October 30, 2023
As I look back over what blog posts have received the most views, my posts on “Living Simply with Lower Energy” seem to pique people’s interests. Last week I shared the true Source of my daily strength—the Lord. This week’s posts will be a practical emphasis on daily living with lower energy.
Learn to Pace Myself
The older I get, the more I realize the need to pace myself. What exactly do I mean by pace myself? By pacing I mean a steady yet workable rate that I can manage. My pacing may look different than someone else’s pacing, and that is okay. If I try to keep up with someone else’s pace that is faster and more intense than my best pace, I will burn out and get very frustrated.
My mom is an energizer bunny. I recall as a teenager helping my mom in her 1st grade classroom. Literally in about the space of one minute she ran around her room telling me 4 tasks that I could help do. I remember just looking at her in astonishment, and then we both burst out laughing. All that to say, my mom’s pacing is very different than mine.
I have learned the value of slowing down. It’s not lazy to slow down and be deliberate in my thinking and subsequent actions; it’s actually wise to calculate my next steps. I have discovered a little secret: I actually get more done when I work slowly and methodically than when I run around trying to work as fast as other people. I get sloppy and frustrated when I push too hard and too fast.
The old adage “Slow and steady wins the race” is appropriate here. It’s better to go slow and steady than expend intense bursts of energy which leads to a quick crash.
Eating healthy certainly plays an important role in energizing my body, and eating poorly leads to lethargy. I can definitely sense fatigue when I consume sugar and gluten.
I’m not a health expert, but I have noticed a curious coincidence between the days that I remember to drink a little kefir and my energy levels. Kefir encourages a healthy gut, and though I am no expert, I think that a healthy gut would encourage overall health and energy.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I drink coffee. Some people have spiritualized the consumption of coffee and made it a sin, but quite frankly coffee does not violate my personal conscience. I drink a morning cup and an afternoon cup. It just perks me up (pun intended).
Coffee genuinely helps me. I started drinking an afternoon cup shortly after becoming a mother, and the habit has stuck. I often struggle with intense fatigue in the afternoon, and a quick rest and cup of coffee helps to stimulate me and give me the needed energy to finish the day.
Every day I look forward to my afternoon brew and sometimes enjoy a healthy cookie or treat with it. Not only does the actual coffee perk me up, but just the cozy comfort of a mug of java warms my heart.
Get Up and Get Moving
For those of us who struggle with lower energy, sometimes the hardest thing to do is just simply start moving. Fatigue of mind and body pulls us down, like an invisible force, and we struggle to overcome fatigue’s firm grasp. But simply standing up slowly and doing one simple task then inspires me to do the next simple task and then the next. And before I know it, I’m like the little blue engine, happily chugging down the tracks.
As a person with limited energy, I realize that my physical energy is a commodity, a treasure to be used wisely and well. What I choose to use my energy on needs to be worthy of that energy, and I don’t want to expend energy on trivial and meaningless things.
For me when my physical space is cluttered, my mental and emotional space is cluttered as well. It’s as if my brain and emotions go into overdrive when my environment is overflowing and chaotic.
I do not want to use my precious energy to constantly pick up junk around my house. Also, I do not have time or energy to decorate excessively for each season, so I keep my home simple with natural touches that mimic the outdoor world.
If I could encourage someone who struggles with physical energy levels to do only one action, I would encourage that person to simplify her home as much as possible. Get rid of as many physical things as possible. Living simply with fewer items will positively affect the emotions (a more peaceful environment) and the physical health (less to manage).
As a teenager, I visited my great aunt’s house in Michigan, and her movements around her home greatly intrigued me. I remember watching Aunt Mary pick up a laundry basket and carry it with her to the other end of the house as a side task to what she was already planning to accomplish. Since she was moving to the other end of the house, she decided to take the laundry basket with her since the laundry room was near her intended destination.
As I move about my home, I try to pick up items as I go. Say I am headed to the laundry room with dirty kitchen towels, on my way there, I will pick up as many items needing washing as possible. If I am heading upstairs with a load of kid items (which they will be helping to put away—this mama doesn’t do everything for her kids!), I grab other items that belong upstairs.
Realize My Body’s Limitations
None of us like limitations, but if we are to face reality, we have to deal with the limitations placed in our lives. Consider someone without legs. Instead of resisting the fact that she doesn’t have legs, she learns strategies to deal with life without legs. For those of us with less energy, we have to realize our limits and live within those bounds.
Learning to accept my boundaries is a difficult one for me because there are some things that my heart longs for, but I know that those desires are not best for me. I am learning to rest in God’s plan for my life and even rejoice with others who have what I desire. Even though others may not understand me or my life and even criticize my life, it’s okay. God has a perfect plan for my life, and I need to focus on accomplishing His will for my life.
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