How to feel more energetic and less sluggish on demand
Happy Sunday, how did the week go? ❤️🔥
Today, I'm writing this in between brainstorming sessions for a big trip I've got coming up. I'm heading to coach on a remote team's retreat, and I can't wait to work with people IRL and also gain so much experience from the whole thing.
But the real thing I have to figure out is: what gifts should I bring back for my little loves?
Part of me is excited for the 9-hour flight with nobody talking to me. The books I could read! The newsletters I could write! The naps I'll take! The uninterrupted meditation sessions!
Can you imagine?
It takes so much energy to keep up with my crew of three boys. Just yesterday, we went to two birthday parties, hung out with one set of grandparents, and then made our way to the other set. Bedtime was not a thing.
And I've noticed nearly everyone is struggling with energy levels in one way or another. It's wild how often the word "energy" comes up during coaching calls.
Which is why I've decided to make it this week's topic:
How can I get an extra boost of energy and feel less sluggish?
First, a big high-five to all the new friends who've joined this week. 👋 I'm so grateful you're here.
Self-Work is a free Sunday newsletter about transforming life from the inside out. If you love it, consider working with me for one-on-one support on your journey. Just hit reply.
Alright, let's talk energy.
What would you do with unlimited energy?
Imagine waking up every morning feeling refreshed and energized, ready to tackle whatever comes your way. It likely makes you feel hopeful for what you could accomplish and how content and at ease you'd feel.
But energy tends to be elusive, a real obstacle to achieving what we yearn for.
The topic of energy is particularly important to me.
I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) about a year ago. It explains my excessive dependence on getting more than 9 hours of sleep and having snacks on hand at all times. My kids know that when I'm feeling "POTSy," I'll be in bed wearing compression socks and in full Rest Mode. Although I have a better handle on it now, sitting at a desk can still be draining.
It helps me to think of it this way:
What is my lack of energy stopping me from doing?
On the personal front, I miss out on playing outside with my kids. I love to throw a football or basketball around, but some days the couch won't loosen its grip on me.
On the work front, I miss out on getting the self-work message out to more people. Ideally, I'd turn these newsies into social media posts, but the energy eludes me.
But I've discovered a technique to access an untapped reservoir of energy that can instantly transform my day—and it's potential.
Is energy unlimited?
In his book "Untethered Soul," Michael A. Singer shares a relatable experience many of us have encountered in different forms.
At some point, we've all been stuck in a deep sadness over a breakup, surrounded by dirty laundry and pizza boxes, mindlessly watching TV for hours on end. But what if, in the midst of this state of depletion, the phone rings and it's your ex asking to meet up for coffee in just 30 minutes?
Suddenly, you jump up, fix yourself up, and race out the door in a jittery frenzy.
Where did that energy come from?
I know I can go from exhausted to exhilarated in a millisecond, if the trigger is right.
This has happened to me even recently, when I was waiting for a response from someone on an important project. I was feeling sluggish and lethargic, but the moment the reply email popped into my inbox, my stomach fluttered with excitement and my body surged with energy. I even caught myself pounding my fist on the table and exclaiming "YES!" without even realizing it.
But we don't always have that external trigger to bring on the energy boost.
What if we could cultivate a sense of internal drive and enthusiasm that doesn't rely on outside factors?
What do you want to have energy for?
Before creating the energy, I like to think about what I want the extra energy boost for. It's a powerful question that invites us to examine our priorities and focus on what truly matters.
Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
The energy I yearn for needs to be directed at something of real importance, aligning my behaviors with my values.
From speaking with dozens of people at different points in their lives, here's where most of them stand:
For many of us, relationships are at the top of the list. We want to have the energy to spend quality time with loved ones, whether it's at home, work, the gym, or at a coffee shop.
We want to create new relationships and deepen the ones we already have, and that takes real energy.
I define connection as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."
We're hard-wired for connection; at home, at work, everywhere.
Having more energy to invest in our relationships means more connection and more fulfillment.
The other thing I hear often is having more energy for creative pursuits, or what society refers to as "work".
Having more energy can help us stay focused and perform better, leading to a greater sense of satisfaction and even financial return.
Plus, if we have the energy to get work tasks done more quickly, we'll have more time for our relationships. And sometimes we just feel like we owe it to our coworkers or boss to give it our all. Having more energy can help us meet those expectations and get the job done "right".
How to create more energy
Now, for the part you're here for: let's talk through exactly how to create that surge of energy that seems to come out of nowhere, without an external trigger.
1. Set the intention for more energy
To boost your energy levels, you've got to start with intention.
You know that sometimes an external trigger can give you a quick jolt of energy, but the good news is that you can create that same surge without one.
It can be as simple as remembering something important that you need to do. Ever wake up thinking of something that needs to get done tomorrow? Yup, me too.
Other times, a burst of creativity can give you a big boost. When you have an amazing idea, your brain lights up and your energy levels soar. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop everything I'm doing to quickly jot down a stream of ideas that come to me. And all these ideas want to get created ASAP. They aren't patient.
And sometimes, all it takes is a desire to have more energy. By setting an intention and committing to creating more energy in your life, you're already taking the first step towards making it happen. Knowing it's possible is more than just hyping yourself up.
But having the intention is only half the battle. You also need to create space for that energy to flow.
2. Work with your thoughts
Practicing meditation and clearing your mind can create space for more energy to flow through you.
Your brain burns a lot of fuel just to keep you thinking, so taking a break from mental strain can help recharge your batteries.
Conscious mental activities chew up metabolic resources, the fuel in your blood, significantly faster than automatic brain functions such as keeping your heart beating or your lungs breathing. It requires a lot of energy to function.
Meditation will help you build muscle around becoming aware of your thoughts and then letting them go on demand. With less thoughts taking up your energy, you'll have more to use for whatever you want: your loved ones, your work, workouts, etc.
3. Get sunlight in your eyes early in the day
An overlooked hack to boost energy levels? The sun.
According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, sunlight exposure early in the day is crucial for regulating our circadian rhythms, which in turn helps us sleep better at night and feel more alert during the day.
In a recent podcast episode, Dr. Huberman explained that light exposure in the morning suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness, and promotes the release of cortisol, a hormone that helps us feel more awake and alert.
On this upcoming trip, I plan on getting outside as soon as I wake up to get some sunlight in my eyes while I sip on some coffee. (Here's to hoping it helps with jet lag, too.)
4. Spread out your scariest tasks
I'm all for pushing yourself and trying new things, but you don't want to overdo it and end up feeling drained.
One way to handle tough tasks is to avoid doing them all at once. If there's something that makes you anxious or scared, it's better to break it down into smaller, more doable steps. If you're nervous about sending cold emails, start with just one instead of blasting out a whole bunch in one go.
By spreading out your scarier tasks, you can prevent yourself from getting too anxious or stressed. This makes it easier to stay focused and productive, which is key to getting stuff done.
Challenge yourself and try new things, but don't burn yourself out in the process.
Baby steps are still progress in the right direction.
Take things slow and celebrate each little victory. (More on the celebrations next week.)
How much energy is enough energy?
Instead of waiting for an external trigger to perk you up and get you moving, set the intention to harness the energy from within.
Now, you know it's possible.
“At some point, so much energy comes into you that it starts flowing out of you. You feel it as waves pouring off of you.”
There's so much you can do with that newfound boost of energy.
But it doesn't have to be your permanent state of being.
There's something to be said for the feeling of blissful exhaustion, when you know you've spent your day’s worth of energy on the activities you enjoy and with the people you love.
To me, the good kind of tired does exist.
Finding balance is key, and that balance is uniquely personal.
Two questions come to mind:
- How much energy do you need to create your ideal life?
- How can you manage your thoughts and your body to channel that energy?
Whatever your answers ay be, you now know you can harness energy within to transform your life from the inside out.
You got this.
Alright, friends, I'm off to play some basketball with my kiddos and spend the afternoon with friends. Tomorrow is the start of a big week for me, so I want to spend today recharging my batteries with as much love and emotional safety as possible.
Hit reply to let me know:
What will you use your extra energy boost for this week?
I can't wait to hear.
Sending you all the best vibes ✨
— Marcella ✌️
PS. Remember: if you'd like more support on your self-work journey, hit reply to explore working together one-on-one. Here for you.
A penny for your thoughts
Finally, my favorite part of the newsie: where you tell me if it was valuable to you.
How much did you enjoy this email?
Your feedback helps makes each week's send better. I appreciate you being here. ❤️🔥