We show you how to get smart about how you manage your spiritual energy – and how you manage everyone else’s around you, too.
What I see, from the many women I come into contact with, is that we are in what feels like a permanent energy crisis. We are constantly running, with so much to do and achieve, that we barely have time to stop and breathe before we are off again. What suffers most noticeably is the quality and quantity of our energy, which impacts
on everything we do and on who we are, inside and out. Let’s look at some of the key areas of energy and what you can do to create, harness, and manage it.
Get real about energy
The first step is to acknowledge where you are at, and respect it. For instance, if you have little left in the tank, then act accordingly. Listen to your body. If you need to take a nap, take one. If you need to just sit quietly in the corner and breathe, do that too. Tune in spiritually, emotionally and mentally as well. Some days you have the emotional energy to speak to that friend who always has the husband dramas, and some days you don’t. And some days, you have nothing left in your little old spiritual self to deal with anything but a scented bath. The key is to know how you are feeling on all of these levels energetically, and treat yourself with the same love, respect, and kindness that you would give to your best friend.
Program your cycles
Pioneering sleep researcher, Nathaniel Kleitman, discovered over 50 years ago something he called the ‘basic rest-activity cycle’, which are the 90-minute periods at night when we move through the five stages of sleep. What he also discovered is that our bodies operate in the same 90-minute cycles during the day, cycles which other researchers have called the ultradian rhythm. Most people work for much longer than 90 minutes without a break. But when we do this, our stress hormones – adrenalin, cortisol, and noradrenalin – shift into overdrive. Because we are relying on stress hormones for energy, the prefrontal cortex in our brains shuts down, we think less clearly, and become less effective. The harder you drive yourself, the more exhausted you get. So the moral of the story is to work along the ultradian rhythm cycle of our bodies, in periods of 90 minutes - then take a short break.
The energy you bring
Energy, like so many things is contagious. Your energy matters. How you show up matters. Dr Jill Bolte-Taylor is a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist – a scientist specialising in how the brain works. She is also the author of My Stroke of Insight. She had a massive, rare type of stroke, which took her eight years to recover from. In a great interview by Dr Mehmet Oz (on www.Oprah.com), Jill says the energy of the people around her played an important role in her recovery. Take responsibility for the energy you bring, she says. Jill says she could feel the energy of the people who walked in her room, and could even tell which nurses made her feel safe. As opposed to someone who just comes in, deals with the machinery, ignores that there’s even a warm body in the bed, she says. I didn’t feel safe in that person’s care. This is a beautiful illustration of just how palpable your energy is, the impact you have on other people, and how important it is to be conscious of it.
Create energy rituals
What I have learnt from highly successful people, and from the best performance coaches in the world, is that having highly specific energy rituals – essentially, the way you plan your day to fuel your energy – is one of the key criteria for success. And they are planned, they don’t just happen. So, what could this look like? It might mean getting up at 5 a.m. to have time to meditate, go for a run, or write in your diary, before the house wakes up. It might mean building in breaks throughout your day, so you are restoring your energy as you move through your work. It might mean what you do in between finishing work and getting home, so you arrive fresh and relaxed, instead of tired, grumpy, and wanting a bottle of vodka. Remember, it’s the initial discipline that is the hardest, and you will build momentum as you move forward. It won’t be hard forever.
1. Pick just one thing: We are rewiring the brain here; this isn’t child’s play. So never try to commit to creating more than one positive, energising habit at a time.
2. Commit to at least 30 days: This makes it much more likely that the new habit will stick. Be relentless – no ifs, ands, or buts.
3. Do it daily: If you want to meditate, do it daily. It you want to eat more greens, have your supergreen smoothie every day. If you miss one day, it is a slippery slope.
4. Be accountable: Otherwise your subconscious mind just says, who is she kidding, I have heard all this before. Write down your commitment, tick off your new habit every day, and thank yourself for it.