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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

D.R.E.A.M.S. series: E is for Energy


Welcome to week three of my 6-week D.R.E.A.M.S. series.  So far I’ve shared how I used determination and resourcefulness to help me earn my graduate degree as a single, working mom.  This week I’m talking about energy and how it’s so important to maintain when you’re working on living out your dreams.

What comes to mind when you think of energy?  When I think of energy, I wonder if I will have enough to get everything on my to-do list done each day. When I looked up the definition of energy, the one that rang truest to me was defined by Merriam-Webster as the ability to be active; the physical and mental strength that allows you to do things.  Wow!!!   

Looking back a few months ago at the tail end of my graduate program, I remember how I fought to keep my mental and physical energy at a level that allowed me to keep going.  There were many late nights when I sat up until the wee hours of the morning researching and writing papers.

 I didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in the next day – I had to get up and go to work so I could provide for my children. I was able to push through the week staying up late and getting up extra early. But by Friday night, I was done!  My mental energy was depleted, leaving me cranky and irritable.  My physical energy was also tapped out, and I felt weak and worn down. 

Although school was a priority, my job as a mom is my top priority.  My kids needed me to run them back and forth to their sports and activities.  I still had to go grocery shopping, prepare meals, check homework, and make sure everyone had clean clothes for the week.  I couldn’t afford to run out of energy or none of those things would get done.

So what did I do?  I started honoring my physical and mental energy.  When I felt tired on the weekends, I took a nap and politely told my kids not to disturb me.  When I didn’t have enough energy to play taxicab, I said no.  When I didn’t have enough zest to make a complete meal, we ate cereal or something quick. 

Essentially what I did was find simple ways to reserve and replenish my energy.  As a modern mom you may be thinking that there is no way that you could do that because (you can fill in the blanks with your reason).  But guess what?  You’re wrong.  You can take a nap and the kids will be ok.  You can feed the kids cereal or sandwiches for dinner and they will be ok. 

The next time you feel your energy getting low, remember to:

1.   Listen to your body when it’s telling you to take a break.

2.   Give yourself permission to say no to low-priority tasks that drain your energy.

3.   Make time for the 3 non-negotiable R’s: rest, recharge, and replenish.

Being a Mom with D.R.E.A.M.S. is hard work, but it’s not impossible.  Eating healthy meals, exercising regularly (even if you have to walk during your lunch break), and getting enough rest will help maintain the energy you need to keep you moving in the direction of your dreams. 

Thanks for taking time to read about my journey as a Mom with D.R.E.A.M.S.  In addition to this blog, I’m building a community for moms who want to live out their dreams.  If you’d like to know more about this movement and how you can become a part of it, click here. 

Before you go I’d love to know, when you’re feeling low on energy, what do you do to replenish?  How do you maintain your energy on a regular basis?  Please share your thoughts and comments.

Next week I’ll be talking about ambition.  Can’t wait!

Lots of love,
Erica