Episode 069 - How to identify and ditch your energy thieves
Welcome to episode 069 of the podcast! It’s great to see you.
On today’s episode I’m talking about how to identify and ditch your energy thieves.
You can’t quite put your finger on it, but whatever that thing was that used to give you get up and go, has definitely gotten up and left. From the mood of your partner to your iron intake the things that zap your precious already limited energy are everywhere.
But if you can learn what they are, and which ones you are most affected by, you have a good chance of stopping them from stealing any more time from you.
Have you subscribed to my podcast yet? If not, I’d love it if you would, and if you’re feeling super-kind, I’d be very grateful if you would leave me a review, too.
Click here to subscribe and review
Reviews help people just like you to find my podcast, and we can build a community that empowers us all.
Links from the episode:
Transcript of episode
Hello! I’m your host, Lorraine Stone, and on today’s episode I’m talking about how to identify and ditch your energy thieves.
You can’t quite put your finger on it, but whatever that thing was that used to give you get up and go, has definitely gotten up and left. From the mood of your partner to your iron intake the things that zap your precious already limited energy are everywhere. But if you can learn what they are, and which ones you are most affected by, you have a good chance of stopping them from stealing any more time from you.
Those days where you feel you’re moving at the pace of a geriatric snail and living in your PJs because you don’t have the energy or inclination to get dressed isn’t just about a lack of motivation, but a lack of energy is also likely to blame. If you live with a chronic health condition such as mine which is ME., or depression, stress, or anxiety, you’re naturally going to have depleted energy levels.
You may not like to hear this, but your illness is not an excuse to wallow in it.
I have spent years playing with the following things to see what I can still manipulate in spite of my illness to find the energy to be able to go to work, go to the gym, go running, and achieve plenty of other things that I want to be able to do to live a life, not just fester away on the sofa. I’m not saying there are never days when that’s all I can manage, but I don’t want that to be all of my days. Mindset can only get you so far. You have to make a choice to treat your body better.
So many times I’d be sitting in clinic and people would be telling me all the things I can no longer do, including going for walks with the dog, or going running. After a while, I stopped listening, and I went anyway. Built myself up slowly. My reporting scores started to increase. My lung capacity started to improve. My sleep improved. Eventually, the consultant asked what I was doing so I told him. I’d been running again, 3 times a week, and had built myself up to a mile. Never again did he tell me not to do something.
Energy is split into three categories.
Physical, emotional and mental. Emotional is affected by the state of the world around you. Physical is affected by what you choose to do, or not do. Mental is the workload your brain is going through. Within each category there are a few thieves that can be stealing your energy. And yes, by thieves, I do mean the choices you make.
You’re eating the wrong meals. It doesn’t matter what time you eat breakfast, but you will be lacking in energy until you get something into your belly. It’s then very easy to succumb to a high-carb choice that will spike your blood sugar and have you crashing down hard. The best solution is to ensure you keep your protein up. This not only helps keep your muscles in good condition, which is super-important if you’re like me and suffer with muscle pains and spasms, but a lack of protein affects your mood, liver function, and reduces your immunity.
You’re sleeping, but not well.
Poor sleep increases insulin resistance, which bring on the sugar cravings! It’s known that anxiety, stress, depression and other chronic health conditions have an effect on our sleep. One of the very few tablets I still take is a daily dose of 375mg magnesium. It has a brilliant effect on the amount of deep sleep I have, and for many of us in the clinic it helped with bowel disturbances too. If you’re hitting the snooze button a couple of times, and you can do so because it’s not making you late, just change the time the alarm is set for. You don’t get any decent sleep during snooze, and if anything you’ll feel worse because you didn’t get up and you told yourself you will.
You’re not active enough.
The irony. Remember those days when you would sit around as a teen doing nothing and then be absolutely shattered? If I do nothing my leg spasms and pain greatly increase. So unfair. The less that you do, the less energy you have. There are studies to suggest that the less you do then the lower quality sleep you have. We all have different levels of what we can do. When I was really sick I would make sure to potter around the house every hour, and do stretches laying down aka bed yoga.
Low iron and/or B12.
Either can lead to anaemia, affect your mental energy, attention span, and cognitive function. Hopefully, if you have a chronic health condition you have been tested for both of these. If you haven’t been, ask! Animal products including yogurt and cheese contain B12. However, some plant-based products are fortified with it. And you can buy B12 tablets.
Environment isn’t working.
As a creative it has always annoyed me about the tidy desk policies that we have in the office, and how a tidy desk is a tidy mind. So I’m super-pleased that a study from the University of Exeter shows that the opposite is true – the worst work space is clean and clutter-free. It varies individually how much clutter we can put up with and forcing a messy person to work and live in a tidy environment is detrimental to their mental health and vice-versa. I’m not saying you have carte blanche to now live in a tip and never do housework again, unless you live on your own and that’s your jam, because mouldy coffee mugs and slimy banana skins are not going to do much for your mental health either. But if you’re the type that has photos around, and likes to keep stuff out overnight instead of wasting time putting it all away only to get it out again, then do so. As long as everyone in your home can get on board with each other’s preferences, you’re all good
How much of your day is spent on social media, scrolling away. The negative effects include fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Not to mention the distraction from some of the things you wanted to get done. If the average adult checks their phone up to 58 times a day, and your mental wellbeing is at stake, try a detox. Spend a couple of hours in aeroplane mode. Decide on certain times to check, and don’t check any other time. I have modes set up on my phone, so after 9pm if anyone sends me a message I don’t get an alert until 7am the next morning unless the person is my dad, James, my sister or niece. You can also get detox apps that block you opening certain apps during certain hours.
Yes, this also affects mental energy, however it earns its place in emotional because, for instance, if you have money worries, you feel it in your gut when an unexpected bill arrives. There isn’t really a problem that can’t have a solution. Talk to someone suitable.
Boss or partner likes to criticise, or maybe it’s you.
You know those hard-to-please people. You will never be able to change them. You can change your reaction. The standards you need to meet are the ones you set for yourself. Don’t allow a crappy comment from someone else cause you to talk mean to yourself, or decide that you deserve to eat crappy food because someone else was mean to you. You teach people how to treat you. If you treat yourself like crap by responding in this way, then you’re opening the door for them to do the same.
Not helped by Covid. Crisis fatigue is a thing. Once only for those that dealt with actual crises, those of us at home who hear things all the time now about things happening so far away that a few decades ago we would never have heard about because the social media wasn’t around are also suffering with crisis fatigue. We were designed to be in communities, but our own small ones. Not a world sized one. It’s super-important to take time for yourself. Switch off the negative stuff. Be it the TV, people you need to unfollow. And find something instead that you love to do. Knit. Sew. Bake. Read. Doesn’t matter. Just something that allows you to switch off from the negativity and far external sources that constantly bring you down.
I know it sounds implausible, but by making some small tweaks you can create a routine designed to energise you.
Please do share your key takeaway from this episode and if you enjoyed this episode please pop over to where you listen to podcasts and rate and review, so that we can get this podcast seen by others who need it too.
To find out more on how to take your life back from a chronic illness and learn to love the body you’re in now, you can email me and you can also find me on Instagram. I’ve put a link to both in the shownotes.
Thanks for listening, and remember – you are worth it, and you get to choose.
Have a lovely day.