Written by: Jennifer Wren Tolo, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Do you know what one of the top complaints of high-achieving women, especially moms, is?
They are exhausted and lack motivation to do the things they know they “should” do to be healthy and well.
Are you one of these amazing, heart-centered and purpose-driven women? The same woman that holds herself to high expectations, often putting the needs and wants of others before her own?
I remember after having my fourth son at the same time my third son was getting treated for Leukemia, I held myself to the standard of being there for all of my kids, my husband as well as for my business while expecting to lose my baby weight.
Do you know what can derail weight loss?
I was getting little to no sleep, restricting my calories while exercising intensely to both lose weight and relieve stress. Oh, and I was also breastfeeding. Guess what…I did not lose any weight and had very little energy. I was in stress overload.
Can you relate?
You still keep showing up, plugging along and doing for everyone, but… self-care, prioritizing YOU becomes a distant dream.
Does this sound like you?
Picture your body like a car, running on fumes, and you are driving it around with the check engine light on.
Why don’t we pay attention and stop to refuel, or notice the warning signs?
Because “we don’t have time”.
We keep driving it around, thinking we are giving it fuel like food and water, maybe an occasional yoga class or lunch with friends, but we keep driving it hard. That check engine light may be warning of leaks, imbalances, or a need for a different kind of fuel.
Sometimes the subtle whispers of the mind and spirit are like the warning lights of a car, such as aches and pains, tension, low energy, poor digestion, poor sleep and being more reactive to people and events. These subtle signals are letting us know that we are in dire need of some self-care and attention. We cannot keep going the way we are going and expect to be well, be balanced and be able to serve others.
There is a reason why the flight attendants tell us to put our own oxygen mask on before helping others. If we pass out from lack of oxygen, can we truly be of service to others?
As author, Eleaneor Brown said:
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
And we wonder why we are so exhausted…because we keep serving from an empty, or near empty vessel.
So often, we focus on basic needs… food, shelter and survival, but we forget to attend to our emotional and spiritual needs. These all require attention and fuel, or energy as I discuss in a recent YouTube video.
What three things drain our energy as women on the go?
1. Giving and showing up for others without doing the same for ourselves
As mentioned above, there are some days you have energy to give and other days you are running on fumes. Picture a well of energy inside you, like a water well, that you draw from. If it's just you drawing from it without replenishing the well, over time, the well will run low or empty. If you allow others to take from that well, consciously or subconsciously, that well will run dry sooner than you expect it to. It is harder to replenish and keep up with demands when it is an all access energy well.
2. You have the wrong fuel
This can be too few or too many calories or not enough nutrients from a poor diet, an overly restrictive diet or a diet consisting of too much processed food. This can also be too much or too little exercise, intense exercise with too little sleep or too much time being sedentary, even if you exercise for an hour each day. Research has revealed that sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time can create inflammation in the body and impede lymphatic drainage.
Another wrong fuel or energy leak can be how we spend our time and focus attention, particularly if we have overscheduled days lacking purposeful pauses, and moments to connect to the present moment and find joy. Think of the old saying, “All work and no play…makes Jack a dull boy.”
3. You are suppressing your needs, desires, emotions and thoughts
Not speaking up and setting boundaries can create energy leaks and drains. It can cause us to say ‘yes’ to things we really want to say ‘no’ to. This takes time away from the things that actually replenish and fuel our energy which are the things we want to say ‘yes’ to.
According to research from Dr. Candace Pert and other neuroimmunology and biology experts storing emotions and suppressing our thoughts and needs can actually create energy blocks in the body. These blocks impact our neurotransmitters and can lead to illness and disease.
There will be days we have more to give and days we are running low on energy. So often, we expect ourselves to keep going and keep doing, keep giving, even when our check engine light is on.
Again, these subtle signals, like low energy, fatigue, insomnia, aches, pains, illness, brain fog, digestive issues, and lack of focus is our body’s way of letting us know our check engine light is on and we need to pause and give it some attention.
Listen to the whispers of your mind, body and spirit before they become screams
When we recognize we have low energy and allow ourselves the compassion and grace to pause, reset and connect to what we need, we can preserve and renew our energy. We can even prevent illness and disease by attending to what we need to keep ourselves balanced and energy flowing in the moment.
Sometimes, what we need is to give ourselves permission to:
Say no… to things and people requiring more energy than we have at that moment.
To set boundaries for people that try to take more from us or get more from us than we have or are willing to give.
To recognize we are not perfect and just do the best we can in that moment. Allowing ourselves to let go of the high expectations we have of ourselves… to eat a perfect, healthy diet of X amount of calories, to get that run or ride, yoga class or intense workout in, or to ‘wow’ them at work.
What if we allowed our energy to guide our actions and choices for the day?
What if you could learn to notice and pay attention to the signals your body gives letting you know that you need more and even better fuel?
What if, by learning to listen to the subtle signals of your mind, body and spirit, you could learn to tap into a renewable, sustainable source of energy?
I recently got a gadget, a Garmin watch, to help me track my steps, my sleep and my calorie burn as I have been feeling a little off my “feeling good” game.
There is a feature called the “body battery” and when it is low, the message comes to recharge my body battery.
Do you know how we recharge our body battery?
Deep sleep (not just 6-8 hours of sleep)
Clean (chemical free), whole foods and plenty of water
The right exercise
Managing stress and calming the nervous system
Doing things that make us feel purposeful, connected and joyful.
Positive, supportive relationships and a sense of belonging.
All of this fits under self-care which is renewable energy within us.
When I sit for too long, my watch vibrates and signals… “time to move” or “get up and stretch”.
When my body battery is low it suggests I move my body gently, like a walk or stretch and rest, conserving my energy and rejuvenating it with lower energy movement and activities versus draining movement and activities.
We often just need help to pause, connect to our body and spirit messages that signal “low battery” or low energy. Then, on days we have more energy, we can do more, give more. It is all about balance and awareness of what we have and what we need in the present moment.
We then need to learn to prioritize what we need in the moment to help us recharge and stay charged, especially when our lives need us at 100%!
The next crucial question to ask yourself is, what is stopping you from listening to your body signals and trusting yourself to know what you need to be well?
I have been finishing up a new ebook to help with just this! It is called “The Power of NO: Simple strategies to strengthen self trust and reconnect with who you are and what you need to live your best life.” You can follow me on Instagram to find out more.
Take my FREE Power in NOW Masterclass here. On this FREE masterclass, you will discover what your hidden stressors are and how they are taking your power from you and throwing you off the path of living a connected, happy and fulfilling life.
If you would like more tools in your toolbox, more clarity and support for finding the right path for you to move forward and take back control of your health and happiness, check out my memberships, and coaching programs, talks and workshops, or book a Free Clarity Call with me.
Jennifer Wren Tolo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Jennifer Wren Tolo, RN, is a whole health educator, a leading transformation coach and mind, body, spirit connector for high achieving women and mothers who are so busy showing up for others that they "don't have time" to show up for themselves. She has coached women in cultivating calm and peace within themself by finding their inner strength and resilience so they can take back their power over their own health and happiness one thought, one action, one conscious choice, one moment at a time. Jennifer is a stress and resiliency educator and adjunct professor at Endicott College School of Nursing where she teaches "Holistic and Complementary Approaches to Health and Healing."