I’ve been reflecting a lot on energy recently. As the pregnant mother of a toddler, I guess it’s no surprise that there are days when I’m both physically and mentally exhausted! But, having spoken to friends, family, and members of the Tribe recently – I realise there seems to have been a collective lack of energy in the air these last few weeks.
Whether you’ve been waking up feeling flat, bailing on your gym classes, spending lethargic days on the couch, flaking on lunch dates or – heaven forbid – putting off doing your household chores more than usual, this lack of energy starts to take a toll on your physical, mental and emotional experiences.
I know anxious energy and uncomfortable vibes are often associated to ‘Mercury Retrograde’ and, in my circle of friends, we have often (jokingly) used it as a scapegoat of sorts for our own erratic behaviour. In fact, when I first sat to write this blog entry, I’d joked that this time we couldn’t blame the recent lull in energy on Mercury. HOWEVER, I then looked at the dates for Retrograde in 2021, and boy was I wrong!
For those of you less familiar with what Mercury Retrograde actually is – it refers to the illusion that Mercury is orbiting in a reverse direction and, given Mercury’s association with communication – it represents a time when we may experience an increase in disagreements and misunderstandings, as well as a host of other anxiety-provoking situations.
The first of three Mercury Retrograde instances for 2021 began on January 30th and ended on February 21st – the exact three-week period I found myself and those around me at odds. Tempers were flaring, anxieties were running high, racing minds preventing sleep, travel plans sullied, big decisions unable to be made – all the ‘side effects’ of Mercury Retrograde were in full force, and I hadn’t even realised. So, if this period felt particularly challenging for you as well, just know you weren’t alone!
Though a relief to know I can continue blaming Mercury for my mood swings, I do have to concede there are several other contributing factors to low energy (like pregnancy!), particularly in our current climate…
I know for many the uncertainty that comes with Covid-19 is a constant stress, leaving us at a deficit to handle the rest of life’s craziness. And – unfortunately, it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. So, while we need to take Covid somewhat in our day-to-day stride, we also need to ensure we are giving our minds and bodies the resources they need to maintain enough energy to enjoy life to its fullest.
Our monthly cycles are another energy-sapping culprit. While we’re well versed in PMS and its plethora of frustrating symptoms, it’s easy to overlook fluctuating hormones and get caught up in a ‘world’s coming to an end’ mentality. Sound familiar? Next time you find yourself in one of these funky moods, take the time to pause and reflect on when the last time you felt this way was. Add these experiences to your calendar so it’s easier to track and identify whether it’s cyclic in nature. And, if your crabby, ansy attitude IS down to PMS, cut yourself some slack. The female body is a miracle in what in undergoes daily and deserves a little RnR!
The weather also plays a significant role in determining our mood and energy levels. For much of Australasia temperatures have been soaring, leading to humidity levels so high you’re practically in a puddle the minute you leave the safety of your air-con, and nights are spent tossing and turning trying to cool down. High temperatures and sleepless nights naturally result in lethargy, short-fused tempers, and a general decrease in desire to move any more than is necessary.
Though each of the above factors are beyond our control, what we can do is decide how we respond to these influences and partake in remedies and activities that are mood and energy bolstering.
1. Activities such as meditation, yoga and tai chi are proven to combat stress and anxiety – two common underlying causes of low energy. Whether they are practices you engage in regularly or not, try dedicating 15 minutes each day to focusing on your breathing and moving in a manner that honours, rather than challenges, your body.
2. Try lightening your load. The year has been off to a busy start, and with EOFY goals looming and the flow on effects from lockdowns still reverberating, companies – and their employees - are under the pump. Social and familial obligations also play their part in adding to our workloads. Prioritise that which is absolutely necessary and politely bow out of the rest – at least until you’re feeling up to it.
3. Eat foods with a low glycemic index (meaning foods whose sugars are absorbed slowly) to prevent your energy levels from peaking then dropping suddenly. Avoid high carb foods and instead opt for proteins, whole grains, nuts, and fibrous vegetables like artichokes, sweet potato and broccoli.
4. Drink lots of water! One of the first side effects of dehydration is fatigue and, in these hot summer months, it’s easy to get distracted and not consume enough water.
If the above tips don’t help bolster your energy, it’s also worth chatting to a naturopath* or your doctor as there may be an underlying cause of your fatigue.
Regardless of the cause, it’s crucial to remember loving kindness is key. When you’re having a low day, feeling flat, experiencing PMS, or didn’t get enough sleep – acknowledge this. Don’t push yourself or try to shove those feelings away. Sit with them, voice your frustrations, and breathe. Know it will pass and you’ll return to your usual self soon. And remember, when all else fails you can always blame Mercury Retrograde 😉
*Anyone interested in working with a naturopath, Amy Mingin from Women’s Health Online has been a saviour for my family and I, highly recommend!