I know it sounds like common sense. The fact that each of us only has so much energy to get us through the day. That at some point we will hit a wall and be done. Everybody knows that.
But I was living my life like there was an endless supply. Making to do lists that are a mile long. Never saying no to friends and family. Setting impossible expectations for myself. Getting angry with myself when I don’t meet those expectations. All while working an extremely stressful job.
I was miserable. I always felt angry, guilty and exhausted. And then at some point I would get overwhelmed and I would just shut down. You can only function like that for so long.
I had to start treating my energy as a valuable and limited resource. It was time for some changes. Here are some steps I took. I started by writing down my top three priorities. (Myself, my kids, a home)
- I thought about my regular commitments. Do they align with my top three priorities? If the answer is no, is it worth my time and energy?
- I thought about my relationships. Remembering my energy is valuable and limited, are they worth the investment?
- Listened to my body. Your body will give you signs that you need a break or that you are taking too much on.
I check in with myself on a regular basis. I make sure I haven’t fallen into old habits. Simply by putting value on my own energy I gave myself permission to say no. It has made a huge difference in my stress and anxiety.