The power went out shortly after 9:00 am today. Thankfully, all of my devices were charged up and I have a mobile hot spot for internet access. I can respond to emails, hold Zoom meetings, and write this article. I’m all set. Eventually the power will go back on and I can plug in again.
What do you do when your power goes out? What happens if you aren’t charged up and ready to go? We’ve all seen the articles and videos about taking care of yourself. Eventually we all experience some level of exhaustion when we keep working without pause. Sometimes it’s just brain fatigue. Sometimes we are so tired and worn out that we need physical rest. Everyone has their own preferences for addressing this, but indulge me as I give you my go-to ways to restore my energy.
- Sleep: Once upon a time I was the last person to go to bed and the first up in the morning in my house. I operated on five to six hours a sleep. This affected me in several ways: I used food to prop my energy level up during the day, I was irritable and moody, and I had to fight to stay awake while driving to remote training locations. Adequate sleep is important for many reasons. I have learned that I really need seven and a half to eight hours of sleep a night to function well. The 15 minute “power nap” has never been a solution for me. Instead, I go to bed at night and get up when I’ve had enough sleep. Now that I know how much I need, I can gauge when I’ll awake naturally according to the time I go to sleep. If I have to get up earlier than usual, I go to bed earlier.
- Good Nutrition: The days of grabbing a Snickers bar out of the vending machine to get me past my 3 pm slump are over. Not only did that habit lead to weight gain, I also didn’t give my body the nutrients it needed. Now I work at making sure I get a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat over the course of the day. I’m more alert and able to think clearly when I’m not riding the peaks and valleys of erratic eating and poor food choices.
- Ride the bike: Exercise looks different for each person. I enjoy riding my bike whether it’s out on the road or trail, or in the spinning studio. I’m not sure it matters what you do, but some kind of regular exercise helps. In addition to the health benefits, exercise gets me out of the office and away from my desk. Sometimes my best thinking happens when I’m riding my bike or walking.
- Read a novel: Reading has been a hobby as long as I can remember. I love to lose myself in a good book. Reading has many benefits as well as being entertaining. Although I read a broad range of topics, I find novels most entertaining when I want to relax and recharge. I read classics (yes, Jane Austen) and contemporary fiction (I’m partial to spy thrillers and romance novels). I’m happy that my local library lets me borrow physical books, Kindle books, and audio books (yes, audio books count). I will often read two or three books concurrently. Although you can read anything for fun, I think a good novel is a great way to unwind and spark your imagination.
- Gratitude: Sometimes the pity party goes on too long. We wallow in the unfairness of our situations and can’t see a way out. We are unhappy and unsatisfied. One way to break a cycle of negativity is to focus on gratitude for what you have or experience. A coach once had me list five things each day in my journal for which I was grateful. Some days it was difficult to come up with five, but I did it for a month. Now, I return to this exercise when I find myself succumbing to negative thoughts and feelings, if only to focus on something positive for a while. Expressing gratitude has the makes you happier and more optimistic. Try it!
These are just a few ways I have found to be helpful when my tank runs low or I find myself feeling depressed or negative. If we don’t take care of ourselves as trainers, how can we expect to engage our students and help them learn effectively?
If you have other ways to rest and refresh yourself, leave a comment below!