by Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM
So far, we've talked about what may be draining your energy and how it happens.
Here I'll offer some of my best tips for improving your daily energy levels and maintaining your natural energy reserves.
Tip #1: Mind Your Business
Who comes first, you or someone/something else? Are you trying to fix things for other people? Are you paying attention to other people more than yourself? One sure way to suck your energy tank dry is to get caught up in everyone else's business. Their thoughts, feelings, actions (including social media) and choices are theirs, not yours. This goes for your family, friends, coworkers and the entire planet. Try to spend a day just letting people be exactly as they are and notice how many times you're tempted to expend your energy getting overly involved in their experience. Redirect your energy back toward yourself, and you'll consistency refuel your own tank.
Tip #2: Mind Your Diet
What you eat and drink matters, obviously. If you're drinking caffeine all day, it affects your natural energy levels (and your nervous system). If you eat sugar with every meal, it takes a toll on your energy reserves. If you go all day without eating, you aren't fueling your body. It's not complicated; it's common sense. Eat food that looks like real food, and try to eat a few times a day. Stop drinking caffeine after noon. Don't drink beverages loaded with sugar. Notice how you feel after you eat. Eat what makes you feel the best. Don't demonize food as good or bad, either. Just try to make choices that benefit your unique needs. If you don't load up on inflammatory and non-nutritive foods, your energy levels will stay more consistent.
Tip #3: Mind Your Attention
Sooo... what are you paying attention to? What's got your eye? What's your mind fixating on? The more you focus on something, the more of it you'll see. If you're paying attention to something and it feels terrible, why are you doing it? That's a sure way to feel exhausted, or in the very least, pretty unhappy. It's up to you to choose what you focus on, and what you're paying attention to holds a lot of power. What if you started redirecting your attention toward things you like, things that inspire you, things that feel good? Here's what: you'd feel a little bit better... and that would grow exponentially if you kept it up. This is the #1 way I regulate my energy on a daily basis. See how much better you feel when you pay attention to what lifts your spirit versus what weighs you down.
Tip #4: Mind Your Space
What's your living environment like? Your workplace? How about your clothing or the not-so-visible-but-oh-so-important energetic field around you? What's happening in your environment affects your energy levels. This doesn't mean you have to try to control your environment, but it does mean that you can positively impact it. Clear the clutter away. Surround yourself with uplifting things. Purge your closets from time to time. Decorate your workspace in a way that makes you smile. Use the shower as a time to clear yourself physically and emotionally. Give thanks to your clothes, and wear what's comfortable. Honor your boundaries and choose to not take on energies/feelings/things that don't feel good or aren't yours. It's truly exhausting to live without honoring the space you exist in. This tip can take some work; you may not realize how much around you is taxing your energy. Start with little changes, one at a time, and notice how you feel.
Tip #5: Mind Your Schedule
How are you arranging your life? Is there a balance between work and rest? The best way to arrange your day is around the cycle of the sun and the seasons, actually. We tend to have the most energy in spring and summer and the least in winter. We are most alert when the sun is up, and then we naturally unwind as night sets in. Even adjusting your schedule slightly to reflect this ebb and flow can improve your energy and quality of sleep. Also, what are you prioritizing every day? If you don't schedule in fun, relaxation or quiet, no one else is going to do it for you. My best advice is to schedule in a morning and evening routine, even if it's just 5-10 minutes, where you meditate, do yoga, journal, or whatever helps you feel uplifted and refreshed. It will add up massively as time goes on and help you maintain higher energy levels throughout the day.
While these are some of my best tips, in order to really personalize them for yourself, you have to commit the time to working with them. If you're struggling with fatigue and managing your daily energy levels, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are tremendously helpful. Schedule a free consultation if want to learn more.
by Cailin O'Hara, MAcOM, LAc, Dip OM
If you have experienced something traumatic, it can change everything: your life, your brain, your nervous system, your beliefs. But that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to live in fear, panic and anxiety forever.
I want to tell you about one of the most powerful ways you can help heal yourself if you have suffered from PTSD, past abuse or traumatic experiences.
(hint: we all have)
It is an epiphany that I personally experienced… and one that completely changed the way I connect with myself. It showed me the way out of the loop of anxiety and relieving past trauma and into my power and the truth of who I am.
It is the realization of all realizations that I think is key in healing from past trauma. But you have to REALLY feel it. Doing so can immediately shift you out of anxiety-mode (flight or fight) and into a feeling of deep self-compassion (aka reconnecting with YOU).
Most of us are not even aware that we have been traumatized, that our anxiety is actually a form of PTSD, stemming from past experiences that haunt our subconscious and become wired into our physiology. Anxiety is a response, not a problem. It asks us for our help. But we're afraid of it. It feels terrible. The more we focus on it, the more it seems to grow.
It just spirals out of control.
Anxiety can feel like a foreign entity that lives within us, making us feel unsafe, like we aren’t even safe in our own being. So what do we do? We run away. Sometimes literally, but generally, figuratively. We numb out, we distract ourselves, and we turn away from the feelings.
But it’s the belief that our anxiety is scary, it’s the very act of running away from it, that actually prevents us from really healing and regaining our sense of peace.
So, the revelation, the epiphany, the ah-ha moment that can change your life…
It’s just you now.
All of this running, this fighting against ourselves, the squashing of our feelings, the turning away from our own pain… it’s self-abandonment.
The pain you feel is NOW. The fear you feel is NOW. The anxiety is NOW.
But what caused it- those past experiences- are over.
So what does that mean?
It means what you are feeling now is just YOU.
You're feeling how what happened to you affected you, how it hurt you, how it wounded you... THAT is what you’re feeling now: your feelings. This also means that there isn’t anything to be afraid of in the here and now, if you think about it. You are fearing yourself. You are fearing your own broken heart, your own traumatized body.
And the more you push it all away, the worse it can feel.
What's the answer?
Trauma can fragment you.
It can scatter you into pieces. And when it’s over, you are the one that can put you back together. You are the one that can compassionately hold space for yourself, comfort yourself, give yourself the unconditional love you need and deserve. And in no way does it mean that you’re “broken." In fact, I see it as a tremendous source of power.
What if you leaned into these wounded parts of yourself?
What if you had a compassionate conversation with them?
What if you imaged yourself holding them, telling them it’s ok, that you love them?
Trauma is not something you ask for, but it can teach you how to love yourself in a way that maybe nothing else can… and that kind of love can make you unstoppable.
That’s what it has given me.
That’s what I hope it gives you.
Dr. Cailin O'Hara, DACM, LAc, Dipl OM, is a nationally board certified Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, herbalist and coach. She is based in Phoenix, AZ.