Energy is Currency

Last week, I headed back to the gym for the first time since March. Although since then, I have been focusing on running and getting stronger in that area, I was desperately missing what hot yoga offers, except I hadn’t even realized it. Don’t get me wrong, running has its perks and I did discover runner’s high and some sort of meditative run feeling… but it’s definitely not the same as the mind, body, and soul experience that hot yoga does for me. As soon as I laid down on my mat and took a deep breath, I instantly felt my body relax and let go of all of the stress I had been holding onto, for that hour anyways. It was one of those moments that I didn’t even know I needed or how desperately I missed it, until it happened.

As class started, the instructor began talking about energy. Energy is probably the most important currency we have, yet we don’t even consider it in that form. Money? Easy. We’re very mindful of what we spend our money on. Will it be worth our return? Will it provide us joy? Stress? Do we need it? Want it? Are we investing to guarantee stability later? We don’t ever really throw money away. But what if we were as mindful with our energy? What if we really took a look at where we spend our energy and if the return we’re getting is worth the expenditure.

As I continued on for that hour, I knew that I was there, for those 60 minutes, replenishing some of the energy I had spent. Some. I felt like this was just a start and it would take me a whole lot more than just 60 minutes of hot yoga to get back on track. Because to be quiet honest, I’ve been drowning lately, and I know I’m not the only educator who feels like this.

There are moments in time where we have to spend more energy in some areas than in others, that much I know. There are also times where we have to spend more energy than we physically have, but then get to replenish later. The problem is when this lasts longer than what is sustainable and when we end up putting out more energy than we ever get back. These are the moments we have to pay particular attention to in order to ensure that we don’t find ourselves so empty that we have nothing left to give, or worse, that our cup cracks. These moments are poor investments, and come with a great cost.

The other day, I came across this post on social media by Angela Watson, and it hit hard:

Let me write this part over again for you…

It is necessary to set limits on what you will attempt to do, and choose to intentionally drop the ball in areas that matter less. Create boundaries on your time. No one else is going to do this for you. They will take as much as you are willing to give and keep asking for more.

See how that translates? You can continue to spend and spend and spend more energy than you even have, because the more you do, the more people will expect you to. Without boundaries, people will take advantage of what you have to offer. As I type these words, I know just how hard it is to acknowledge this. I certainly don’t believe that people will intentionally take advantage of givers (at least most won’t), but I also personally know that it does happen. Too often.

Setting boundaries is important, it’s necessary. Spend your energy very wisely, and as soon you begin to see it as a form of currency, maybe, just maybe, it will be easier for you to

…let go of imperfection

…say “good enough”

…set priorities and drop the rest

…say no.

What is one thing that you are spending energy on that isn’t worth your return? Let it go. Without apology. Without explanation.

What are you going to do today, tomorrow, this week, this month, to invest your energy? Don’t let yourself run dry. Take care of you.

I’ll leave you with this reminder, again, from Angela:

Don’t run yourself ragged trying to meet expectations that are ridiculous and not serving kids well. Remember that all of this is TEMPORARY. It will not be like this forever. Do whatever is necessary to survive: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I want you to come out on the other side of these challenges and say “I made it, and I am a better teacher and stronger person because of this.”

ps – for those of you keeping tabs, yes, I’ve not been blogging consistently lately and now I know why. Spending my energy in this space every week is not a good investment right now. 🙂 No apology, but I did explain... I’ll work on that.

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