Posts tagged: Self care

5 Ways to Restore Your Physical Energy and Be More Effective

By , October 31, 2013 5:28 pm

Man chained with office table (workplace) 2“In reality, physical energy is the fundamental source of fuel, even if our work is almost completely sedentary. It not only lies at the heart of alertness and vitality but also affects our ability to manage our emotions, sustain concentration, think creativity, and even maintain our commitment to whatever mission we are on.”

~ Jim Loehr, Author

I was recently working with a coaching client (…we’ll call him John) who was tired and couldn’t understand why despite working longer hours, his performance wasn’t as good as it used to be. He was throwing more hours in to the job in hope that he could get everything done.

Believe it or not, John had actually become disconnected from his body!

Let me explain…

In his determination to get things done, John had become unconscious to the need to replenish or even manage his own energy levels. Especially his own physical energy reserves that were being depleted.

John described his life as numb. He was busy ALL the time. He was struggling to keep up with the heavy demands of his job and trying to get everything done.

Although he knew that exercising and sleeping well were important, he saw them as a luxury in his busy life: He just didn’t have the time. His diet wasn’t healthy either, as he had gotten into the habit of grabbing food on-the-go: convenient fast food – snacky, carb-loaded stuff. He’d put on weight in the last 18-months while working in his current role.

Here’s the thing…

Many of us lead relatively sedentary lives.

What we do is measured and evaluated with our minds, rather than our bodies (unless we are professional athletes!). Most jobs involve sitting at a desk and working at a computer or attending meetings. Performance is measured by hard work – sitting down and getting the job done!

The choices John had made were depleting his ability to concentrate, think creatively and manage his emotions. He was less tolerant of other people and would get anxious and frustrated when things weren’t going well.

He started to realize the impact these factors had on his performance at work. He had gotten stuck in a pattern of low motivation to change despite knowing the consequences of his choices.

The size of your energy reserves depends on the quality of:

  • The foods that you eat
  • The amount of sleep you get
  • The degree of intermittent recovery you allow yourself during the day
  • Your level of fitness

Here are some ways to top up your physical energy reserves:

1. Conscious eating – Take time to eat healthy food regularly. The impact of being hungry has an impact on your ability to function. Breakfast is critical! The frequency of how often you eat also has an impact on your capacity to stay fully focused and engaged to sustain high performance. Listen to your body… remove the junk food and add healthier options such as fruit instead of cookies and crisps!

2. Change your sleeping patterns – Create an evening routine. Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. An evening routine might be turning the laptop off at 8pm, having a bath and reading before you go to sleep. Most of us need 7-8 hours sleep per night.

3. Drink more water – Most of us are de-hydrated! We don’t drink enough water throughout the day. Drinking water is one of the most undervalued sources of energy renewal. This is a key factor in improving your physical energy levels.

4. Regular moderate exercise – Despite knowing that taking some regular exercise is beneficial, most people do almost none! Twenty to thirty minutes a day of continuous exercise, a minimum of three times per week, can make a huge difference. Get outside and walk. Be prepared to stretch out of your comfort zone and feel a little discomfort. NOT having the time is an EXCUSE! Including this into your day can help release tension and help you to manage your emotions better.

5. Take regular breaks – To maintain full engagement we must take a break to recover every 90 minutes.  Step away from what you are doing, stretch and allow yourself to recover. Build some recovery rituals into your life. This includes down time on an evening and during the weekend.

Have ever noticed the difference physical activity makes to your emotional and mental state?

 

Are You Too Busy To Look After Yourself?

By , July 10, 2013 8:44 pm

iStock_000011570636Large“A healthy and happy YOU is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone else. Yet most of us don’t look after ourselves. We are too busy getting things done to get around to looking after own emotional, psychological and physical needs as a human being. We only take it seriously when something goes wrong!”

- Elaine Bailey, Author, Speaker, Coach

Many of us spend most of our time doing things for everyone else:  the boss, clients, family or friends. Sometimes our own needs are neglected. We relegate ourselves to the bottom of our To Do List hoping that we’ll get around to taking a break, eating healthily or going to the gym soon!

I was working with a coaching client recently who was exhausted with her busy life and the demands others placed upon her. She felt obliged to be the constant support for everyone else. The more she gave, the more they seemed to want. She was locked in this holding pattern because she didn’t want to let anyone down.

Taking personal timeout wasn’t an option and the thought of it made her feel guilty. How could she be so selfish and do something for herself?

My client had assumed the role of a rescuer in many of her current relationships. She’d become the go to person for everyone. She felt exhausted and unhappy.

She was:

  • Doing more than she really wanted to
  • Discounting her own needs
  • Doing more for others than they were willing to do for themselves

Our lives constantly inter-connect and we all have needs and wants. It’s sometimes hard for us to weigh our own needs against the needs of others and own needs get neglected as we try to help.

The truth is that we care and we want to help those that we love, but we also need to look out for ourselves.

We consciously hang onto our old conditioned patterns of behavior. My client had no-energy for herself, because she was unconsciously giving it all away to everyone else.

Taking care of YOU is NOT selfishness.

So what does ‘selfishness’ actually mean?

Selfishness – Many people confuse taking care of themselves with selfishness.  There is a significant difference between the two.  Selfishness is about getting what you want without any consideration for the other person’s needs. It’s usually at the expense of the other person. Selfishness is an intentional release of negative energy. For example, it’s purposely not sharing information with someone that might save them time, because it might make them look better than you.

Self-care  Is a totally different energy. You are look after your own well being in a healthy way. It’s a commitment that you make to yourself. A healthy and happy you is hugely important because your energy affects and interacts with everything and everybody that you come into contact with (See Radiators and Drains).

Invest in yourself.

If you’ve never done this before consciously, those closest to you may notice a difference and feel uncomfortable to begin with because you are doing things differently and they are not used to it. They prefer the ‘old you’ because they were easier to manipulate! Teach them how to treat you.

Here’s how to get started…

1. Take responsibility  We are each responsible for our own life and the choices we make. Therefore, we have the right to take care of our own needs. The balance between commitment to yourself and the desire to help someone else requires us to define some lines of responsibility. As a coach, I’m responsible to my client, but not for my client’s results. They have to take action in order to get a result. It’s more difficult to draw lines with those we love.

2. Determine your own needs and wants – To live authentically it’s important to consider your own needs, wants and to identify what’s important to you. This clarity helps you to live your core values and create your best life. You also get to decide when another’s needs supersede your own. Take conscious action do one thing every day for yourself.

3. Set some boundaries – As human beings we all have equal value, worth and dignity. You have the right to say no when you want to, to take care of yourself and to ask for what you want. It’s important to set boundaries with other people, so they know what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior. Boundaries help you to protect your authenticity, integrity and demonstrate how you value yourself and others.

You only get one life (and one body) so look after yourself. After all, your To Do List is pretty useless if you’re not around To Do it! Right?!

If you are not taking care of yourself – Who is?

 

Purr-fect Living – 5 life lessons I’ve learnt from my cats!

By , April 6, 2010 12:10 am

March 30th 001My cats live very blessed lives. They want for nothing and they have trained me well!

Sometimes I want to swap roles with one of them for a day. They could travel and deliver some trainings while I lounge on the window ledge snoozing in the sunshine!

Thinking about this ‘life swap’ made me realise that my furry family have taught me a few things about how to live a purr-fect life:

1. Live in each moment – Cats ALWAYS live in the NOW. They are fully present in the moment. Even when that moment involves napping! They enjoy the NOW and make the most of it, whatever the day presents for them.

NOW is where life happens! Not next week or next month, it’s always in the moment.

Have you ever seen a cat worrying about workloads or their To-Do List?!

How much time do you spend fully present in the NOW?

2. Cat Napping – is an ancient art form. Cats invented it and they are the experts! Cats take sleep very seriously. If a cat is tired, then it naps – Simple!

Here’s how:

  1. find a cozy spot (preferably one with a heat source is purr-fect!)
  2. curl up and nap

Watching a cat napping is very therapeutic. It actually makes me sleepy, so we often end up napping together.

We have a rule in our house. If you have a cat napping on your lap, then you have to sit there and relax! It works!

3. Teach others how to treat you – Cats live by the instructions in their own Operating Manuals. If a cat doesn’t like something, it simply chooses not to participate and just walks away. Cats are independent decision makers. They decide and then they act. For example, one of my cats will look through the glass window by the back door, meow and wait for me to let her in. Even though there is a perfectly good cat flap a foot away!

It’s easy to live our own life by someone else’s interpretation of our Operating Manual. We live by their perceptions of what we should do and how we should act. We become a People Pleaser saying ‘Yes’ when we really want to say ‘No.’

Who’s Operating Manual are you working from?

4. Have Fun – Even adult cats love to play. Cats will often have what we call a ‘mad half hour’ where they race around, chase balls, leaves and do the ‘Wall of Death’ around the furniture! They’re wide awake, enjoying being alive and having so much fun!

Now, I’m not saying that you should do the ‘Wall of Death’ around your furniture! But how much fun do you allow in your life?

Lighten up and have some fun!

5. Persistence pays off - Have you ever noticed how persistent cats can be? My ginger tom (Charlie) would sit for a whole day watching a mouse hole waiting for the mouse to re-appear. Cats do this instinctively. Charlie showed up and waited, and waited. He was an extremely successful hunter, much to my terror and distress! I would always be saving the life of some poor innocent bird or mammal.

Persistence is a common quality of successful people. Sometimes things aren’t going to be easy. It’s about hanging in there and continuing onward, remembering your intention and why you are doing this. It can take a lot of energy, but you ask Charlie – he’ll tell you that it’s worth it!

Finally, there are some things that I’m choosing not to learn from my cats. For example, let me just say that I’m going to stick to showering each day!

Have a purr-fect week!

Stepping Out of the ‘Do-Do’ – Part #2

By , March 23, 2010 12:28 am

iStock_000001401101Small

Note: This is Part 2 of a mini-series. To read Part 1, click here.

Living reactively is exhausting because you are constantly living in chaos and waiting for the next crisis to happen.

Here’s how this used to be for me:

The yammering voices in my head never stopped telling me what I must, ought or should be doing. They made me work longer hours. Sometimes they’d wake me in the middle of the night to remind me about something I’ve forgotten to do or to give me something else to worry about. Sometimes as I woke up the next morning I’d get a flat feeling as all my to-do’s rushed through the mental fog to great my consciousness. I’d begin my day by freaking out over my workloads before I got out of bed!

I’d get more tired and desperate to succeed as I ignored self care and continued to push my body to the limits by working all hours. My energy tanks were emptying quickly and I wasn’t replacing them. There got to a point where I was living on ‘empty.’

That’s when I realised that I’d reached overwhelm.

Energy is our life force!

Here’s a good place to begin…

1. Listen to your body!

I worked with a coach who once asked me two important questions:

  1. Are you tired?
  2. Are you hungry?

Huh?!

What did this have to do with anything?

“I haven’t got time to focus energy on this because I’ve already got too much to do. Don’t give me more to think about!”

It had EVERYTHING to do with how I had unconsciously allowed myself to become exhausted and overwhelmed!

Sleeping and eating are usually the first things to suffer when we get sucked into the ‘Do-Do.’ Busy-ness loves it when you’re hungry and tired. We get locked into doing and forget to eat and sleep properly under the false illusion of saving time to get more things done!

We ignore the signals from our body and wonder why we are so tired, emotional and overwhelmed.

Short-term this is okay because our bodies are very forgiving and have an amazing ability to heal.

If this continues, exhaustion gets a tighter grip because we are physically and mentally weaker. It’s harder for us to concentrate and to be effective.

Listen to the signals from your body. Your body is VERY wise.

Important Note: You can’t complete your To Do list if you don’t have a body!

2. Slow down and allow time away from the ‘Do-Do.’

Okay…the last thing you instinctively want to do is to slow down! You haven’t got time to slow down because you’ve got too much stuff to do right?

The first thing that you need to do is to restore your energy. You can only do this by slowing down and resting. It is not easy to do especially if you are so used to living at a constantly reactive pace.

I started by introducing a few Circuit Breakers into my daily life. These really helped restore my energy and focus.

Here are some examples of Circuit Breakers:

  1. Close your laptop, turn off your phone and physically walk away for 30 minutes!
  2. Finish work on time at least one or two nights a week
  3. Go to bed before 9.30 pm at least one night a week
  4. Take a proper lunch break
  5. Eat regularly (and not just when you remember to!)
  6. Eat healthy food – not junk that fills you up with sugar and fat
  7. Drink plenty of water throughout the day (most people don’t drink enough water)

Try one or more of these activities as evening or weekend Circuit Breakers:

  1. Take a nap when you feel tired (listen to your body!)
  2. Have a relaxing long bath
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Read something funny or light
  5. Sleep in
  6. Sit quietly and do nothing for 15 minutes (Really…it’s okay to do this!)
  7. Listen to some uplifting music
  8. Allow yourself a ‘Day off the Do-Do’ one day a week

I’ve just added a Free Gift on my website! You can download the recording of my awesome tele-seminar: ‘Are You in Business or Busy-ness? Four Ways to Get Your Life Back on Purpose.’ This is packed with extra tips. Check out the box at the top right hand corner of this page.

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(Registered Address: PO Box 250 88 Pavilion Way Meltham Holmfirth HD9 9BL; No: 7015168).
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