Invest Your Energy
Hello! We’ve made it to the last phase in our Mindful Eating Journey. For the past five weeks we’ve really focused on areas directly related to eating (Why we eat, when, what we eat, how we and how much). This week is a little bit different.
Let’s tackle the questions, “Where do you invest your energy?” It will require you to evaluate your priorities. What is truly important to you? If I were to ask you to list your top 5 priorities, what would you write?
- Spiritual Life (relationship with God)
- Health (mind/body)
Now, think about your day-to-day life. Do your daily/weekly routines reflect what you’ve deemed important to you?
This exercise might challenge what you say is important to you. We all have ideas about what we’d like our lives to be or what legacy we want to leave but that requires prioritizing and follow-through on our end. It requires discipline. However, being disciplined and making time for what we value will revitalize us and give us life and energy!
Here’s how I try to make my life reflect my values and increase my energy:
– For my life to truly reflect what I say I value, my day includes starting out with time in prayer or devotions. This sets my perspective for the rest of the day and enables me to approach my day with a thankful heart and give grace to those I encounter (as I’m in need of grace myself ).
– I have no children (yet) so it’s just my husband and me right now. He is NOT a morning person, which is one reason why I exercise in the morning while he’s still asleep. Our time together is after work and on the weekends. We share a car right now so we have time to catch up on the way home (on the way to work he’s not awake yet). During the week our time together isn’t anything extravagant—it’s low key but allows us to connect. We’ll talk as I make dinner or curl up on the couch. Sometimes I’ll read as he watches something on T.V., but just being together is what matters.
- I also make sure to call my parents every other day (or sometimes more). We are extremely close. I like in Alaska now and they are in Tennessee but it’s nice to take a walk and call my mom or Skype just to see their faces! Thank God for technology.
3. Health (mind/body)
– I have found that if I don’t work out first thing in the morning, it just won’t happen. Therefore, I wake up at 6am every day and exercise. When I start my day off with exercise, my “feel good” endorphins kick in and it helps me wake up! Having this “me time” is invigorating for me. I love cardio or high intensity workouts in the morning to get me going, but maybe something more relaxed in nature like yoga or pilates are what you need to begin your day with a clear mind.
– I take time to prepare healthy, allergen-friendly meals in bulk. Eating well ensures that I have the energy to hike with my husband on the weekends, exercise during the week, and make it through my workday without crashing. It also ensures that my digestive system is humming along as it should and means that I adhere to my food sensitivities to avoid body pain, fatigue, migraines, etc.
– For a healthy mind, it’s important for me to have a creative outlet. Sometimes I write, sometimes I paint, and sometimes I dance! I do whatever I feel like doing to let my mind take a break.
– Believe it or not, this one has been a struggle for me to follow through on. Before moving to Alaska (my husband and I moved on January 1st), I worked ALL of the time and have very little time to invest in friendships. Working all of the time was easy to do, as I loved my job, but it wasn’t a healthy work-life balance. On my deathbed, I want to remember times spent building relationships, not hours spent in the office. Since my move to Alaska, I’ve made it a point to join Meet Up and attend different social gatherings for women. My husband and I have joined a Bible Study for Couples at our church and we join friends for football and fellowship every Sunday after church. This takes intent, but it’s so worth it.
– This one probably comes most easily to all of us because we HAVE to work if we want to have a roof over our heads, eat, provide for our family, etc. Does work drain you or invigorate you?
Thankfully, as a Registered Dietitian I LOVE MY JOB. I absolutely love teaching people how to eat well in order to heal and/or fuel their bodies. I frequently research new topics and take continuing education courses. This stimulates me intellectually and enables me to best help my clients!
I begin my new job on Monday. This time, I’ll make sure to work within my hours, as to not burn out and still have time to foster relationships.
How does all of this apply to Mindful Eating? When we have a healthy mind, we have the capacity to be present in our daily activities and relationships. We have the energy to prepare healthy foods and the mental clarity to make the right choices. We’re able to relieve stress/anger/sadness in ways other than eating.
Here are 7 Key Tips to having a healthy Mind and Body with Energy from Christopher Bergland, author of The Athlete’s Way:
- Daily Physicality: Exercise for at least 20 minutes most days of the week.
- Intellectual Curiosity: Spend some time in focused thought, exploring new ideas every day.
- Foster Creativity: Challenge your mind to connect unrelated ideas in new and useful ways.
- Human Unity: Create and maintain close-knit human bonds and a social support network.
- Spiritual Connectedness: Identify a Source of inspiration that is bigger than you.
- Energy Balance: Balance Calories in/Calories out, and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Voluntary Simplicity: Embrace the liberty that comes with wanting and needing less.
Read through this and see how they align with the priorities that you listed. You might find that some of these are not currently on your list but you’d like to incorporate them into your life. Be deliberate and truly evaluate your routine. Do you spend too much time in one area? Is it stealing energy from you or taking away from something that would give you joy? Take baby steps towards prioritizing what truly matters to you.
A balanced life with energy has much greater health implications than happiness alone.
According to doctors at the Pritkin Longevity Spa, “Mind-body medicine originated more than 4,000 years ago, when physicians in China noticed that illness often followed periods of frustration in their patients’ lives. Today in western societies like the U. S., medical professionals also share the view that emotions, life events, and coping skills can have a very strong influence on health. Healthy mind-body medicine is now part of exciting new fields such as psychoneuroimmunology and behavorial cardiology.”
This is the end of this series but it’s not the end of your journey. This is a learning process. It forces you to regularly re-evaluate your energy. Once a month I encourage you to come back to the circle and see how you’re adopting each principle into your daily life.
Give yourself grace. Enjoy the process. Enjoy feeling truly healthy and new energy.