Last year at Altitude Summit, I attended a session on Work-Life Balance (because I’m a sucker for that topic), and heard a smart strategy that stuck with me:
Make a List of Your Secret Energy Sources
The rationale was that ‘work-life balance’ is elusive and there will always will be days when we feel stressed or overwhelmed; but if we know what things rejuvenate us, we can refer to that list to do one of those things in those chaotic moments. I filed that tip away in my mental/digital rolodex and never really actively went through the exercise. Over the past few months I’ve gone through one of the most stressful periods of my life and I’ve had to take inventory of what gives me anxiety and…what calms my spirit and lifts my mood – Aha! My Secret Energy Sources. Here are my top 3:
And not just any Zumba. The Monday and Friday night Zumba classes at my health club give me life! The instructor is great, the music is electric, the energy in the room is palpable and the workout itself is simultaneously challenging and invigorating. It’s gotten so that if I miss it, I’m devastated, and I do everything I can to make sure that I make it there in time: dress in my workout clothes in the morning (even though it’s an evening class); ask the neighbor to drop my kids home after her son’s birthday party so I could be on time; leave home 45 minutes before the class to make sure that I get there on time and get a spot because it fills up so fast. So you see…I am addicted to my Zumba class. Fortunately, there are worse vices!
I’ve always been a social being and that personality trait is magnified when I’m going through a rough time. Whereas some people might keep to themselves or turn inward when they are dealing with something, I tend to do the opposite. It’s during times like these where I find myself calling all of my close girlfriends daily, or organizing Girls Nights Out, or deciding to host a get together. Spending time with friends is an important part of my mental health and wellness mission. Here is a perfect example of that.
I’m a Leo – are you surprised? If I’m in a cranky mood or feeling all “woe is me” you can guarantee the sun isn’t out. My disposition changes drastically with the presence of sunshine and I love basking in it. Maybe it’s from spending the better of 18 years living through Canadian winters, but I will never complain about being too hot! My husband teases me because I’m always on the hunt for a liver of sunshine so that I can park myself in it. In fact, this past winter (it was a brutal one in the DC area) I broke down and purchased a light therapy lamp* to get me through the slew of dark and gloomy days.
So these are my top three energy sources – I have others, like cooking and trying out new recipes or reading magazines or reading books about entrepreneurship – but the ones that give me a burst of energy and natural high are the three I highlighted. Now it’s your turn: make a list of your top 3 or 5 secret energy sources and keep them in your back pocket for that bad day. I’d love to hear what yours are.