Do you ever struggle with low energy?
Like, really low energy?
I happen to be married to the Energizer Bunny. This is not a joke. My husband has the kind of energy that is sustained and consistent. He doesn’t need much sleep, he loves being active, and he’s always multitasking.
He literally just keep going and going…
And then there’s me.
I am more like the Energizer Bunny WITHOUT the batteries. Like in the horizontal position with a pillow under my head and a cozy little fire in the fireplace.
I am the stroll to his sprint.
The yoga to his box jumps.
The sloth to his hummingbird.
Side Note: I would like to point out that sloths are SUPER cute. Oh-my-gosh, do you remember Flash the Sloth from Zootopia!?! Come on. So, so cute. Just sayin’.
Sorry. Slight tangent. Refocusing.
For most of my life, low energy has been a struggle.
I have spent YEARS wishing I had my husband’s energy. Feeling envious of his stamina, embarrassed when I couldn’t keep pace, and lazy when I wasn’t able to get as much done.
Logically, I know that energy exists on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum are the high energy people and on the other end are the low energy folks. Of course proper rest, good nutrition, and stress management all impact energy, blah blah blah. But let’s get real, some people are luckier than others. And oftentimes there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to change things.
Think about it for a minute. I’m sure you know people who get 5-6 hours of sleep a night and are somehow still bursting with energy, (I’m looking at you, darling husband.) Then there are those who sleep 8 hours a night and are still dragging throughout the day.
Or how about those friends who guzzle coffee throughout the day in order to stay alert? Alternatively, other friends “don’t do” caffeine and never seem to stifle yawns?
For those of us on the low energy end of the spectrum, this is oh-so-annoying.
But the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to terms with my sloth-like energy levels. I try not to fight it so much. I’m trying to be kinder and gentler with myself. There are definitely peaks and valleys when it comes to energy, but mostly, I’m nowhere near a hummingbird’s level.
A few years ago, I came up with a visual that has turned out to be surprisingly helpful.
I call it my “Pitcher Energy Level” assessment. Doesn’t it sound so legit!?!
Here’s how it works:
I imagine a pitcher filled with water. Surrounding the pitcher there are empty glasses, all representing specific areas of my life that require my energy. Homeschool prep, kids’ activities, housework, grocery shopping… you get the idea.
Occasionally, the pitcher is almost filled to the top. This occurs on those rare days when I have a ton of energy. When I feel like a little hummingbird.
Let’s say I have four glasses set out, representing four categories that require my energy. I pour water into each of the glasses. Is there any water left? When I’ve started pouring with a full pitcher, oftentimes there is. At the very least I have enough water to get to each glass.
Let me get real though. I RARELY begin my day with a full pitcher of water. My cute lil’ inner sloth is usually stretching and yawning. Sometimes my pitcher is half full, other times it’s only a quarter full. On these days if I try to pour water into four glasses, it just isn’t going to happen.
I simply don’t have enough water.
So, let’s visualize the pitcher and glasses and assess how to handle those “low water” days.
How to Manage Your Exhaustion in Effective Ways:
On “low water” days you might:
- Sleep in longer and have a pajama day at home.
- First thing in the morning, have your kids do some independent reading, listen to an audiobook, or watch an educational documentary. This will allow you to ease into the morning.
- If you try to engage in regular physical activity, do some gentle stretching instead of walking/running/working out. You may also want to explore the benefits of meditation.
- Rely on easy meals that involve little to no prep. Examples: Freezer meals that have been prepped ahead of time, crockpot “one bowl” meals, or take-out if it’s in your budget. And come on, canned soup and sandwiches never killed anyone. In fact, neither did cereal for dinner. I promise you, your family will survive and in fact, might actually be thrilled with the menu.
- Be honest with your family about how you’re feeling. Let them know that you’re having a “low water” energy day and that you need their grace and understanding. Not only does this provide them with opportunities to build their compassion, but it shows them that it’s alright when they’re struggling with energy as well.
- Explain the “low water” energy concept to your family. Get out a pitcher and some glasses if necessary, and do a little demo. It might sound silly but some of us are visual learners and having an actual visual example can do a lot in the way of understanding.
- Spend some time engaging in self-care. Examples: Light a candle, play some of your favorite music, do a little meditating, spend some time reading a good book, get outside to get some fresh air, call a friend. Engage in anything that requires little energy but that might bring a smile to your face and encouragement to your heart.
Do you struggle with low energy?
Are you a sloth, (so cute!) or more of a hummingbird, (also quite cute!)
What sustains you when you’re feeling exhausted?
Thank you for this post! When my energy is low, I review where I’m at with personal routine. If work has thrown me off of self-care routines, those I falsely file under “extra”, when they are actually essential, that zaps my energy, mood, mental health….so then I return to my self care, even smaller, shorter versions of it until I get my care routine back. Self care takes time and devotion. We not only deserve it, but it is our responsibility, right? Thank you for your beautiful offerings on this blog. You make a difference.
Sarah Takehara says
So true, Elizabeth and beautifully stated! Thank you so much for your kind words – they fill me up! 🙂