Welcome to Week #2 of our 8-week series on Grace in Awareness
Last week we looked at the biological effect that your sleep type – aka chronotype – has on your time and energy levels.
In week #2 we’re going to take a deeper dive into energy to answer the question, what’s draining you? And yes, there’s a quiz for that!
Here we go…
Do you accept your lack of energy as an inevitable side effect of motherhood?
Do you feel drained all the time? Have you ever considered that it doesn’t have to be that way? I was 42-years-old when the thought first occurred to me.
I got married at 30, delivered our first son at 31 and our second son at 32. I did the hokey-pokey and threw my whole self in; into marriage and into motherhood – because sink or swim, right?
I kept the ship afloat for a good long time… Until I didn’t.
As a stay at home mom, I was managing the traditional SAHM roles: grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, cleaning/tidying, laundry, chauffeuring the kids, etc.
On top of that I was volunteering all over the place – at school, at the hospital, for our neighborhood association. In each one, I held leadership roles which fulfilled a need in me to reconnect with the success-driven woman I’d been prior to marriage & kids.
I thought I was doing everything right.
I even had a strong tribe of mom-friends!
When my kids were in elementary school, I was invited to join a book club. Therein, I met a group of women who would become my saving grace for the better part of the next decade. They got me out on a regular basis (to discuss books, of course 🥂) and a part of me who had slipped into hibernation came alive again!
Fast forward to 42, and I was burning out. All the mom duties, the wife duties, the volunteer duties and even all the fun I was having with my tribe was spreading me thinner than I could manage. My energy was depleting, my health was declining, my patience was long gone, and I found myself running on fumes most of the time. Oh, and let’s not neglect the elephant in the room… I wasn’t 30-something anymore.
I’m on a boat… and sinking fast.
It’s extremely common – a right of passage? a point of pride? – for moms to feel responsible for all the things, all the time (even after a late night out with the girls), regardless of the many signs telling us there’s a hole in the boat.
Awareness of what’s draining you is a key factor in keeping your ship together.
So, in case you are today-years-old when you discover that life doesn’t have to reap your energy and drag you through your days feeling drained, we’ve pulled together some resources that will help set you on a course to better manage your energy.
In an article entitled 12 Energy Drains and Tips to Eliminate Them, Lori Radun of The Momiverse asks, “Are you frequently physically, mentally and emotionally drained? Have you ever wondered why? You may be lacking the energy you need to have the best days you can.”
At 45, I’m taking significantly better care of my energy. Can you say the same?
Take the quiz to find out…
Interesting, go on…
The article goes on to say that there “are several circumstances or situations that could be draining your energy.” Some of the 12 “energy drains” mentioned in the article include clutter, overwhelm and too many commitments. Sound familiar?
The article offers solutions to help you identify and eliminate what’s draining you.
Additionally, we found a thought-provoking podcast episode called Doing Less to Get the Most Out of Your Life that will have you nodding in “that’s what I’m talking about” agreement as you listen.
Finally, our insightful video this week is aptly titled What’s Draining You? and – busy-mom-bonus – the video is under 3 minutes!
📖 Read the full article: 12 Energy Drains and Tips to Eliminate Them by Lori Radun | The Momiverse.
🎬 Watch the video: What’s Draining You? (2:45) from Hayley Carr. Oh, and grab a pencil and paper for the activity at the end of the video.
🎧 Listen to the episode from the Maximized Minimalist Podcast | Essentialism: Doing Less to Get the Most Out of Your Life with Greg McKeown from this week’s Grace in the Race Podcast Playlist:
👩🏽💻 Join us for our weekly community call this Friday at 2pm ET in The Grace Lab on Zoom.
We’ll be chatting about that first podcast episode (in the player above) as well as our quiz results and we’d love to have you!
Want a reminder for the community call? Enter your name and email below and we’ll send you a reminder an hour before the call on Friday (with the Zoom link). If you’re available when the time comes, join us!
🤔 Curious how Rachel and Amanda scored on the quiz?
Given that we had the advantage of awareness around this week’s topic, it may not surprise you to learn that we both came in at ‘managing’ our energy.
It’s also important to point out, however, that simply having awareness does not give you a free-ride to being ’empowered’. Rather, energy management is a lifetime work in progress!
Here’s Rachel’s takeaway…
At the start of this post I introduced you to some of the energy drains that I experienced over the last decade or so.
The most confusing thing for me was that I was enjoying all of it. I would have told you I was living my best life! I was shocked to learn that the things that were breathing life into me were simultaneously sucking every last ounce of energy out of me.
In hindsight, it makes a ton of sense, but I can assure you, I did not see the downward spiral until I was sliding full blast into rock bottom.
I’m going to wrap this up and put a bow on it but don’t let that fool you.
My journey has been arduous!
At 42, in the sinking boat, I cycled through many emotions: self-doubt, anger, frustration, confusion, sadness, exhaustion and the emotion that seems to encompass them all, anxiety.
I needed help. I started with a conversation with my husband. It was the first of many hard conversations. I found myself admitting things like, “I hate cooking” and “I hate folding laundry” and “I hate that these tasks define how I live out my days.” The list went on from there… “I hate feeling drained all the time” and “I hate how I feel when I eat late and stay up too late.”
Being the helpful human he is, Steve aided me in working through my daily cycle of hatred by taking some things off my plate and encouraging me to give myself permission to stop burning the candle at both ends.
We came up with a system!
He shared with me that he LIKES cooking. (I’m baffled and envious of people who like to cook). He even said he finds folding the laundry relaxing. (Seriously? It can evoke a response other than stress?) So we came up with a system. I start it, he folds and everyone puts their own laundry away… or at least we’re working toward that. It seems to sit in piles on dressers longer than it should but we’ll get there.
Additionally, I recognized that I could no longer participate in so many volunteer organizations. All the meetings and time consuming follow-up tasks no longer fueled me. And so I hung up my hat… for now.
Learning to say no has been hard for me, but releasing the heavy burden of saying yes fuels me; and that awareness has been life-changing!
Finally, while covid and quarantine threw a wrench into regular nights out with the girls, we are slowly starting to get back to them. I welcome these gatherings and outings with open arms and a full heart. Yet I now keep a bead my energy and take necessary steps to stay within my limits.
Does it take some of the fun and spontaneity out of it? Sure. But managing my energy is worth it to me so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
Here’s Amanda’s takeaway…
Like Rachel, I fall in the ‘managing’ my energy result. I still have many activities and situations that drain me, but I’m learning to recognize them and either avoid them or at least, better manage them.
I am an introvert and although I can be quite social in small gatherings, they drain me. Large gatherings are even more draining… start to finish.
I remember being at a fabulous wedding with amazing food, great entertainment, beautiful decorations and more. At 8:00pm, my son announced he was tired and wanted to go to bed. I immediately volunteered to take him back to our hotel room. I was overwhelmed and welcomed the out. My husband was relieved because he wanted to stay and party!
I thrive on keeping a (mostly) tidy house.
I love when my house is clean. It calms me. But I also get drained by certain household tasks like laundry.
I used to get so upset with myself. I could do all the other house things well, but when it came to laundry, I just failed.
For years, I never asked for help. My husband works long hours and it’s MY job, right? Well, one day while lamenting about how terrible I was at the laundry, Joe told me he likes doing it and would be happy to take it over. He came up with a whole system and it has kept us afloat in this department.
The point here is that if there is a task that is draining you, don’t assume it’s draining for your partner as well. You may be one conversation away from a better solution.
The final awareness I’ve had is how I feel when there are unexpected changes to the schedule. I used to fall apart and not be able to recover. I was so tied to my calendar, schedule, and plan that if things didn’t go as planned, I didn’t know how to pivot.
I’ve since learned to make flexible plans that keep me productive, but are more forgiving when it’s ‘one of those days’.
🤣 And finally, because life’s too important to be taken seriously, we leave you with this…
“Should I sleep or should I shower? I could sleep in the shower, but I’m also starving.” – Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy