Fatigue is the story of my life.
Like most women, I don’t stop. Wake up, put on coffee, hot shower, wake my daughter, argue about why she has to brush her teeth, shove on shoes and dash out the door.
I don’t just run from the moment my feet hit the floor. I sprint.
I’ve tried everything to get more energy. Caffeine, of course. Food just slows me down. Supplements help some. A glass fizzing with Emergen-C does the trick.
The best solution for an energy crisis, according to doctors, is rest. Sleep more. Eight hours of shut-eye is non-negotiable, just like brushing your teeth.
How many people do you know who get a good night’s sleep every single night?
Of those people, how many have kids?
So what is a busy working woman supposed to do?
Pull a sleep mask over her eyes and lock her bedroom door despite kids banging at the door and the phone ringing?
It’s not going to happen.
That’s why I was so interested to read about a different approach to getting more energy.
Doctors don’t know about it. It’s a non-medical approach. Which, luckily, means it doesn’t require sleeping right, eating right, or exercising right.
It’s a spiritual approach. All it takes is you.
According to this idea, the reason we’re tired is because we try to get energy from energy sources that, by definition, are limited.
If you drink a cup of coffee, it wears off. If you get a good night’s sleep one night, you need to do it again the next night.
We’re locked in a pattern. We’re always trying to get energy from somewhere else. When it wears off, we look for our next hit.
What if the most reliable energy source isn’t outside the body, but rather inside it?
It should be obvious, but we forget sometimes:
Fatigue isn’t merely a physical condition. It’s a feeling.
Your mind, heart and soul contribute just as much to your energy levels as the fuel powering your body.
When you’re brimming with excitement and can’t wait to start your day, it doesn’t matter if you only got five hours of sleep and didn’t take a multivitamin. Your positive spirit energizes the body and helps you sail through the day.
But there are some days when you’ve had your eight hours and power breakfast, but you still feel exhausted. You dread the upcoming day. Too much work, not enough fun. Where’s the energy that breakfast and a good night’s sleep were supposed to give you?
There’s a simple and elegant solution:
Take 10 minutes to sit down in a peaceful spot and observe the beauty around you.
Just sit. Watch. Do nothing but soak up the scenery and appreciate the stillness.
I know. I thought it was crazy when I first read it, too. Seriously? Watching the clouds cross the sky can give me energy?
Before you judge it, try it.
If you’ve got a break at work, don’t use it to run errands. Instead, go sit under a tree or on a bench and look at the world passing by.
A word of warning:
Try to do this where no one you know is likely to see you. No one just sits and watches the world go by—not in the middle of a workday!
Set your alarm to ring when the 10 minutes have passed, so you don’t have to keep glancing at your watch.
As you sit, don’t just look around randomly. Focus on the beauty in what you see.
Maybe that building has beautiful lines or is a particularly attractive color. Maybe the face of that person walking by is beautiful in a happy way. Maybe the leaves on that tree are intricate and gorgeous. If there’s a park or a garden nearby, you’ll find this practice even easier.
Keep your mind focused on observation. Don’t let your thoughts wander to what you have to do, or a problem at work, or how you wish you could just sit here forever. This is a practice that requires discipline.
You’re looking for beauty. When you spot it, appreciative smiles and delighted laughter are encouraged.
When the alarm goes off, check in with yourself.
How do you feel now, compared to how you felt 10 minutes ago?
Notice if you feel any different back at work. Do things seem easier? Are petty annoyances less irritating?
Do this once, twice, even three times a day to clear your mind and refresh your spirit.
You may just find that taking small breaks to recharge do more for your energy levels than a triple-shot latte or a vitamin B12 injection.
Because feeling tired is a feeling.
And feelings stem from what you’re thinking.
When you’re thinking about how wonderful the world is around you, it’s impossible not to feel revived.
The world is beautiful whether or not you get your to-do list done.
The world is beautiful even if your child heads off to school with teeth unbrushed.
The world is beautiful even if you haven’t had enough sleep and forgot to take your vitamins.
Isn’t that a delightful thought?