“Being who you are is another way of accepting yourself.”
How do you deal with low-energy days? We all have our highs and lows, but very often we expect too much from ourselves. Our own standards seem to demand that we are on top form all day and every day!
Often, I have had to cope with bad days when nothing goes right and I feel the safest thing is to lock myself in. Actually, changing plans because of my low energy has often helped me get through the trough of low pressure. If there is enough flexibility in my day, I can do one or several of the following:Advertising
- I usually put off a difficult task or decision so that I can cope with it when I am at my best.
- Allow myself to rest at low points of the day, so a snooze (max 30 minutes) after lunch is fine.
- Treat myself to some dark chocolate.
- Go into my garden and smell the lavender and the rosemary to lift mood and feel more alert. One study shows that subjects exposed to this sort of aromatherapy performed better on math tests.
These hacks are fine for short-term relief but you may have to look at more long-term strategies to help you deal with these off days. Here are 7 things to help you do that.
1. Be compassionate with yourself.
Forget about all the things you have not yet achieved or even finished. Stop beating yourself up and being so judgemental. Try to be a little kinder with yourself. Let go of the ‘should’ and the ‘must’ for a change. This is the advice given by Judith Orloff in her book Positive Energy .
2. Stop thinking about your emotions.
In addition to the low energy, there are also feelings of lack of motivation, hurt, resentment, frustration and anger. We love to talk to ourselves about these emotions in our head. We talk, rationalize and explain it all to ourselves for the hundredth time! This is why I love the video below because it tells us to express the emotions, if we can. Much more satisfying and uplifting.Advertising
3. Acknowledge the fact that you are tired.
Tell yourself that this is going to be a low key day. It is never a good idea to fight it. There are other things you can usefully do and today has the same number of hours as all the others.
4. Limit your bad news time.
We are surrounded by bad news on all forms of media, from TV to smartphones. It seems that there are endless news bulletins with upsetting news. I sometimes think it must have been wonderful to live in Medieval times when any news was drip fed to the population.
5. Keep an eye on what you eat.
I used to suffer from terrible leg cramps which caused me to jump out of bed in agony. I discovered that making sure I had enough magnesium and Vitamin B in my diet was the answer. That solved the problem and gave me more energy too. Other dietary things to consider are:
- Ramp up on protein (eggs, cheese) at breakfast.
- Reduce simple carbs so that sugar crashes mid morning are less frequent. These can really floor you.
- Aim for smaller, frequent mini meals/snacks rather than a full blown lunch. The energy you need to digest a large meal can make you feel very lethargic.
- Try fruit breaks. Opt for watermelon, bananas, kiwi and pineapples, which are rich in potassium and magnesium.
6. Pamper yourself.
We talked about being kind to yourself so let us put this into action:Advertising
- Cuddle up with a relaxing book.
- Take a long bath or shower.
- Go for a walk in a pleasant neighborhood with trees and flowers.
- Listen to your favorite music and sing along if you want to.
- Go for a coffee at your favorite bar.
- Practice mindfulness. Enjoy the smells, sounds and sights around you.
- A good stretching routine can easily replace your run or workout at the gym.
7. Kick that mood.
Fatigue and bad moods often go hand in hand. Think about why this bad mood is a recurring episode. It could be due to stress and conflicts in relationships and at work. It could be simply that you are overworking. Think about how you react to your workload and people at work or close to you. This is often the key to understanding our moods.
One of the best ways of lifting your mood in the short term is to practice gratitude. Do a reality check and repeat the things that you are so blessed to have.
Finally, don’t wait too long for those clouds to pass over. Remember also that using technology too much can zap your energy. The best advice of all is to accept yourself and keep moving forward.
“Accept yourself as you are. Otherwise you will never see opportunity. You will not feel free to move toward it; you will feel you are not deserving.”
Featured photo credit: Man sleeping at work/hnporadna.hnonline.sk via hnonline.sk
Last Updated on May 21, 2019
How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship
For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.
If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:
You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.
You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.
In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.
You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.
People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.
You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.
You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.
The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.
You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.
Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.
If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.
Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:
- Understand your own communication style
- Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
- Communicate with precision and care
- Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger
1. Understand Your Communication Style
To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.
In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.
Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.
2. Learn Others Communication Styles
Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.
If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:
“How do you prefer to receive information?”
This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.
To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.
3. Exercise Precision and Care
A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.
On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.
Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.
I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.
I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.
In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.
The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.
Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.
4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger
Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.
In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,
“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”
Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.
Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.
It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.
It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.
It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.
Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.
Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.
The Bottom Line
When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.
I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.
More Articles About Effective Communication
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- 7 Most Important Communication Techniques to Master in the Workplace
Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com
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