It’s the most common type of complaint we Naturopaths come across —
“I have low energy”
“I wake up not feeling refreshed”
However you put it, it all means the same thing —
“I’m ‘knackered’ all the time.”
“No matter how much sleep I get.”
Now, there are a whole host of reasons why you might be feeling physically ‘worn-out’ e.g you’ve been overdoing it (at work, working-out, going-out), you’ve not been sleeping well, you’re coming-down-with-something, you’re lacking certain nutrients (iron, B-group vitamins, magnesium), you’re taking certain medications (anti-depressants, antihistamines), or you’ve got a particular health condition (Thyroid dysfunction, food intolerance).
However, have you ever stopped to think that YOU might be one of the reasons why you have no energy? Could it be how you’re engaging in your day-to-day life?
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can ‘split’ your energy, which leave you feeling not only physically shattered, but also mentally & emotionally scattered.
A Pushmi-Pullyu (pronounced “push-me—pull-you”) is a gazelle/unicorn cross with two heads at opposite ends of its body — and alarmingly — no arse!
You feel like this mythical creature when you pull yourself in opposing directions with the thoughts in your head, and the emotions in your body.
This is what causes split energy. And, having split energy is like having an exhausting, never-ending, internal tug-of-war.
From what I’ve seen and experienced from the many people I’ve worked with at OOMPH, there are three main ways to create this back & forth, to-ing & fro-ing situation.
Indecision creates split energy.
Whether you’re trying to decide between two big things, or a series of ongoing not-so-big things, this indecision can create negative emotional states such as stress, overwhelm, angst, and guilt.
All of these negative emotions waste a lot of energy — as can the actual mental process of coming up with the all the ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’ something.
Note: Indecision can also lead to ‘analysis paralysis’ where you literally haven’t got the mental or emotional energy to weigh up your options in a rational way. So you just put-it-off, and hope to hell that someone sensible swoops in and makes the decision for you (And, conveniently, they can also be blamed if it all goes tits-up.)
See ‘Decision fatigue is real’ below for more on this topic.
This can also relate to big issues as well as to little issues.
The big issues could be things such as — you not being where you think you should be for your age e.g you’re not married, mortgaged, and ‘kidded-up’ by the time you’re thirty.
Or, that you’re not as financially stable as you thought you’d be in your 20s… or your 40s, or whenever.
Or, it may be that you’re not progressing as quickly as you anticipated in your career. (Or, that you’re no longer interested in your chosen career.)
Or… that, if it weren’t for COVID, you’d be on your big overseas experience/dream holiday by now.
The little issues could be things such as waiting in line for something, having to drive/fly somewhere, or you’re at work and not wanting to be working, or you’re out-of-work and you want to be working! 😝
You lose a lot of your go-go juice rebelling against things that — well — just are.
Wishing things were different but not doing anything to change your situation, is a major drain on your energy resource.
There are all sorts of things that we choose to do that we sometimes do reluctantly. Such as: eating, brushing our teeth, washing our clothes, cleaning our homes, making our bed, exercising, eating well, going to bed, getting up (out of bed/off the couch), going to our jobs, doing our jobs, and taking the kids to school & their other activities.
It sure sounds crazy, right? To resent doing things we are choosing to do because the alternative option is even less appealing. 😜
To go about these chosen activities in a state of resistance is a massive drain on our energy resource.
You might think you have poor willpower, that you’re cantankerous, that you’re impulsive, that you’re a procrastinator, or that you make bad decisions.
However, you may just be suffering from decision fatigue. This is where you make poor choices for your wellbeing & welfare, simply because you’re having to make too many decisions in one day.
Here’s an interesting article from The New York Times Magazine (from almost a decade ago). It discusses that if you were to find yourself in prison, and you were up for parole, the largest factor in determining your fate is the time of day you go up in front of the decision makers! (Scarily enough, the decision isn’t solely dependant on your crime, or the length of time you’re ‘doing’.) 😬
Here’s another interesting article: Why successful people wear the same thing everyday. It discusses how Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Albert Einstein wear/wore the same outfit every day. This isn’t just because they’re not interested in fashion, it’s because by doing this they can free up mental energy for their actual work.
Note: I strongly disagree with some of the five suggestions this article gives us in order to reduce the number of decisions we make throughout our day. Obviously I think that food choices aren’t an area to skimp on. But, yes, sure, automate those decisions that aren’t high priority.
A real decision (according to Anthony Robbins, Neurolinguistic Programming expert) means making a choice between ‘this or that’, and then cutting off from any other possibility. Otherwise, you’ll start going back on your decision, which just end up with you going around in circles.
Making a real decision brings relief. This feeling of relief improves all aspects of your health — not just your energy levels.
Further to this, I say that making a big decision should really be a ‘no brainer’. If you know who you are (what you believe in, what you value, what you like, and what you don’t like) then you just use this intimate knowledge of yourself to filter all of your decisions. Basically, YOU need to make the decision on your own, and not let other people who have their own unique beliefs, values, likes, and dislikes, try to make your decision for you. 😉
Examples of where you need to make a real decision: marrying your partner/spouse, leaving your partner/spouse, studying for a career, changing career, moving countries.
If it’s a small thing, just be grateful that you get to enjoy a wee breather. Use the time to recalibrate yourself, so you can wholly enjoy your next experience.
If it’s a big thing, then celebrate where you are. This might mean that you celebrate the hard work you’ve done to get to where you’re currently at.
Or, if you’ve simply been on cruise-control for the majority of your life thus far, celebrate that you’ve finally found the gumption to get off your chuff and ‘change your stars’. 🥳✨
Then take action toward your new goal, with your freshly plumped-up feathers. It will just put you in a better frame of mind to begin the next phase of your life.
When you think about it, nothing happens until you make a choice e.g you can choose to get up at a certain time in the morning and go to work to earn some ‘dough’ so you can afford to live, or you can choose to stay in bed all day, watch NETFLIX, and feast on Burger Rings… until you run out of money!
So what this means is that life is purely a parade of choices that you have to decide between. One after another, after another, after another…
You would actually think that we would get quite good at making decisions. But, sadly, no. We just get more fatigued.
Therefore, until you are in a strong position to be making a big decision (e.g until you harness a powerful sense of self), then simply choose to do nothing at all. (No decision feels better than indecision.)
Put the decision on hold for as long as possible. And here, I’m going to repurpose an Italian phrase: Dolce far niente — the sweetness of doing nothing. Here, simply reacquaint yourself with yourself (as I suggested above), and then when you’re ready, decide to decide.
And, as far ‘sweating the small stuff’ goes, try to have fun with it. Remind yourself as you go about your day that you’re choosing to do this, and you’re choosing to do that. How lucky are you — that you are you able to make these choices for yourself?
Choosing feels so much better than feeling like you’re having to do something.
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.Book online