Your Energy Bucket - the continuous balancING of your life

5 June, 2010

I work with many people to help them establish physical and mental health and wellbeing in their lives. A lot of people are making decisions on what to do in an average day based on what they think they "should" do NOT what they "want" to do, or what is good for them to do. They have values, beliefs and emotions that get in the way of making good decisions about how to spend their time. Unfortunately, what ends up occurring, is that a lot of these decisions value other people's opinions of them, not their own wishes and desired and opinions on themselves. So much is driven considering other's needs and wants and what we "should" be doing. Not always of course, as we also drive ourselves on our own measure of success or "what needs to be done" (although it is interesting to consider where our own measures come from!).

Being out of balance can cost us our physical health by increasing stress, and cost us our mental health by increasing stress. Most people want to achieve a better Work / Life Balance. This is not a solid "thing" that you will every "have" - it doesn't really exist like that. It is a process, of balancING, and is therefore continuous. When you notice yourself getting out of balance (notice your triggers - tiredness, feeling under the weather, feeling emotional, all the normal signs of "stress", not sleeping, brain too active, physically sick and so on) it is time to ADJUST the balance again. If you were to get on a bike, and notice it was all going smoothly, you wouldn't stop peddling would you?! No! You need to keep peddling the bike to maintain the balance, and that's how managing your life is as well - a continuous and enjoyable process of adjusting.

Think about these questions:
Do you think about your day and look forward to it, or think about it with dread? Do you feel calm or stressed when going about your daily business? How do you feel before you go to bed at night, relaxed and calm, or worried about the next day? Do you feel in control, or do you feel out of control?

A tool you can start to use straight away that will create awareness and make a difference to you to manage your life MUCH better:

Your Energy Bucket

Do I HAVE an Energy Bucket, I hear you ask? Well, yes, you do. It is to do with your Work / Life Balance. Do you have one of those? Well, maybe not yet! And you could start doing a good balance if you carry on reading....

Now that you know you have an Energy Bucket, what do you do with it? Well, imagine a bucket. Or, if you have time, you can draw one on a big piece of paper. Imagine this bucket is filled with beautiful, enthusiastic energy. Now, imagine (or draw) several holes down the side of this bucket. These holes each represent something in your life that drains your Energy from your Bucket. It could be difficult conversations, cleaning the toilet, arguments with your family, work, a particular aspect of your work that you don't enjoy, going out too much, community meetings, alcohol, cold evenings..and so on.

Now ask yourself - "Are there any holes I can plug up?" and have a serious think about that. Do you really need to say "yes" to everything? What could you say "no" to for now? Identify any that aren't useful or necessary at the moment.

Now ask yourself - "What fills up my Energy Bucket?" and have a serious think about that. It could be early nights, nights at home with a movie, salsa dancing, dinner with friends, hugs, massage, exercise, meditation, good conversation....and so on...imagine or draw these going into your Energy Bucket.

If we want to be balancing our lives in any given moment, in a useful way, we need to think about our own Energy Buckets. If you are getting sick and running out of energy then you need to PLUG some holes and FILL your bucket. Plug and Fill, Plug and Fill. Let that be your mantra. No one can do this apart from YOU - so begin to be more aware and see what difference it makes to you.

Yours with positive thoughts as always,


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