When self care feels like it needs too much energy

Most of my posts are about self care ideas I (and my clients, groups and readers) have found helpful. This week, I thought I’d share a post mortem for a No Energy Day because even after decades of doing this work, I still need to remind myself that they’re OK too…

I drafted this at 3.15pm one day last week. I’d been up and working at the laptop (writing mostly plus admin, bookkeeping etc. No online sessions that day) for hours but I hadn’t managed to find the energy I needed to get out of my pjs and into my clothes.

The stormy weather kept me off my bike and I hadn’t even managed a walk. I’d popped out (in my pjs) to feed the donkeys their daily carrots but needed to cycle into town to get more carrots for them (and some bits for myself).

My mood was good (am happier at 46 than I’ve ever been and like the idea of 90 being my peak) but my will to live was underground.

My yoga practice that morning had included curling up in a ball, moving slowly into Child and a few other very gentle poses, deciding I needed to clear my schedule of everything that wasn’t essential for the day.

I love this about my daily yoga and mindfulness practice. I get an embodied sense of how I’m feeling by how dynamic my practice is and I’ve learned to really pay attention rather than attempting to somehow feel differently.

I mean, SURE, I can get myself into a more resourceful state when I need to but on days like this, rest is important.

I channelled my inner Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital surgeons to examine what had contributed to my low energy.

These are some of my findings (OK, reflections. Am not actually a surgeon or scientist):

Having breakfast at 3.15pm

My blood sugars were probably all over the place. WHY did I wait so long? Because I started work and got stuck into it and genuinely didn’t feel hungry until I felt like wailing.

I had a sugar hangover

I love sugar. I hate the bad press it gets. I delight in its many guises. AND I know that too much isn’t good for me. The day before (and a few days earlier) I’d had way too much sugar and this day’s lack of energy was, I could admit to myself, partially down to a sugar crash.

Working late last the night before

Part of the reason for having too much sugar that week was the late nights. I’m so lucky with my work. And I have a pretty good work life balance at the moment but I still overdo it sometimes and my body reminds me (by forcing me to rest) that balance is a very good thing.

Getting up in the middle of the night to scroll Twitter

I normally turn my phone off before bed unless I need the alarm and then, it’s on silent. But for some reason (maybe the sugar buzz), I decided when I woke up to go to the loo in the night that I wanted to see what was going on in the world (according to Twitter).

And the news about Trevor Noah leaving The Daily Show had just broken. Him not mentioning Jon Stewart by name made me genuinely worry about their friendship. Even though I don’t know either of them, other than admiring them both.

This concern about celebrity comedians a continent away kept me up for an hour. I knew I could do some Sleep Yoga or a short Yoga Nidra but actively chose to worry about them instead…

A big part of me wants me to delete this confession but I’m imagining that someone reading this will relate with a similarly silly story (feel free to email eve@selfcarecoaching.net).

The next day, I rewatched Trevor Noah’s announcement and felt absolutely fine about these strangers (although I will, of course, miss his comedic genius and compassionate heart). 

Chronic health condition

I hate being an endometriosis bore (or, more recently, perimenopause bore) but decades of endometriosis and nearly three solid months of continual bleeding (now I’ve had two weeks where I haven’t, am even more horrified that it was so bad for so long) left me extra depleted and drained.

Sometimes, I forget that it’s OK to just curl up under the duvet whenever I get the chance.

Not enough sleep

As well as attempting to read the whole internet as well as the 60 plus books I have on the go, I have amazing people in my life who I want to see more of. After nearly 18 years of mostly work and additional trainings, I’ve been having more fun, seeing more friends etc etc. This is energising and also means I need more time at home cleaning, gardening and generally grounding.

Too much processed food

As well as cutting back on the sugar, I’ve been working with a herbalist and have massively cut back on the processed food in order to be less junk food vegan and (slightly) more whole food vegan.

When I think about what I was eating that week, though… too many delicious burgers and vegan sausages. Cutting back so they were more treat than staple and amping up the tofu and whole grains = better quality fuel and more energy.

Too LITTLE routine

Because I didn’t make it out for a high tide swim that morning, I didn’t even make it out for my walk until I decided, ‘Right, 6pm.’

Before that, every few minutes, I was wondering, Should I go now? Later? It’s torrential now. It’s sunny now! It’s WESTPORT. We get 4 seasons in one hour and the weather never normally stops me doing anything.

I LOVE the variety. But my feeling too flexible (schedule wise) drained my energy  that day. As soon as I made the decision (after the Tapping, see below) to cycle into town at a particular time, I was no longer torn and battling myself.

Most days, my schedule forces me to motivate myself for different things at specific times. That day’s flexibility worked against me in this particular low energy mood.

EFT Tap Along for low energy

After connecting with the lack of energy (and finally having breakfast), I did a quick EFT round on having no energy. You can access free Tap Alongs HERE

The ‘set up statement’ I used for this was a basic, ‘Even though I have no energy and my will to live is underground, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.’

It took just ONE ROUND of the short cut to feel more like myself than I’d felt all day.

As well as working with the meridian energy points, I realised that my fear that because I hadn’t had the energy to cycle (and it’s an electric bike now! So much easier!) the 18.5km round trip in the wind and rain for a sea swim, run errands etc etc and then work that morning, I’d be as tired the next day and every other day.

Even though I KNOW that we’re cyclic creatures.

Just acknowledging that I was afraid I’d never have energy again felt like a (nice, easy, gentle) shot of adrenaline and the rest of the day was much easier.

EFT is a wonderful regulatory tool and while sometimes, sitting with uncomfortable feelings is exactly what we need, after journaling or simply reflecting, it can be a great way to get that energy moving again.

Do these confessions remind you of any of the ways in which you might be sabotaging your own self care?

This is not – in any, way, shape or form – to imply that you can treat your health conditions with simple self care and lifestyle tweaks. I don’t want to compound how s***ty feeling like s*** can feel.

AND the worse we feel, the less likely we are to do the little things that we can build on which CAN have a positive impact on our mood and even pain and other symptoms.

Feel free to email eve@selfcarecoaching.net

And feel free to share this post on your social media etc so others who may find it helpful can read it.

With love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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