It’s hard to be happy with no energy: January’s happiness theme

January: Energise

My theme for month 1 of my happiness project is energise. I find it hard to feel positive and happy if I feel like I have no energy. This makes sense because energy, or prana in yogic philosophy, is the life force of all beings. So I’m spending January thinking about what blocks my energy, and what I can do to help it flow better.

Bad sleep is the biggest cause of me having no energy

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may know I can suffer from sleep problems. Often a cause of having no energy for me is having had a terrible night’s sleep. This month I am choosing to work on this, rather than saying “it’s just how I am, there’s nothing I can do about it”.

"If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit" - Banksy

Resolution 1: Learn to rest

This relates to both sleep, and to resting and time off. Which, again, you might know I’m not great at.

Resolution2: Plan my meals and think about nutrition

I don’t eat badly, but I think I could eat better. Planning meals, I figure, will help me think more about what I’m eating and save time. This also feeds into

 Resolution 3: Prepare in advance

Simple things like putting the coffee machine on auto before going to bed, to stuff that needs a bit more planning like making lunch if I’m going out for the day. Also included in this is preparing in advance for meetings (like the day before if possible), and for my work day ahead.

Resolution 4: Energise my environment.

I’m interested in learning about how the environment I’m in can alter my energy. Is my workspace the best it can be to boost my energy? What about my relaxation space and my bedroom?

Resolution 5: Spend more time in nature.

Being in nature energises me, as it does for many. Scientific studies have shown that if we have no energy just 20 minutes close to nature can help. It also makes me really happy. In our modern, connected, city-dwelling lives it’s increasingly hard to carve out time to go out into the natural world. I want to figure out how to put more of this in my everyday life, rather than it just being something that happens on holiday.

Resolution 6: Exercise right.

What does it mean to exercise right? More importantly what does it mean to exercise right for me? I do yoga everyday, but I want to make sure I’m also getting some higher intensity exercise in. I want to figure out how I can exercise best for me, to include it in my routine rather than it be a thing that happens sporadically.

Week one, how have I done? Do I have more energy?

Hilariously as soon as I started this project I had a week of pretty bad sleep. I’m waking up a lot through the night and not waking feeling like I’ve had a lot of good deep sleep. A few attempts to track this on an app revealed some sad looking sleep data.

Bad sleep=no energy. Sleep Cycle data showing hardly any deep sleep in my worst night's sleep this week.

Sleep Cycle data from my worst night’s sleep this week.

So I’ve started my month dedicated to energy feeling pretty tired. But, I’ve not felt as bad about this as I might usually. Is it my attitude? Is it the other things I’m doing to help my energy?

I’ve tried to focus a lot on exercising this week as I realised my lack of cardio-type exercise may be contributing to my sleep troubles. I’ve tentatively started running (well, jogging) which has also had the benefit of getting me outside more. Although I’d like to also spend more time in ‘proper nature’ (ie. not still in the city), it’s better than nothing.

Exercise helps when you have no energy!

Me on my first jog of the year! Aiming to go for 2 each week.

Planning my meals I actually found a lot harder than expected. I was kind of floored by not knowing where to start, and also by the thinking that I wanted to be boosting my nutrition. I’ve realised nutrition is a minefield of information, often contradictory. I had to remember my commandment “one thing at a time”, then it became a little easier.

A big success was when boyfriend and I sat down, wrote a list of all the different meals we like and planned a whole week’s worth of dinners. Then we went to Aldi and did a big (cheap) shop. This meant that on Saturday, when I had a long day in London, I had a bunch of food I could take with me. I prepared in advance (one thermos of soup, one of coffee, a smoothie and a bunch of snacks) and found I didn’t get hungry and low-blood-sugary during the day as I’m prone to do when I’m not at home.

What I’m working on this week

As you can see I haven’t yet started thinking about energising my environment, so this is a big focus for the coming weeks. Also I want to take the ‘prepare in advance’ resolution and apply it to my bedtime rituals. I’d like to end this month with a solid evening routine. Research shows this can help prepare the mind and body for sleep (which I learnt listening to the Sleep Introduction on my new Headspace meditation app).

Let’s start a conversation!

I’d love to hear if you often feel like you have no energy, and what you’ve found helps you boost your energy. Share in the comments at the bottom of the page, and let’s start a conversation.

 

 

 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

6 comments on “It’s hard to be happy with no energy: January’s happiness theme

  1. Omg this is literally eXACTLY what I’m doing! I’m an INFJ and every single step you wrote I’m doing it this month too!!! Plus I’m doing whole30 diet which helps a lot! So great to see my unknown twin!!:) feel free to get in touch btw would love to chat further

    • Wow, how funny! Goes to show this personality types thing is definitely on to something. I hope your month is going well for you. We can compare notes at the end. Are you doing a yearly project too? My February theme will be on finances (sounds boring but I think it’ll be fun!)

  2. Love this! I also find meal planning is a great way to conserve precious energy, and save money. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that I wake up super tired in the mornings when I’ve had a high carb dinner, so I try to cut carbs from dinners and noticed it’s really made a difference. I really like how you approach your monthly theme from different angles, and look forward to reading about your updates and reflections. Wishing you a good happiness journey!

    • Thank you, and thanks for that tip as well. I’m going to give the low carb dinners thing a try and see if that helps. Sometimes I wake up feeling tired even if I had a good sleep, hadn’t thought about looking to food as a cause of this before.

  3. I think you are definetly taking the right steps! As someone who sleeps ridiculously bad as soon as anything is a bit “off”, an evening ritual sounds ecxellent. Mine is keeping a gratitude notebook (happy thoughts, less stress, better sleep) and preparing a task list for next day. Then my brain tends to calm down better. And the attitude thing is another. It SO helps with feeling full of energy even when you are not 🙂

    • Yes, I have heard so many great things about the gratitude notebook idea. I currently have about 5 different notebooks on the go for various things, so worry about starting a whole other one for gratitude. I’ve been trying to think of what I’m grateful for each night before going to sleep, which I think has been helping. But I often find nothing beats writing things down. Perhaps I can start writing a gratitude sentence each night in my regular journal.

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