ways to manage your mental energy include:
- Speaking with a mental health therapist
- Journaling about your thoughts
- Meditation and prayer
- Spend time doing a hobby you enjoy, alone
- Going for a walk outside and noticing what pops into your mind
Listen to yourself. What whispers do you hear from your mind and body? What do you need at this moment? Check in with yourself often so you can better manage your physical and mental energy.
Until next time,
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Note: This blog post was last updated on March 6, 2023.