Energize Your Life!

If your "to do" list leaves you exhausted, try these tips to reclaim your energy

We all have lists. It"s natural. Some of us love to put Post-It Notes on every imaginable surface. Others use high tech gadgets to keep them on track. And then some do it the old fashioned way, taking pen to paper and getting great satisfaction crossing items off their demanding "to do" lists. Does this list, however, leave you exhausted before your day even begins? If you answered "yes", maybe it"s time to rethink your day and energize yourself before those Post-Its start to pile up.

From family life and personal wellness to creative mojo and professional ambitions, we asked a few of the valley"s experts how they find balance and "energy" while conquering day-to-day life.  Here are the top ways they rev up their day!


Find Time For Friends

"I think with girlfriends I can let my guard down and laugh. You can let your hair down a bit and have some camaraderie with someone who is understanding," suggests Julie Hecker, a Marriage & Family Therapist in Billings. Science has already proven the benefit of laughter when trying to bust through stress.


Although it might be tough, Julie Hecker says find time to disconnect from your cell, your email and yes, even Facebook. "Our brain never shuts down if we are plugged in all the time. We are not getting that physiological and emotional break." Hecker adds that without a little disconnect time, a good night"s sleep is next to impossible.

Clear the Clutter

When too much starts to pile up around you, it subconsciously blocks your work flow. So clear that clutter from your desk, your house and your car to get that positive energy flowing back into your life.

Live to Learn

Try to take time each week to connect with others to learn.  Since she works alone in her office, Julie Hecker regularly takes time to connect with other professionals for a little guidance and moral support. She says, "My philosophy is that every single person that I have contact with has something to teach me, whether it is a girlfriend or a colleague. That is just one of my core beliefs."

Take a Deep Breath

It"s a fact that oxygen to the brain makes you think more clearly. A deep breath also releases endorphins to give you a peaceful, easy feeling. So deeply breathe in some oxygen and feel free to exhale any anxiety.



Avoid boredom

Don"t get stuck in a rut, try a new way of doing things suggests Karen Grosz, owner of Canvas Creek Team Building. "Take a new way to work, talk to new people, do the same old thing in a brand new way.  It is energizing to sit in a different chair, eat a different food, clean with a new tool." She adds, "That feeling of ‘what’s next’ keeps me feeling alive, growing and invigorated."

Quiet Time

Take at least ten minutes a day in complete quiet. Whether you say a prayer, meditate or even stretch with a few yoga poses, you"ll be creating that mind/body connection. Hecker says, "This really helps us to quiet the mind and tune in to our bodies."

Nix the caffeine

While this stimulant can be a quicker picker upper, McHugh says, "People may complain about feeling drained and fatigued. Many will turn to caffeine or sugary foods for that burst of energy, which is short-lived." Instead drink more water and cut the caffeine after noon. Caffeine stays in your body"s bloodstream for up to 12 hours after you ingest it, which could rob you of a good night"s sleep.

Don"t skip meals

In order to keep your blood sugar stable, you need to keep that fuel coming to your body. If you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops and lethargy sets in. To keep your energy at its best, try not to go more than four hours without a meal.


Have a Vision

When it comes to your job, Baumgart says be in tune with the overall vision of the organization you work for. She says, "At Elation, we always ask, "Do you know your business" vision? Do you believe in it?" Knowing where your strengths fit with the overall vision of your workplace will amplify your productivity and fulfillment from your work."

Make Time for Family

When life gets hectic, return to your "home" base. Instead of letting the daily grind determine your mood, resolve to take some much needed downtime with family each day. Hecker says, "A lot of time we think we are too busy. Family time is one of the basics and it has to be at the top of our lists. That is what fills us up." She adds, "The good times carry us through the not so good times.

Practice Kindness

Nothing beefs up the spirit and puts pep in your step quite like offering a bit of kindness to another. Try one random act of kindness each day – even if it is something small like offering a compliment or carrying a cart back to the grocery nbso store for another shopper.  Another person"s smile and words of thanks will surely bolster your energy.

Have a Job with Joy

What aspects of your day-to-day work give you the greatest joy? Karen Baumgart, a coach with Elation, a new workplace and organizational development company says pay close attention. "By identifying the empowering aspects of your work, you"ll also start to identify the aspects that bring you down — the energy drainers." Capitalize on the enjoyable parts of your job and try to integrate that joy into the rest of your work day.


Expend Energy to Get Energy

Try a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk each day and watch the boost in your mood. Beverly McHugh, RD LN with St. Vincent Healthcare"s Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention Program says after all, the body was designed to be in motion.  "The body, when it"s in motion, has to produce energy through various metabolic processes. If we"re not in motion, those processes simply slow down and fatigue sets in."

Nix the Bad Habits

Don"t let bad habits like a poor diet or not enough sleep become energy suckers. "Fifty percent of the things we do are by habit, which is our brain on autopilot," says McHugh. So, when you want to change the habits that your brain is naturally trained to do, try not to let stress kick you back into your old ways. If you do slip up, McHugh says, "Just recognize it and try to use the information to analyze the slip."  Don"t consider it a failure. Consider it a lesson.

Stop Making Excuses and Do It!

Do you have a dream that"s been on the back burner for far too long? Grosz says if it"s nagging you, take time to make it a priority. She says, "Write that book. Paint that painting. Pen your screenplay." Doing something that you"ve always wanted to do will cause that energy to flow through your entire life.  Grosz says if it is a long term goal, break your dream into little goals and savor the success along the way.

Play like a kid

"Get down on the floor, sit in the fort, crawl through the jungle gym tunnel, shoot the imaginary gun and smear make-up on your face.   Kids have boundless energy because they have limitless ideas," Grosz says.  "While you are playing like a kid your mind will still work on your adult problems, just in a new way, and you will be more peaceful about your decision."

Embrace a clean slate

Why spend precious minutes in your day focusing on goals that you will never take a step to achieve? Grosz says, "If you are not going to do it, then stop thinking about it."  Don"t waste time thinking about losing that last five pounds or the closets you really need to clean. "Invest energy in the things you will do. Sometimes we just need permission to move along, without guilt."

Reflect on your DID List

Forget your "to do" list. Look at your "did" list. Your "dids" are the small things that make life interesting.  They are the little challenges that keep you from being stuck in a rut, things like baking a soufflé or taking time to walk every street in your neighborhood. Grosz says, "My husband changed a tire at 20 degrees below zero and two months later he changed another tire at 113 degrees. They were not fun "dids," but they are on his list because he said "Yes" to two crazy road trips.  "Dids" make you stronger, braver, and more self-assured."

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