Posts Tagged ‘energy’|
Monday, June 14th, 2010
This week’s blog in the Energy management series will deal with the R in ENERGY which represents the 4R’s we must strive to balance in our lives.
The 4R’s are
Although I am not certain striving for “balance” in life should be our ultimate goal. I am certain that I am happiest and have the greatest amount of energy when my time in these four areas in life is somewhat balanced.
Routine encompasses all of the regular things we do day to day to function. From brushing our teeth, to paying the bills, to buying groceries, to driving the carpool, taking our children to their many activities, to answering email, to returning phone calls, to cooking, to cleaning, to showering, to filing etc… etc…
These routine “To do’s” can be all encompassing. If we are not careful they can take up our entire lives. It always seems like the more we do, the more there is to do. It is a never ending cycle. If we are not careful, we could spend all of our time in routine and never really get to live.
The statement “I have too much to do” has become the rallying cry of a generation of women as we balance career, motherhood and life. I have actually heard people brag about having too much to do and never having any time for themselves.
I was in the supermarket line up last week and the two ladies behind me were going on and on… “I’m so busy,” says the one, “I have to get Jack to soccer school and Emily to dance and I feel like a taxi driver with no time for myself.” Her girlfriend replies, “You think that’s busy, the other day I had to do this …and this and this” and on and on it goes…..
The competition ensues about who has more routine crap to do. It’s odd that some of us think that rushing around like a mad women and having no time to enjoy our lives or really be in the moment is some sort of a badge of honor. It’s like bragging that you never eat vegetables and haven’t used your vacation time in 5 years. It’s crazy. We can address this by making sure that all of our time is not spent in the routine. And by trying when we are in the routine to live in that moment and really embrace and enjoy it as much as possible.
A recent longevity study revealed that people with a number of close friendships live on average 7-8 years longer than those that don’t maintain the strong social connections. Finding time to nurture our relationships with our children, our siblings, our friends, our parents and our significant others will enrich our lives. Spending time with people we truly care for that support and honor us will increase our energy levels. Women tend to embrace their relationships with other women and these connections can often be mutually enlightening and energizing. Make sure you make time for these important connections.
Reaching is striving to be more. Growing and developing. Reaching is making an effort to step out of our comfort zone. This often involves confronting our fears. Never forget that on the other side of our greatest fears we will find our growth. We often have deep desires and dreams that never see the light of day because of our fears of pursuing them (You can download a free report on overcoming your fears by signing up for my newsletter). I had a number of fears when I was growing up and I used to carry around in my pocket, purse or wallet a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that said,
“You gain strength, courage and confidence with every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You must do that which you think you cannot do.”
Every time I was truly afraid I would pull this out unfold it and read it to myself. Ask yourself honestly when was the last time you did something for the first time? Then reach beyond your comfort zone and go for it. Reach for your true potential.
The last R is Rejuvenation. Rejuvenating is spending time on yourself to restore your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Often, we as women, never take the time to look after ourselves. It is the old oxygen in the airplane story. When the oxygen mask comes down you should put your mask on before trying to assist others. You cannot help others if you can’t breathe due to lack of oxygen. Well you can’t help others if you can’t function due to lack of energy. Take some time for you.
Another good rejuvenation ritual is something I call my authentic 30. It is 30 minutes every morning to myself to meditate, do my morning pages (a great book by Julia Cameron called the Artist’s Way recommended just writing something called the morning pages when you awake every morning to release your creativity and passion), stretch, review my goals and plan my day. It has become a ritual I do prior to my workout. It helps me be grounded and focused for my day before it gets too busy.
You should try to spend some time in each of these areas of your life, Routine, Relationships, Reaching and Rejuvenating. Doing so will insure you are replenishing your energy reserves to meet the demands of a busy life. Try the action steps below to help you with this practice.
Action Steps for the 4Rs
- Do an inventory of the last month of your life. Did you spend time in all 4 of the R’s- Routine, Relationships, Reaching and Rejuvenation. If not why not? And what can you do to make sure you spend time in all these areas next month.
- Try waking 30 minutes earlier every day for the next month to spend 30 minutes to yourself. Connect with yourself, review your goals, plan your day.
Monday, May 24th, 2010
This is the first segment in the six week series on Energy Management.
The subject of this blog will be the E for Eating well and Exercising
There is no question in my mind that when you feel better physically you feel better mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It extrapolates to all areas of your life and helps you to build momentum. The physical is the foundation on which all other aspects of your life are placed. To feel better physically you must be eating well and moving your body.
Basic eating well guidelines
Eat whole foods such as grains, fresh veggies and fruits.
By ingesting foods that trigger a less inflammatory state we can improve our health and energy and decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease and premature aging. Research has shown that many of the age related diseases as well as much of the normal process of aging is triggered by inflammation. Diet can influence this inflammation. The food choices we make can kick us into a pro-inflammatory state or an anti-inflammatory state. Knowing which foods trigger inflammation will arm us with the education needed to avoid them and possibly prevent some age related diseases.
The three main components of any diet are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. There are specific guidelines to follow in our consumption of each component that can help us to decrease the level of inflammation in our system. The two diets most commonly linked to increased health, vitality and longevity are the Japanese diet and the Mediterranean diet. These diets follow the anti-inflammatory theme with inclusion of fish, lots of vegetables, no processed foods and very little red meat. Dr. Andrew Weil discusses this anti-inflammatory diet extensively in his book healthy aging.
The following rules will help you to avoid unhealthy fats that lead to inflammation:
- Never eat products with partially hydrogenated oil
- Don’t use vegetable shortening
- Do not eat margarine. Use butter or olive oil
- Avoid fried foods in restaurants
- Minimize the use of polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn or sesame oil
- Never heat oils so they smoke
- Use extra virgin olive oil
To choose healthy carbohydrates do the following:
- Know the glycemic index for foods and gravitate towards those with a low glycemic index. This means less bread, potatoes, crackers, chips and pastries and more grains, beans and vegetables.
- Eat less refined and processed food
- Eat less fast food
- Eat fewer things made with white flour
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup
To ingest protein that does not promote inflammation do the following:
- Eat less meat
- Eat more vegetable protein like soy, beans, whole grains, seeds and nuts
- Eat fish that is low in toxins
Other Eating Tips
- The easiest way to follow this diet is shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. All the real food, the good stuff is on the outside.
- Also do everything in moderation. Have a cheat day one day a week (I pick Saturday) where you can eat whatever you want. It is so important to not deprive ourselves of the things we love.
- Drink water about 64 oz per day for the average women. That is 3 large water bottles worth per day.
- Eat every 4 hours to stabilize blood sugar.
Basic guidelines for Exercising
Move. Simple yet effective.
I started doing an exercise system called Tabatas that are great to boost energy when you are crunched for time. Dr. Tabata from Japan devised this system that can be applied to any cardio workout or exercise. You go hard for 20 seconds and slow or rest for 10 seconds and then go hard for 20 seconds and slow or rest for 10 seconds. This makes up one minute of exercise repeat x 4 and each Tabata takes just 4 minutes.
I have adapted this interval routine to a cardio workout on the stationary bike, holding a plank position or doing squat presses. You can really take almost any cardio or resistance exercise and do it as a Tabata. If I choose 3-4 exercises I can have a very productive workout in 12-16 minutes. This very effective interval training keeps your metabolism kicked up for the day.
The other issue with exercise is motivation you need a big enough why to do this and make sure the why is compelling for you. Saying you want to healthy is not enough. What is healthy? What does healthy mean to YOU. It must be compelling and move you whether it is looking great for the 20 year grad reunion or fitting in to skinny jeans make it something tangible in the near future that you really really want.
Action Steps for Eating Well and Exercising
- This week try eating broccoli, apples, blueberries and tomatoes at least once. These foods are high in phyto-nutrients and do not promote inflammation in your system.
- Drink 3 sport water bottles full of fresh clean pure water per day (approx. 64oz)
- Make a commitment to move your body for 20 minutes at least 4 times this week.
- Try a Tabata it only takes 4 minutes.
Make sure you go easy on yourself. Lean in to your wellness. Set rules that work for you and your schedule.
Come back next week when I will discuss the second component of the Energy Management system N – Living in the Now and being Mindful.
Monday, May 24th, 2010
The idea of Energy Management has been transformative for me on so many levels. By managing my energy I have seen vast improvements in my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Forget about managing time. Time cannot be managed. We all have all the time there is. 24 golden hours in a day. It doesn’t matter whether you are Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Bono or Hilary Clinton. Time is the great equalizer. In the average lifespan, we have 960 months and approximately 29,000 days. Wouldn’t you love to spend those 29,000 days in a peak state of energy, happiness and vitality? I have come to realize that energy and not time is the hot commodity. How we manage our energy will dictate how big we play the game of life and the impact that we have.
It seems there is always too much to do in a given time frame and that is where the challenge begins. We are trying to be mothers, wives, sisters, friends, successful business people and community leaders. How do we fit it all in? I used to think I had it all figured out and I was successful in my personal and professional life. And then my miracle happened. I got pregnant and had Nicholas. And to put it bluntly …all bets were off. My life changed dramatically. It was no longer all about me. He became the focus. “Time for me” meant sacrificing sleep and walking around like a zombie.
I came upon this concept of energy management by screwing it all up, feeling crappy and then realizing that in the first year after my son was born I had stopped doing the things that had worked for me in the past. I knew I had to do something differently. I thought about what I used to do that really worked for me and distilled it into this system. Nothing in this system is earth shattering but I have often found that success comes from doing the simple things consistently. I feel more energetic and productive than I ever have even while chasing around a 15-month-old. I hope that by using these strategies it will help you to improve your energy and reach your full potential.
My strategy for energy management is summarized by the acronym ENERGY. And over the next 6 weeks on this blog I will discuss all the components in detail.
Principles of Energy Management
Y – Your Strengths