A phone call from a friend excitedly sharing “so many good things happening”. Another friend who starts every day very early with exercise and then works very long hours. A comment to me saying “you are less exuberant, which there is nothing wrong with exuberance, but you seem so grounded and relaxed now” and I realized I’ve learned a few things this past year. Good things are fabulous. Exercise is a great thing. But I was using both as a way to sustain a level of stimulation that kept me going.
I have learned that adrenaline (from caffeine & winding myself up), endorphins (from exercising), that buzz (from creating a whirl wind of energy around myself) led to habits and beliefs of what living life fully “should” feel like.
This past sabbatical year I have blown into a million pieces my belief that happiness was feeling excited; that success meant life was full, that going and doing was feeling alive, that being healthy meant vigorous exercise and that happy meant feeling exuberant and motivated every single day.
With 30 days left of my “official sabbatical” year I have finally redefined what energy means to me. It no longer means sliding through the door at the end of my day exhausted from being pumped and excited from all that I had accomplished. It no longer means amping up on caffeine to retain my adrenaline high. It no longer means I can accomplish or do anywhere near what I used to do in a single day without the “pretend” energy that winding myself up like the energizer bunny and caffeine provided.
Yes – it’s challenging. I do have moments when I feel flat, lost, even blue without that amped feeling. But with practice these moments happen less often and I now view these ‘flat’ times for what they are – a mask for an underlying agitation, that little voice that is saying “don’t just sit there, do something”. I don’t know if this voice will ever fully go away, but I do know when it arrives it’s a sign to take a deep breath, check in and allow myself to be still. To stare out the window. To let my mind wander. To close my eyes. To take a slow stroll.
Stress is killing us in so many different ways. This culture of movers and shakers that so many of us participate in has led to a very skewed view of energy. It’s led to an addiction to stress/adrenaline. It’s led to an addiction to busyness. It’s led to over-exercising, over-doing, over-drinking and…overwhelm.
If you are feeling fatigued, tired, depleted and longing for more energy, try this:
- Take a look at the amount of energy you are expending every day.
- Take a look at why you feel you must keep going.
- Take a look at how you feel when you stop.
- Take a look at how high your plate is piled.
You’re not alone. This was me. This is so many people. There is nothing wrong with being a ‘doer’. However, stopping from time to time and examining why we are doing, what we are doing and how we are feeling, from what we are doing and then making adjustments is like replacing the bowl of chips, with an apple. It’s good for you!
Don’t get me wrong. I am calmly excited about re-launching my business. I am looking forward to those moments when I get that ‘happy high’ feeling about something I’ve done. But it’s different now. These are moments to be savored like fine chocolate and in between those moments I now savor the feeling of ‘being’ calm, content and peaceful. This is energy redefined!
Did any of this strike a chord with you? I’d love to interview you!
I am in the beginning research stage of building a web based education/coaching business just for women like you – the movers/shakers, the ‘doers’ the people who get things done but are feeling increasingly fatigued, stretched and depleted at the end of the day.
Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Interviews take 1 hour (depending on side conversation).
What do you think? Is the level of energy you expect of yourself realistic? Share your comments below!