8 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Motivation

lonely slide 001I ran out of energy today. My energy, happiness and motivation took a nose dive and everything felt like an effort. I’m willing to bet that you have days like that, especially if you are a single parent, single-handedly juggling so many things.

Sometimes I decide to lean into something and then learn from it later and that’s what I’ve done today. But as the evening continues, my confidence and determination are bubbling to the surface again, thanks to some research, reflection and re-commitment.

I’d like to share 8 ways I’ve found to shake off a slump in energy and motivation, making sure that taking time out to regroup doesn’t mean opting out of what’s really important in life.

1. Look at how you are fuelling your body and your mood. At this time of year I always feel extremely tempted to reach for chocolate or snack on toast or cereal. Today I’ve tried to avoid excess sugar and carbohydrates so as to sidestep that blood sugar slump which causes an energy crash and mood downturn.
2. Exercise and fresh air. We all know how beneficial this is – and the great thing is that you can instil healthy habits in your kids when you bring them along for the ride, whether you choose to ride a bike, rollerblade, play in the park, run or just take a walk. Yesterday we went for a bracing walk in the local hills and certainly got lungfuls of fresh air, as it was practically blowing a gale by the time we reached the top. But it felt so good to “blow away the cobwebs”! Today I wasn’t feeling quite so energetic but I ventured out between showers. My slower pace gave me the added bonus of noticing all the spring bulbs that are beginning to flower and reminded me of the hope and potential that most days I see with ease, even if today it was harder to do so. Researchers have found that the colour green sparks creativity and boosts motivation. Yet another reason to hit the great outdoors, even if that just involves stepping out into the garden.
3. Some time ago I watched a fascinting TED talk by Amy Cuddy, professor at Harvard School of Business, on the importance of body language. Just 2 minutes of a High Power Pose will increase your confidence and decrease your stress. It will affect your body chemistry and also how other perceive you. Try standing with feet hip apart and hands on hips, or having a big stretch with arms fully extended and see what I mean. A High Power Pose is anything that uncurls the body and opens up your stance – essentially it means making a bigger shape, taking up more space. If you feel shy doing it in front of people, try it by yourself in a bathroom!
4. Try doing one thing at a time, not multi-tasking – even if you just do one thing at a time for 15 or 20 minutes. Set a timer and see what you can get done.
5. Be mindful and bring yourself back to the present moment. Become aware of the physical sensations, sights and sounds that you are experiencing and make each chore or task a mini meditation.
6. If you can’t seem to get started at all: start with something small and work up to something bigger. Most things can be broken down into smaller steps.
7. Make a deal with yourself – for example: “once I’ve finished this I’m going to reward myself with half an hour of reading my book/ a cup of tea” etc. This works wonders for children too, and helps break up the drudgery of the day.
8. Don’t overthink your next action – just do it. Avoid the paralysis of analysis and remind yourself that once you get started there will be added momentum to keep going. There’s a fabulous mantra which I found online today – “Dream big, start small and act now”.

In need of an extra boost? Book an hour’s free Strategy Session with me.

My book, The Single Mum’s Survival Guide, is for sale on Amazon.

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How Can I Have More Energy When I’m So Tired All the Time?

One of the last people to comment on a previous blog was a single mum who talked about how physically and mentally draining it is, being a single mum. There’s a chapter in my book with lots of advice on coping with this.

You owe it to yourself and your children to stay fit and healthy. As you have no doubt discovered by now, looking after kids can be exhausting! Increasing your level of fitness will give you the renewed vitality and energy to keep up with all the daily challenges of parenting. It is worth bearing in mind that choosing to make just small changes in your daily life can dramatically improve your wellbeing. .. Six or seven hours [sleep] a night can help keep your blood sugar balanced. Eating a healthy diet is also essential both to maintain your ideal weight but also to boost energy levels. We all know about the downside of the sugar rush-the sugar low you get afterwards.  Eating too many high carbohydrate-rich or processed foods, or consuming too many sugary drinks or foods can leave you feeling sleepy, sluggish and downhearted. Most of us single Mums have succumbed to comfort eating at some point and the occasional treat is perfectly fine but take it from me, it makes you feel so much worse in the long run and you can get onto a slippery slope which is hard to get off. Before you take a bite, ask yourself first: am I actually thirsty, instead of hungry? How will this feel as it slides into my stomach – not just now but for the rest of the day? Will eating it make both my body and mind feel good in the long run? If the answer is no, consider working out which emotion is eating you, step away from the food and spend a little time paying attention to nourishing your soul and spirit instead. For more advice on my eating strategies of naturally slim people, visit my website. Exercise releases endorphins, those wonderful feel-good chemicals, and who doesn’t enjoy some feel good factor floating around their bloodstream? It may be an effort at first if you haven’t got the fitness bug already but hang on in there. You’ll find that it’s an upward spiral – the more you move, the more energy you have and the more enthusiasm to exercise and so on…The key is to fit exercise into your daily routine. If you do this, you are much more likely to stick to those good habits. After a while you will grow to enjoy both the experience and the results so much that if you have a day without exercise you’ll really miss it. Every bit of time and effort counts and you don’t have to carve out an hour or more for a gym workout if that proves too much of a challenge.

This will all help you with energy levels. The mental fatigue may be due to the emotional stress of relationship breakdown, separation or divorce and coping as a single parent. Everyone who buys a copy of my book is entitled to a FREE coaching session with either me or one of my colleagues, so I do encourage you to make use of this free resource. “THE SINGLE MUM’s SURVIVAL GUIDE- How to Pick Up the Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available on Amazon as an eBook and will be released as a paperback on 1st July.