by Eva Gregory, CPCC
Are you greeting each new day with optimism and energy or are you feeling a bit lackluster? Are you dragging in the morning, slogging through mental, physical, and emotional quicksand throughout your work day, when school lets out, or any of those other times you want – and need – to be bright, cheery, energetic?
Whether one is in transition or not, there are times in our lives when we lack that extra oomph, that shine, that spark that makes all things possible – even doable. Why is that?
The reasons can be one or several: career, relationships, finances, home life, health, school, fitness, schedules and time crunches, commutes, even the people we interact with on a regular basis. Any, some, or all can cause us to feel wiped out, depressed, stressed, discouraged, hopeless, exhausted, daunted, downtrodden. We know we should just simply ‘dig deep,’ rise above, and push onward and upward. Yet, at times in our lives, due to one or a set or circumstances and conditions that have changed or added up over time, it can feel nearly impossible to find that spark to drag ourselves out of the perceived muck. We have succumbed to energy drains – whether person, place, thing, circumstance – and need to get our groove back on! This may seem impossible if one is having a hard time finding the energy to pack a lunch AND water the plants.
It can happen to any of us. Take Helen, a single mother of a young boy, who gets up at the crack of dawn to dress, prepare herself and her son for the day, get him to the sitter, then commute 45 minutes to her job. During her work day, she thinks of her son often, feeling sadness that she can’t spend more time with him and worrying that she’ll miss so many milestones in his young life. Day’s end finds her doing the same in reverse: 45-minute commute, gathering son from sitter, arriving home to make dinner, spend a bit of time with her boy, and tend to household chores. Helen is as tired in the morning as she is a night; aware that she feels like she is not ‘running on all cylinders,’ she is trying to find light at the end of the seeming tunnel and knows something needs to change.
Conversely, we have Naomi, a stay-at-home Mom who left a very lucrative career about a year ago in order to be home full-time for her young daughter. Even though Naomi does not have to leave the house, she is finding it more and more difficult to even find the time to get dressed. Her daughter, Katie, seems to have so many needs and demands that Naomi is hard-pressed to get anything accomplished around the house and for herself during Katie’s waking hours. Naomi is exhausted, misses her career and coworkers, feels like she’s spinning her wheels, and is at her wits end. She’s not sure how, but knows she needs to get off of what she perceives to be a gerbil wheel of emotional hell.
Isn’t it odd how unique we are? It would seem that if Helen and Naomi traded places, all would be rosy and full of life’s passion. Since most of us know that is not realistic, what CAN we do to get our oomph back, banish the ‘quicksand,’ and once again, plant flowers?
Perhaps Helen can freelance or maybe her employer will let her outsource part of the work week, so she could perform her career tasks from home; she might be able to work evenings instead or cut back on her hours as well. Naomi may be able to hire a per diem nanny or place Katie in a play group or day care a few times a week; even an afternoon or two would free her to get groceries, clean house, enjoy some ‘me’ time, and even to find a way to re-enter the work force, either part-time or from home.
Both women are aware of how they are feeling and seem to know what is causing these energy drains, but what is the next step? The most important thing we can do when we all feeling the quicksand is to identify the problem – and then, choose a positive course of action with a positive attitude. We need to be able to identify the sources of our energy drains – and then find ways to say “No!” to them (or change our perspective about them) and say “Yes!” to our chosen solutions. How might we accomplish this?
Here’s an easy method:
Take a sheet of paper and draw two lines vertically from top to bottom, separating the page into three columns. On the left-most side, list those things, tangible or intangible, that you feel are sapping your energy. In the middle column, list any possible solutions for each item on the left. It’s okay to be creative. You are creating your own destiny here! Lastly, in the right-most column, jot down how you will feel when you have resolved the issue in the left-hand column. Spend some time with those positive feelings.
Energy, like water, seeks its own level. The Universe is always ready to help us, open doors, promote us, give us all we need – once we open ourselves to that vibrant flow of giving and receiving. It can not do that if we are looking down at our feet. Instead, identify your drains, choose to alter your course and/or your perception, and reach for the stars. If you have been missing out on that joie de vivre and zest for life, you are now in for a pleasant surprise! Seize the day.