Energy. It's something that I manage throughout my day, every day. I never used to think about my energy before I got sick. I was just high energy (read: high strung) pretty much 24/7/365. It put my body in the position to always be stressed out. I don't remember a time in my past when I was actually relaxed. Everything seemed important, everything that is, but myself and my health.
After I became ill, I began reading books about health, healing, and energy. I read books about the energy in food. Illness forced me to slow down. And I'm a better person today because I did. Nowadays I prioritize in accordance to what is actually important. I realize that not everything needs to be done rightnow. I used to actually put together a to-do list in my head as I woke up in the mornings, and would fly out of bed, get that heart racing first thing in the morning and get busy, and then stay busy until I went to bed. Not anymore. For the past 1 1/2 years, I make it a practice to wake up slowly. I wake up and absorb everything around me and just breathe deeply, relaxed. Before I think about anything else or get up, I lay in bed and say a prayer of gratitude. If I don't have to wake up early, I will lay in bed and watch something relaxing on tv for a short bit.
Throughout the day, I try to really live in the moment, each moment; really get deeply involved in thought of what I'm doing. I don't rush around like a maniac anymore. And the irony? I still accomplish everything I need to. Why didn't I ever try this method before I was sick? I really allowed myself to be stressed out on a continual basis for nothing.
Nighttime is my favorite time. I have a sort of bedtime ritual. I always shower or take a bath before bed. I prefer a bath if I have time, and always choose relaxing scents of bath salts or bubble baths, like those infused with lavender, vanilla or chamomile. I don't like the feeling of bringing the day's dirt into bed with me. I don't want the dirt and germs on my feet (from walking barefoot around the house, garage or outside) in my sheets. I don't want whatever daily outdoor pollutants that have been stuck in my hairspray or stuck to my face lotion to rub off on my pillowcase. I like the feeling that every night, as I slide into my bed, everything is clean. At night, I also like to slather on lotion with essential oils in them, like lavender. I might watch some tv, but I like to turn it off in favor of reading a book to slowly tire my eyes and relax. Often times I'll read night time devotional books, the Bible, or happy novels. I don't want to read stuff that will stress me out, energize me, or affect my ability to sleep soundly. I don't need to read motivational stuff before bed. I don't need to feel MOTIVATED at night; I need to go to sleep. That's why I NEVER ever watch news programs in the evening. Before bedtime, usually around early evening, I begin to tell myself "it's time to turn down the energy for the night." That includes not only my own energy and thought process, but to also begin watching tv programming that is conducive to a relaxing night of rest and begin stopping all forms of work I am in the process of doing, whether it's work from work, or work around the house.
In the morning, I like to have my coffee pot set on a timer so I can smell the freshly made coffee while I'm still in bed and wake to the sound of the coffee pot rumble noises. It's straight out of a Folgers commercial. If I'm not in a coffee mood, I will get up and start my tea pot, and start my day with a glass of hot water infused with fresh lemon, followed by some tea. I don't drink caffeine, so I don't get buzzed up from coffee or tea. It always has amazed me at work how I always have seen people come in to work the same time as me (usually 7am ish) drinking a bottle of diet coke. YUCK. I believe you should always start your day with good nourishment, even if you decide to eat like crap the rest of the day. At least start your body off with some food it can use. A creature of habit, I usually rotate between two breakfasts; scrambled egg whites with veggies or a bowl of quinoa flakes (similar to oatmeal) with almond butter, almond milk and fresh fruit mixed in. Using my food as my energy source, and not caffeine, leaves me feeling really awake and energized all morning into the afternoon, no problem. You'd be amazed what eating the right foods can do for your energy source. I've always been proud that I don't need caffeine or sugar to feel alert throughout the day.
I even control my dog's energy level. It's freaking amazing how I can turn her energy up or off simply by the tone in which I talk to her. At nighttime, I use a very soft, relaxing, assuring voice with her. In this voice, I will say to her "it's time to go to bed." She will always stop what she's doing, lay down and put her head down. I'll then pet her and ask "Are you tired?" in that same relaxing voice. When I ask her this, she always yawns, as a way to respond. Within minutes, she is asleep. I use this technique (of using a soft, relaxing, smooth voice) with her during the day when she's going bananas (sees a squirrel, hears the garbage truck, etc.) It usually calms her down.
I also manage my energy when managing my diseases. I calm myself when I see a high blood sugar reading, or when I see a really low one. I don't allow myself to go into a full-on panic mode wherein my heart starts speeding up. There have been a few instances where I've been blindsided by severe lows and have to control my initial response, because any diabetic knows that when you panic, it can make your blood sugar even worse. So while I work quickly to correct a bad blood sugar, I do so while talking to myself in a reassuring, low stress manner, telling myself that everything will be okay because I am doing exactly what needs to be done to take care of the problem. This seems to work for me. You can't always choose the situation you're in, especially when it comes to disease. But you can choose your response. Stress will only make you sicker in the long run and won't help you to fix the problem any faster or more efficiently. Anyone will tell you a cool head will always help you out more.
I guess my point is that I believe energy is an amazing thing that you can use to your advantage or to your own disadvantage. There is a time for stress, but it shouldn't be everyday or in every situation. Stress will make you sick, and when you already have a disease I believe it can make your disease more difficult to manage, from both a physical perspective and from a mental perspective. Tomorrow try to recognize your stress levels throughout the day, beginning when you wake up in the morning. Take inventory. Maybe you'll notice ways you can improve. I often receive compliments from physicians on how I stay calm in bad situations. Once you get to a point you can control your energy, you can use it to your advantage.