What are your energy levels telling you?
Over the past few weeks I have experienced ups and downs in energy levels - like an energetic rollercoaster! Not so long ago I was in a constant state of 'pushing'. Always on the go, always taking action, always tackling things aggressively and with a very masculine energy. The result of this was burn out. I was overcome with stress, my body was tired, my mind didn't know what to do with itself.
I became consumed with 'making sh*t happen' and didn't accept rest or tiredness as an excuse. I pushed through exhaustion and ignored the signs my body gave me - aches and niggles, low immunity, digestive issues, anxiety attacks, irregularities in my menstrual cycle and eventually the complete loss of my period.
My body gave me all the signs - I just chose not to listen. My stubborn, determined frame of mind and that 'committed work ethic' I had always been so proud of - was getting me into trouble.
Over the past 6 months I have been on a steep learning curve to take a lot more notice of these signals, and also tap much more into the softer feminine energy that has been completely MIA over the past ten years.
I believed that in order to be successful I had to attack life, I had to be constantly 'on' and never show any signs of vulnerability or 'weakness'.
I still believe that you have to make the magic happen - you have to be pro-active - but you also have to be compassionate towards yourself and acknowledge what your body is telling you. Our energy levels are the ultimate tracking tool for our wellbeing - it really is that simple!
Over the last few weeks my energy levels have gone from sky high to rock bottom on a regular basis, sometimes in the space of a few hours! I believe that this is due to the transitions I am making in my life at the moment. Changing routine, adjusting to my yoga teaching schedule, expending my energy in different ways to what I am used to.
This transition is utterly amazing, but I know that I need to be gentle and protect myself from burnout. Just because I am enjoying myself, doesn't mean it isn't tiring.
In fact that is something we were taught to be aware of during teacher training, you expend a lot of mental energy when you are holding space for people in your classes. You put all your love and energy into creating something beautiful for them to learn and grow - and you absolutely have to give yourself space to replenish.
In the past I would have felt frustrated and guilty about taking 'easy' days. But now I am realising that the ups and downs of my energy levels are my cues for how to deal with the ebbs and flows of daily life.
I am learning that when I feel energised I can take action, I can be on the go, I can push myself more in my exercise, I can get more stuff done in my day. But when tiredness arrives it isn't something to be ashamed of. It isn't a sign that I am pathetic or weak. It is simply a sign to say that I have worked hard and I deserve to take my foot off the pedal for a short while.
And so today, I am doing things just for me. I am embracing the tired, but happy feeling and taking time to do things I want to do and that help my body replenish.
I am writing this blog because it nourishes me, it isn't because I feel I HAVE to churn out content.
By doing this today, I know that tomorrow will arrive with renewed energy levels. If I pushed on regardless my energy would get lower and lower and lower until I had no choice but to stop all together.
Something I have found useful is to keep track of my energy levels in a diary or journal. Our energy can very much be linked (for women) to the monthly cycle, but also you may find that certain situations deplete you of energy more than others. Even being around certain people can drain your resources. By becoming aware of these things you can start to find ways to protect your energy during these situations and hopefully avoid burning out all together.
Protecting your energy, is protecting yourself. It is vital for us to thrive in life. Try not to over ride it - it is a very powerful message given to you for a very good reason.