Since I live in Texas and we are firmly entrenched in July (just typing this sentence is making me sweaty), the temperatures are constantly hovering around 100 degrees. This year the humidity has been high and the breezes almost non-existent. Can we just agree that this is obscene? In this weather it takes roughly a nanosecond for me to feel wiped out. I become a sweaty mess doing any kind of chore inside my air-conditioned home, for pete’s sake. So I am writing myself a little pep talk, hoping that I can be at least slightly more useful than the “g” in the word lasagna for the remainder of the summer.
I came up with a list of 5 things that I can do to energize myself when all I want to do is “lay like broccoli”(credit Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman).
1. Move my body. Even though it makes me more hot and tired, when I go more than 1 day without meaningful exercise it makes me feel increasingly sluggish. So I get out early – when the temp is only 99 degrees, or go to my air-conditioned local gym, or take the kids to the roller rink (and not watch) or get in the pool and water walk. YouTube has tons of exercise videos that can be done in the comfort of my own home. I also love Yogamazing video podcasts.
2. Take a nap. The opposite of moving my body. If my sleep quality has been sub par, sometimes I really need to close my eyes and catch a few winks. For me, short naps are best for increasing energy. Passing out for 1-2 hours in the middle of the day can make me feel worse. So if the kids aren’t in the house to ensure that I get interrupted, I set an alarm.
3. Eat a healthy snack. Emphasis on healthy. When I’m tired, it’s so tempting to reach for simple carbs (read “junk food”), but in the long run this will only make me feel worse. Something with a good mix of healthy fat, protein and carbs is best if possible. Some nuts, or a string cheese and fresh fruit, or an apple with peanut butter. Including healthy fats can help clear the cob webs from the brain.
4. Cross something off my “to-do” list. Now wait. Wasn’t the problem that I didn’t have the energy for the things I need to do? Yes, but nothing puts the pep back in my step like accomplishment. So I choose something I need to get done that I don’t consider draining. I don’t choose scrubbing my tub because that drives me to want to drink. But I could clean out my e-mail, or make a grocery list, or wrap a birthday gift, or choose a household chore that I can do while watching my favorite TV show or listening to a podcast I love.
5. Whereas my #1 and #2 were opposites, #4 and #5 are as well. As a creative type, I sometimes need to set aside my to-do list for some artsy-fartsy time. I love to write, so taking time to put my thoughts to keyboard is important to me. But what if I don’t have any ideas? One of my favorite things right now is The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer. It is full of pictures and ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
I chose 5 things because there is no 1 size fits all solution. Not all of my energy-generators are appropriate all of the time. If I am the only one at home with my kids, am I going to be able to take a nap? I felt all the wistful eye rolls from you mamas as soon as you read that one. So my challenge to you would be to create your own list. You may have wanted to throat punch me at the mere thought of doing something on my list. And I might equally hate one of yours. The idea is to think about what brings you joy and rest and have the ideas in your back pocket for a rainy – or sweltering, sweaty day. What are your 5? I would love to hear.
“One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.” Eccl. 4:6