Did you know Albert Einstein’s memory was notoriously poor? It’s been said he wouldn’t even memorize his own phone number.
With a brain used for advancing revolutionary accomplishments in Physics, I choose to believe he was very smart about using his energy for things that mattered to him.
I do that a lot … choose not to remember some things in order to concentrate on more important things. If I don’t compartmentalize certain things, I can go furiously fast from sane to complete overwhelm in a matter of minutes.
The holiday season can do that to people … heck, it can do that to most of us! Maybe it’s time to adopt a better plan to conserve our energy in extreme situations.
Five simple practices might help preserve our vital life energy:
- Quiet the Mind
- Make a Game Plan
- Get the Best Fuel
- Ask for Help
- Take a Break
Quiet the Mind
Would it surprise you to know your brain uses more energy compared to any other organ of the body?
Armed with this knowledge and like Einstein, we can parcel out and allocate our energy to where it serves us best.
First, stop for a moment to breathe, feeding our brains with oxygen (mind food). Deep breathing slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses and quiets the mind.
Now we are primed to tackle what is before us. We can consider what mental work is avoidable sapping our energy, such as worry, complaining and resisting certain tasks needing done. Additionally, identify what feeds our energy; playing upbeat music, lighting candles, etc. This sets the stage for the next step.
Make a Game Plan
By simply writing down what tasks need accomplishing saves mental energy. It is now out of your mind and onto a concrete format from which you can work. This is the beginning of your action plan. Your playbook.
Some of us don’t like planning, feeling this limits/locks us in and doesn’t allow for flexibility. If this is you, return to step one and breathe away the resistance. ::giggle::
By doing a mental shift and thinking of this as a game plan — outlining tasks, obstacles, social engagements, the players, and fixes you become the coach over your own holidays. Now you are ready to foresee, manage, assign, adjust, and enjoy the days, events, and people.
By having an overall game plan allows us to preplan and accomplish things ahead of schedule. Additionally, preconceived fixes and solutions are at your fingertips when needed in the moment and on a play by play basis.
The trick is to find what works for you, stick to it as best you can, while being realistic, and knowing there will always be variables. With your game plan devised and playbook in hand you now have tools to see you through.
Get the Best Fuel
This is the season of eating and there is so much to enjoy. Our dilemma is how to guiltlessly indulge in luscious traditional foods and treats and yet optimally fuel our body with healthy food choices.
Normally people take the entire season and throw all caution to the wind; when in reality, there are more days to properly fuel your body compared to the indulgent ones. The key is it doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other, but instead can be a balancing act between the two.
With your game plan established and upcoming parties and social gathering dates identified and scheduled, the in between correction and clean eating days can now be preplanned.
Since optimal food choices are individual, knowing which foods give you energy and which foods do not helps you plan your course of action.
Balancing clean non-indulgent eating days with the more extravagant eating days sets up guilt-free enjoyment while keeping your body stoked with the best nutritional fuel.
Ask for Help
This is a hard one. We may not like to admit we need help. However, if we embrace the idea getting through the holiday season is a team event, everybody has a part, and everyone needs to get involved.
Studies show people are quite willing to help out; but there is a caveat … they prefer the request to come with specifics. For example, the chances of getting a “yes” increase when someone is asked “can you bring dessert?” over the general request “can you come and help?”
Our game plan mapped out the tasks and players; the action plan is all about who can play what position to accomplish a certain task. What if no one decides to play? You have two choices … eliminate or delegate. Take charge and change the dynamic.
Take a Break
Let me take you back to grade school. Do you remember recess? How energized you felt when taking a break from the school work and running around the playground? You came back to class a new kid!
Are you taking breaks as a grownup? I bet not.
Breaks can be a 15 minute nature walk, a 10 minute stretching session, or even 3 minutes of deep breathing. Just be sure to expend some physical energy; after all, we are trying to rest, conserve and give our mental energy a recess.
And the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep cannot be understated or underrated. Remember kindergarten and rug time. A nap will do wonders.
The holidays are times when our usual schedule and routines are thrown out of whack.
During this time of giving to others, we often forget ourselves. Gift yourself with self-compassion and self-care this year taking precious care of your energy. By implementing the tips above may you sail through this holiday season.