What change would you make to bring you peace?

A week ago, I posted the question, “What’s the one change you could make that would give you more peace and calm?” I want to dive a little deeper so that you can understand the importance of this question.

Think about today. Did you wake up thinking about all the tasks you need to accomplish today? You have to get the laundry done, pay a few bills, get that project done at work, return phone calls and emails, check your kids’ homework… the list goes on and on. When do you get to be in the moment? When do you get to spend time focusing on joy? Or when do you have time to think about your goals and dreams?

Most of us live a very busy and reactive lifestyle. This keeps our sympathetic nervous system—also known as fight or flight—always on.  Research shows this causes disease in our bodies, including anxiety and high blood pressure. We constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed. Instead of being able to plan or set goals, or to sit back and enjoy the present, we’re continually reacting to immediate issues and forced into a survival mindset instead of a thriving mindset.

Wouldn’t it be great to consciously switch to our parasympathetic system—also known as rest and digest—for a sense of peace and calm? Wouldn’t you rather have a holistic sense of being?

I like to take time out of my busy life to slow down and get plugged back into my well being by sitting in a field with my horses. Few experiences give me that sense of peace and calm. This allows me to feel like I am living a life worth living.

What change would you make to bring you peace?

#chairchallenge

Managing Your Energy Vs. Self-Care

You’ve probably heard about self-care. Self-care is an important aspect of life. It’s when you purposefully take the time to nurture yourself, whether it’s meditating, getting a massage, resting, working at your passion or hobby, or just getting your hair done. When you take time for yourself, it replenishes your energy, makes you happy and content, and helps you grow.

But it also triggers feelings of anxiety and guilt for some women. As women, we’re seen as the nurturers. We put others’ needs first. We bend over backwards to help our loved ones and neglect ourselves. We sacrifice. We ask ourselves, “How can I take time to do a yoga class when I’ve got piles of laundry, an unfinished project at work, a kid that needs homework help, and a million emails and phone calls to respond to?” This always-put-others-first lesson has been ingrained in us for generations. So the concept of prioritizing self-care is often met with hesitation and resistance.

But, still – it’s important. How can we change our mindset so that we make it a priority to take care of ourselves?

I suggest we reframe the concept of self-care into the concept of managing your energy. I believe managing your energy is the key to living the life you desire. And, the concept of managing your energy versus self-care will probably get better support from you and everyone else in your life.

You only have so much energy. And, you want to use that energy to do the things you feel are important, like helping your child with homework or doing a great job at work. When you run out of energy, you’re doing yourself and others a disservice. You’re not giving it your all; you can’t.

To get more energy, to replenish energy, so that you can give 100% when you need to, you need to instill positive, replenishing habits.

95% of our lives are run by habits. Sometimes bad ones. That’s when you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired, and your pre-frontal cortex or your rational and analytical mind shuts down and goes to your subconscious default habits, like reaching for the bag of cookies, or cigarettes, or alcohol, in an attempt to soothe yourself. These habits do not replenish your energy; they deplete it.

Why not guard your energy and replenish it and make deliberate, high-quality choices? Get more sleep, eat foods that are full of life force, laugh and share with friends. Move your body. It is designed to move. Give yourself permission to chill. Take that class you’ve wanted to take for a long time. Go for a hike by yourself.

These types of habits can fill your energy tank back up so that you can be truly present and energized for your job, for your kids, for your partner, and for anything else important to you. Your energy is the most serious thing about you, and you are responsible for managing your energy so that you can bring it to every situation that needs it.