A spoonful of energy makes the day more intentional.
I had a bad concussion a few years ago that had me out of work for three weeks. My doctor spent time explaining to me why managing the energy I had to spare was so important. I had to understand my energetic capacity and this completely changed how I thought about what I had to give in a day.
I like to think of myself of an unlimited being, I have an unlimited amount of love and energy to give, but in actuality, I can only give so much before my ability to take care of myself and my ability to function well begins to deteriorate. We have to think of our energy as currency. Each day, we only have so much in the bank account to give. It is a fixed amount. This way of thinking about how much I can give in a day is something I use to check in with my energy management and capacity regularly. It took time to learn it, but I am so glad I did. I want to share what I learned with you in hopes that it helps you as well.
Every single thing you do has an energetic price tag or cost. Once you spend your allotment for the day, you’re all out. It won’t reset until the next day. You can gain back capacity to handle and engage in things, but your energetic ability to fully exert and be present is limited. Once you’ve used it, it's gone.
Instead of talking in dollars and cents, lets simplify this to a common house hold item, spoons.
Every day you get a set number of spoons to spend on any activity or function you'd like. Each activity has its own unique cost to you.
I'll use me as an example, every day I start my day with 10 spoonful’s of energy I can dole out as I'd like.
On any given day, I need to devote energy to working full time, caring for my home and dogs, talking with friends or family, being a partner in a relationship, teaching movement classes, and taking care of myself. All of these activities require a given amount of energy to engage in a meaningful way. While the daily energetic cost varies, I have a general idea of what it all "costs."
So here is my, generally speaking, energetic spoonful spend for a given day.
Work: 4 Spoons
Home + Dogs: 1.5 Spoons
Friends + Family: 1 Spoon
Relationship: 1.5 Spoons
Teaching: 1 Spoon
Things for myself: 1 Spoon
Mentally, this is how I think about how much energy and emotional energy I can give before I start over-giving. When I begin using the 11th spoon, I know I am on my way to burn out.
Note: We often give away or unintentionally spend our spoonful’s on things like draining relationships, over thinking, or things that just don't matter or matter less than the energy we give them. It’s important to sit down and think about where your energy goes in a day first. You have to understand where you’re currently over spending your energy and then you can create your own “energy budget” to check in with.
A lot happens in a day though, right? You work out and feel recharged, you get coffee or a drink with a friend and feel motivated and inspired. Does that mean you get a spoon back? Sure! If that works for you, yes! Why not!?
For me, and maybe you though, that's not how it works. When I think I earned a spoon back, I can easily over exert somewhere else because I feel energized. I still end up over spending on my energy for the day. I can end up depleting my energy to a point that it's not good for my personal health and wellbeing
So o then what to do with that recharge or inspiration? In keeping with the kitchen item theme... that fuel goes into it's own little cup.
This cup is the extra, the razzle dazzle that makes you and the ways in which you do things so uniquely you. Maybe for you it's extra motivation, or inspiration you can sprinkle around into all of your daily tasks. Your cup isn't like your spoons though, it can over flow or be totally empty based on how you choose to use it. For me, things like teaching fill up my cup, working out fills up my cup, playing with my dogs, getting outside, are all things that help fill up my cup so I have this extra pzazz to add to my daily energy spoonful’s. The cup is there to help you recharge and engage emotionally with your energy. And if you will, it’s the extra capacity you have to sprinkle and share as you wish.
What about the days life doesn't go to plan? OH! Yes, I see.. you mean most days. I shuffle my spoons as needed, some days I have less to energetically give in my social life, sometimes my self-care has to take a hit because I have nothing left to give, which is pretty bad for me. The key here is knowing what is an absolutely necessary spoonful spend a day, and then creating, communicating, and maintaining healthy boundaries around what you can and cannot energetically engage in.
For me, on days when I have spent more spoons than planned on work, this looks like responding to friends and family's texts and calls with "I really want to catch up, but I just don't have the space today to give you my full attention. I'd really like to be able to do that, can we connect later when I can give you my full attention?" Communicating and maintaining my energetic boundaries allows me to get by without depleting my own energy and feeling drained and taxed day in and day out.
Some days are easier than others. This isn't something you can think about once and never have to revisit again. The point of this daily spoon exercise is to empower you and give you the tools to 1) begin to think about how and what you spend your energy on 2) think about managing your daily energy with intention and 3) allow you to think about and set energetic boundaries so you don't burn yourself out by overspending at the cost of your own health and wellness.
What are you currently spending your spoonful’s on? How would you like to allocate your energy? What needs to be re-balanced or dropped all together so you don't burn yourself out?
Living life to the fullest, practicing and teaching yoga, just trying to figure the world out. I always keep it real and honest, even when life gets a bit sucky, because it definitely does. Just sharing my thoughts and musings and trying to spread a little light along the way.