When it comes to personal energy management, spoonies know all the things they should be doing but either struggle to do them, or simply don’t do them.
There are so many apps, guides and advice online for managing your personal productivity, but when it comes to energy levels, it often gets overlooked.
Preventing fatigue or managing it effectively so you can gain more energy, slowly over time, is essential if you want to stay productive and enjoy the activities you love and truly enjoy your life!
A Foolproof Formula for Personal Energy Management; Ideal For Spoonies
There are many lifestyle choices that can revitalize you or drain you but the most important place to start is in the bedroom.
Yes, I hear you, it’s not always easy. But it’s essential that you do whatever you can to improve your sleep quality. You can also use this free printable energy diary to keep note and discover your biggest triggers for draining your energy and the tasks that cause the most problems for you.
What Is A Spoonie? What does it have to do with energy management?
The term ‘Spoonie’ refers to someone who suffers from chronic illness/fatigue. It stems from ‘Spoon theory’. “The Spoon Theory”, a personal story by Christine Miserandino, is popular among many people dealing with chronic illness and she would use Spoons as a unit of energy. If you’re chronically ill and this is new to you, don’t worry, it was new to me to at one stage but makes it a lot easier to explain to people about my energy levels.
Sleeping Well Is The Best Place To Start Your Energy Management Journey
Different phases of sleep provide different benefits and if you’re not getting into the deepest phase of sleep, then you aren’t experiencing the benefits of the healing type of sleep. The type of sleep that is essential to avoid conditions like chronic fatigue.
Without that healing sleep, your body will continue on that cycle of fatigue, which in turn will make it difficult to get into that healing sleep phase.
You get the biggest energy boost from the later stages of non-REM sleep, also known as deep or non-dreaming sleep. REM sleep, characterized by rapid eye movements, has more influence on memory, learning and eliminating brain fog and chronic fatigue.
Try these techniques for sounder, more healing/energy-producing sleep:
- Work on a sleep schedule and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Some adults thrive on shorter overnight sleep supplemented by naps. Others need uninterrupted slumber and naps, I personally work best with 9 hours sleep but it’s important that you experiment to see what works best for you.
- Block out noise as much as you can. Keep your bedroom quiet. Use a fan or a white noise app to help you sleep as a good nights sleep is imperative for a strong energy management strategy.
- Get some blackout curtains. Exposure to morning light wakes up your brain while darkness makes it drowsy. It’s also important that you don’t turn on overhead LED lights if you wake up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom as it wakes your brain up.
- Listen to meditation. Do you go to bed on time but have trouble falling asleep? Developing soothing rituals like doing needlework or a few restorative yoga poses can help; anything without a phone. The blue light from phones (even with the ‘night mode’) will keep your brain too active to help you get into the deep rem free healing sleep. That healing sleep is SO vital as a starting point for your energy management strategy.
- Make your bedroom a device free zone. Put the meditation app on and listen through bluetooth headphones like these. You can just pull them off in the middle of the night when your meditation ends.
Related: Positive Quotes About Mental Health To Soothe Yourself
Improved Eating for Energy Management
Do you try to perk up with chocolate/sugar or coffee? Your diet could be making you feel worn out, I eventually had enough of my chronic fatigue and started taking drastic steps after discovering it was caused by my adrenal glands and it is possible to cure it.
Now I try to eat vegan keto as much as I possibly can. It was a real learning curve but I’ve noticed a real gain in energy over time.
I also did something even more drastic (for me); I quit caffeine/coffee.
These strategies can help you eat better for energy gains:
- Choose complex carbohydrates. Foods with a low glycemic index yield the most lasting energy. That includes whole grains and many vegetables and fruits. Most foods high in protein and fat also fall into this category. That’s where Keto recipes come in for me. I try my best and I try not to be too strict. Being kind to yourself is SO important so please, just try your best.
- Eat more often. Does your energy crash in between meals or after a big lunch? Try enjoying smaller and more frequent servings. I’ve ended up eating 5 mini meals in a shorter period of time to keep my brain working. I eat a tonne of brain food and snack on things like Walnuts.
- Limit caffeine. Coffee can “pick you up in the morning” but may keep you awake at night. Caffeine actually doesn’t do that, caffeine blocks the receptors in your brain that let you know you’re exhausted. You still feel exhausted, you still ARE exhausted, but your brain just doesn’t register it until the caffeine falls off and it feels like a huge crash. I’ve been a caffeine addict for about 18 years so this was HUGE for me, but listening to a ‘quit caffeine’ meditation from youtube for a week helped greatly.
- Stay hydrated. Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Sip water or herbal tea throughout the day. I actually drank too much water and I’ve had to cut back, it comes from years of kidney infections so I would have been drinking between 4-6 litres a day. Now I’m down to approximately 2.5L, I could be washing out all of the nutrients from my body. I’m paying careful attention!
- Lose weight sensibly. Crash diets may not provide enough calories for your daily needs and have actually been proven to be one of the biggest contributors to weight gain.
Related: Easy Goal Setting Strategies For Overwhelmed Spoonies
Other Energizing Habits To Help Your Energy Management Journey :
- Manage stress. The consistent and persistent release of stress hormones in your body, means that your body is in fight or flight more A LOT. When that happens, the blood rushes from your internal organs to support your muscles, which is exhausting. It makes it difficult to think and you will find yourself tired, more often during more stressful times. Meditate and practice mindfulness to greatly impact your stress levels quickly.
- Simplify your life. Overwork and decision fatigue can dampen your spirits too. Shorten your to do list. Make healthy habits automatic so you won’t have to think about them.
- Work out. Physical exercise gives you energy rather than using it up. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.
This is a link to Spoonie Yoga/Workout playlist that I do; it’s VERY gentle
- Quit smoking. Increased stamina is one more benefit of giving up tobacco. Pick a day to quit and seek social support that will help you stick to your goals.
- Know your purpose. It’s easier to steam ahead when you care about what you’re doing. Think about what a meaningful life means to you. Focus on activities that you find fulfilling and truly enjoy.
- Schedule a checkup. Symptoms of fatigue are usually temporary and minor. However, they can sometimes be related to a specific medical condition or even an allergy. Your doctor can recommend tests that will help you get the treatment you need.
As a spoonie, it is possible to master the art of Energy Management
However, you must honour how you feel and not try to push it. That will only lead to a setback and potential flare up with some other conditions.
I know it’s boring… but it’s SO important to make sleep a top priority and eat a balanced diet. There’s a reason it’s why nutritionists and doctors recommend these things; they work. It’s not rocket science.
If you still feel tired most days of the week, talk with your doctor if you haven’t already and go armed with your energy diary already filled in. That kind of information is incredibly helpful evidence.
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