Sometimes when you feel like a whirling dervish, about to spin off the planet… maybe you are.  In such times, no matter the circumstance, no matter how difficult, we need consciously and actively seek to restore composure and calm to our lives. Staying frenzied only guarantees it go from bad to worse. Life requires that we prepare ourselves for the inevitable times that try us.

So, a few reminders how to refuel when we have a personal energy crisis:

Stop.  Just stop for a few minutes.  Tune into your body.  Focus on your heart beating, your breath moving through your lungs, nourishing your body, with all its aches and pleasures coexisting, still fully alive. Offer gratitude for that. Don’t deny the experiences that make you into who you’ve become –and are becoming.

Santa Marta sunset

Even if you can’t physically escape the daily grind, take a moment to be quiet and still with no distractions.

Find your quiet place.  The word “meditation” creates anxiety in a lot of people, but it’s merely intentional concentrating on one thing, secular or spiritual. Some become so absorbed in, for example, things such as reading a book, gazing at a waning sunset, listening to music or eating a small piece of perfect chocolate as to block out all else in those moments.  In this state, creativity and intuition become better engaged and we feel more satisfied. There are many paths to moments in which we are fully present.

Plug your energy drains. Avoid or minimize toxic people, life circumstances, self-defeating thinking, such as worry, guilt, indecision.

Concentrate on completing one task at a time, until the day is over.  We often wonder how we can do this when we’re largely accustomed to juggling everything at once, but distracted people get sidetracked and scatter their energy in all directions, sometimes achieving a near nervous breakdown, but not serenity.  Serene people don’t become sidetracked.  Act “as if” when necessary.  Bringing all our conscious attention to whatever we are doing, however small the task or large the challenge, gives us greater inner peace just from living in the moment.

Prime the pump. With old-fashioned water pumps, it is necessary to pump a bit, or even add a bit of water, before the pump begins to trickle water, and then flow steadily. What primes your pump?  For some, it’s exercise, or a walk on a sunny day or even in the rain; perhaps a workspace set up perfectly for their needs, a cup of tea, music of choice or no music at all, a favorite pen or pencil and a special notebook in which to journal or work.  Many find cooking to be soothing; it can nourish the soul as well as the body. Others find the same comfort in projects, such as crafts, sewing, woodworking, drawing or painting; things that give instant gratification when the product of your effort is immediately obvious.  Whatever combinations of things may work for you, establish reassuring routines that comfort and soothe you, and do them regularly.  Make it as appealing as possible.

Get organized.  Consolidate all your to-do lists in one place, in a single system that works for you.  Paper or electronic?  Portable or stay at home?  Keep it neat.  Schedule specifically when each task will be done.  Things on your list certainly won’t get done until you commit to “when”. Think it through; there are only so many hours in a day.  Reassess the list every few days to reschedule unfinished tasks or to delete them if they become unimportant.   Unfinished business is an energy drain and exhausts us.  Bear in mind every system has quirks, as do you, so keep it realistic.  Do it or dump it.

It’s not always possible to declare total independence from the expectations of others, but expectations should always be scrutinized closely.  If it were just up to you… what would you do?  Having someone other than you be disappointed is not always the drama we fear. Forget about trying to make perfect decisions; trust yourself and make choices. Find areas of freedom where you can be more yourself.

You know you’re overcommitted when you always say “yes” –to your family, your boss, to requests, for favors.  Say yes to yourself first more often.

When all else fails, cry all your tears.  Fresh loss and grief demands and deserves mourning.  But old losses you can’t let go of are dead weight.  If they still demand mourning, cry until you are dry, tired of it, and then be done with it.  Make peace with yourself.

Create personal comfort for those times you’d like to hide under the covers and not come out.  Stockpile special meaningful gifts to yourself or treat yourself to little indulgences when you need a remedy for unhappiness or being weary.  Store them in a special place until you need them to spoil and pamper yourself a bit.  Luxuriate.

Take a day off work “just because”.  Indulge a bit in what you fancy.

Identify what primes your pump and fills you up: pleasure, anticipation, prayer, fun, family or friends?  Give yourself more of it.  Then go out and embrace life!