By Ozlem Aydin
We often catch ourselves wishing for more time, but lately I’ve been wishing for more energy instead. We can’t add more hours to the day but even if we could, would it help our productivity if we don’t have the energy to commit to the tasks on our to-do list?
It hadn’t occurred to me just how important energy is until a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic when I was starting to feel depleted by noon. For the most part, I eat balanced meals, exercise a few times a week and get enough sleep, so I couldn’t figure out what the issue was. I began to take note and assess my daily activities to identify where I was allocating the most energy so that I could start to take my power back.
It occurred to me after conducting my analysis that my lack of energy was a result of not doing enough of the things that I enjoy. As adults, we get caught up in the grind of “adulting” and lose focus of who and what we are and the things that define us. Our jobs are a big part of our lives but at the end of the day, we are more than our careers. We deserve to pursue the things that make our hearts smile and reward ourselves by taking time to explore our curiosities.
How do we replenish our energy?
- Carve out chunks of time to do more of the things that make you happy. I found this to be instrumental for me, especially during the workday. During COVID-19, I was behind my laptop for most of the day, just like most of you. I started to incorporate a handful of 15-minute breaks throughout the day. Sometimes I would step outside for some fresh air and sun, sometimes I would meditate and sometimes I would catch up with my family or friends. Explore what makes you happy.
- Get a good amount of rest and sleep. There is no substitute for sleep. We must honor our mind and body and give it the downtime that it needs. Getting proper rest helps us to show up daily to meet our responsibilities and commitments. We must remember we are human and not robots; we’re meant to rest to ensure that we have a balance of health and well-being – physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
- Eat balanced meals. Consuming the right portion of foods throughout the day makes a difference on how we feel. Feeling sluggish during the day can result from a lack of nutrients. I realize it’s difficult to eat well when life gets hectic, but we are our habits, and we should always strive to eat well for a healthy body, mind and soul.
- Exercise. I find exercise to be extremely underrated. The amount of energy we feel after a workout is one of the best feelings. I feel strong enough to conquer anything in that moment. Exercise helps to increase our productivity, improve our quality of sleep, reduces stress and contributes to a healthier heart. Releasing dopamine has several effects on our body, allowing us to feel pleasure, satisfaction and motivation. It’s also good for our learning, memory, motor system function and more.
It’s no secret we have more energy when we do things with a sense of purpose. The more we spend time doing things we genuinely enjoy, the more energetic we feel. Energy maximizes our efficiency and effectiveness. It puts a pep in our step to get things done. The more positive energy we have, the more joy we can spread and share with those around us. It reminds me of children; they have so much energy running around in the playground because they are genuinely happy to be there. We can tell just by observing their body language how vibrant their spirit is.
Energy is one of our most valuable resources. It impacts our mood and the quality of our work and relationships. We should honor it and be mindful of how and where we spend it. We have one life to live, so let’s make it one that has purpose and fulfil it with a healthy balance of mind, spirit and body.
Ozlem is a senior management official currently working for the Director of the Office of Communications at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She’s been employed at the IRS for more than 16 years, possessing a wide range of experience from the Collections, Engagement & Retention Office and the Strategy and Organizational Improvement Office, to name a few.
This article originally appeared on November 8, 2021.