Getting Energy Back

This year is starting rough. Let’s pretend I am ignorant and not following any news and updates and just hiding at home focusing on my own goals and development regardless of what’s going on outside. Even then it is really hard to stay positive or having energy to do things. People who also feel this way, this post is for you!

I’ve tried really hard last year to set the best base for early 2021. I put together a vision board (of course, a modified version so I don’t get my hopes up). I got weekly and monthly planner, a budget planner and a notebook just for reflecting. I printed up my calendars for January. I prepared a killer playlist. I even signed up for two workshops – one on improving my outlook on new year and one on improving my financial skills.

And yet it was January 5th when I started getting some energy back to slowly start doing anything that can bring me closer to my goals. It is especially dramatic because I am actually off work this week so I was planning to be super productive, energetic and relaxed at the same time, starting from exactly 12am on January 1st. Turns out, just because it is a different number on a calendar, my energy levels do not go up on their own. And if you are in the same boat, the first thing to do is to stop beating yourself up. Just because you are up to late start does not mean you won’t meet your resolutions by end of the year! There are plenty of days left in this year! Below are some key things to consider to start getting more energy this year:

Just because you are up to late start does not mean you won’t meet your resolutions by end of the year!

  1. Figure out what might be contributing to your lack of energy. It is always easier to address when you know what the problem is. Here are some things to consider:
    1. It can be caused if you sleep less than 8 hours uninterrupted. Your body just does not get enough energy because it does not rest enough.
      • to sleep better, open a window and let fresh air before going to bed. It has to be slightly cold in the room for you to relax.
      • reduce any lights – whether it is your clock, a light from bathroom, etc. The easiest way is to either turn them off or get a sleep mask. It has to be pitch-black.
      • pay attention at your pillow and mattress. Maybe it is time to update them or get more or less firm ones.
      • if you feel cold at night, try leg warmers or warm bottle. Put them under your feet and you will relax.
      • do not have anything with sugar or alcohol for at least 3 hours before going to sleep. If you have anything with sugar I guarantee you will see nightmares. Who wants that?
    2. It might be related to your diet. Review what you are eating to see if it is impacting you. For example, before holidays (and it lasted well into this week), the amounts of sugar I was consuming as part of holiday baking were slowing me down. Add carbs (potatoes, rice, pasta dishes, bread, etc.) and wine and it is no surprising that I feel tired all the time.
      • replace pop with water, hot chocolate with tea
      • add more veggies or fruits to your diet. There are lots of recipes where frozen veggies can be used. Or you can freeze veggies to last longer, using special freezer bags. Veggies that are easy to freeze: broccoli (crowns), red peppers. Veggies that last up to 2 weeks in the fridge: potatoes, onions, carrots. You can also use canned veggies – e.g. canned artichokes make amazing dips (just add cheese!), canned crushed tomatoes make amazing tomato soup, and canned olives can be used to be baked with fish to create Tuscany-inspired meals.
    3. It might be related to lack of relaxation or ongoing stress. I am the first one to state that I love bubble baths but sometimes it is not enough to relax me (especially if I read news there – back to my anxious self). To address this specific point, consider if there is something specific that concerns you or can it be an ongoing list of to-dos? Or perhaps you just didn’t get a break during the holidays and now, back to work or regular life, you just simply need more time to adjust? Once you can pinpoint a problem, you are half way at addressing it.
      • The exercise I find helpful when I feel overwhelmed: write a list of everything that makes you worried or simply on your mind. Then look at the list and consider which items you cannot control (e.g., weather, economic crisis, etc.). Cross them out. For remaining items, consider what you can do to minimize impact of potential risk or to better prepare (e.g. start saving money if you are worried about economic crisis, start exercising everyday or add vitamins to feel better, etc.). This will give you a sense of control.
      • If it is a specific problem, consider why exactly you are worried about it, is there more than just original worry? Is it real or is it in your imagination? Maybe it is related to other, older fears? For example, is it tied to specific skill that you can develop to overcome this problem (social skills, financial skills, soft skills at work, etc.?) Can it be related to lack of confidence? If yes, what makes you feel better about yourself?
  2. Start slow. Some people have few goals and ideas, I have a lot. I write a lot of things I want to accomplish but then I feel overwhelmed and do nothing about even one of those things. If you are like me, welcome aboard! I hope I am not alone here. To deal with this problem, write down a list of your goals, then prioritize. Focus on 3-5 (e.g. the first few months of this year you may want to add activities to your list to push only first 3-5 goals and park the rest). This will prevent you from being overwhelmed. Another approach is to break down each of your goals into doable activities, and keep breaking them down until it is something you can add to your lifestyle pain free.
    1. For example, one of my goals is to lose 10 kg (20 pounds). Obviously, I want to achieve it like yesterday. However, I am also not a fan of diets and I sometimes lack discipline. So I break down into losing 3.5kg every 3-4 months. Now it sounds more doable.
    1. From now until March 31, I will focus on only losing 3.5kg. How can this be done?
    2. I will start by making adjustments to my diet – I actually researched internet to ensure that all my meals in the next 2 weeks would include veggies on a side, I eliminate sugary snacks and replace them with healthy ones (switching up from cookies to matcha green tea bites or fruits/walnuts). The next on my list is replacing wine with fruit smoothies and drinking more water.
    3. I will also focus on doing physical activity (i.e. using rowing machine, doing Zumba or other exercises) for 30 min every other day. Why every other day? Because I physically cannot do it every day. Something will come up and I do not want to give up on day two because I cannot commit to it.
  3. Get some ‘supports’ in place that help you achieve your goals.
    1. It can be apps that check on you or give you daily challenges, finding a book that makes you feel good, be placing a motivational quote next to your desk or setting up a background on your phone with things that make you feel closer to your goals (e.g. picture of a place you want to visit once you save up for it) or even creating motivating message as your password. Be your own best friend!
to make tasks more enjoyable, listen to your favourite playlist while doing them
  1. Make it fun. If your goals add more stress or force you to do something you do not want, you will give up (why torture yourself?) or will not be happy once the goal is actually achieved. Consider how to turn things you don’t like into things you like.
    1. For example, I cook fresh dinner every single day (even after work). To make it enjoyable (bearable) I listen to my favourite music or watching TV shows while cooking. If it is exercising, add your favourite music to the background or see if your favourite celebrity has workouts that you can replicate. If it is being more organized, invest into a beautiful notebook that will make you feel good about yourself and things you do.
  2. Finally, for big goals that take your breath away, consider what awards you can give to yourself when done. For example, if you get your dream job you can get yourself a jewelry that will remind you of your achievement. I did it when I got my first professional job contract – I got myself a big watch I always wanted. Every time I would look at it I would feel excited and happy about my accomplishment.

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