As I write there's 10 days left in 2020. I've always had this "policy" for lack of a better word that you shouldn't give a single year too much power - because the flip of a calendar doesn't necessarily signify things magically changing.
But 2020 has left me feeling... well, spent. And ready to move on. I'd guess most of you can relate.
The worry around a global pandemic, our own health and that of our loved ones, businesses closing, jobs lost - or on the opposite end the lack of separation between home and work , parenting + home schooling while trying to maintain a career, the extreme loneliness and isolation many have endured... I'll stop now, but we can all agree it's been a mentally taxing year. Yes?
2020 has taken our mental reserves, squeezed them really tight, thrown them in the garbage disposal, turned it on high, and then said "wait hang on, you aren't done, there's more, let's churn some more... "
Under normal circumstances (normal? remember normal?) I'd call myself a realist with a propensity towards optimism, but man even a true optimist has had their limits tested. And with all of this said I recognize I'm personally - along with thankfully the vast majority of my family and close friends - mostly unscathed, and for that I am nothing but GRATEFUL.
Still with all that's going on in the world it's easy to feel depleted.
And while I think that's natural given the state of affairs finding ways to protect the energy we do have is crucial for our mental health.
One thing this year has taught me is just how limited of a resource energy is.
Somedays we have more or less to spare, but unless we're seriously ill, or dealing with major crisis I believe we all have some.
The key is identifying ways to protect that energy. Because again - we only have so much.
There are always things we can do daily to preserve our energy, but first we have to take a close look at where that mental energy is going.
We obviously can't control the larger issues in the world, we're also pretty powerless over what others do or say but we can take steps to consciously guard our mindset so we feel LESS drained.
Here's five tips that help protect your energy:
1. Take time every week to evaluate where you're spending your energy.
There's always going to be unavoidable life responsibilities- work, bills, figuring out what to eat for dinner every night, etc - but there's also 7393981245 things every single day competing for our energy, and attention that aren't priorities - and in many cases are secretly draining us. Some of these things might be mindless scrolling, getting sucked into a toxic 24 hours news cycle, spending time gossiping about people we went to high school with, or watching TV that's only "so-so." (I'm all for consuming content but one good rule of thumb is making sure it's either inspiring, entertaining, or educating you. If it's not it's time to reevaluate.)
2. Set Boundaries.
This applies to both people, and technology. Ryan Holiday recently said on Arielle Lorre's podcast something along the lines of "you were not put on this earth to answer email in a timely manner." And geez that spoke to me. Here's the thing - I'm not advocating ignoring your inbox. (I'd be out of business if I did that) but the point is not everything is URGENT. In fact most things aren't, and if we treat them like they are we're going to burn ourselves out quickly. Same goes for text messages, and social media alerts on your phone. I disabled mine about a year ago, and it was life changing.
3. Identify energy VAMPIRES.
Consider how you feel after spending time with certain people - these days this might mean via zoom catch ups, on the phone or texting. Think about how you feel after an exchange - are you agitated? tired? depleted? If someone seriously drains you it's probably time to reevaluate how much energy you're giving them. Here's how to spot and deal with an energy vampire.
4. Take inventory of the content you're consuming.
Do a monthly sweep of the accounts you follow on social. If someone is making you feel negative or shitty - and not providing you any real value unfollow, and move on. The content we consume is a CHOICE.
5. Consider your FEEL GOOD non negotiables.
Mine are some kind of movement, and reading (for fun) before bed. When I'm able to do both of these things most days I notice I have significantly more energy to give to work, my clients, my family, and I'm much less reactive when things go wrong.
Wishing you all a healthy, happy holiday, and a brighter New Year! This will be my last post for 2020, see you back here in January with new content I think you'll love .
Thank you so much for reading, and for all your support this past year!
XO - Beth