Dog Days of Summer

It’s hot. Everywhere. A Reuters release a few hours ago indicated that the Continental U.S. broke the heat record in the first half of 2012, so I am certain I am not crazy. At least not about that.

I have lived in paradise here in the Lowcountry for more than eight years, but I still haven’t gotten used to dealing with the heat, humidity and bugs that make me want to stay cooped up inside in the air conditioning in July and August. Pools are too warm to be refreshing. The beach is too hot, muggy and crowded to enjoy. It’s too hot to run, my favorite exercise…wah wah wah…I used to have a coffee mug that said “No Whining” but I accidentally broke it. Clearly I need to replace it.

For the last few weeks, I haven’t been writing at all, I am out of my exercise routine, and I wound up with a wicked summer cold. The last few days have found me particularly lethargic… Even Derby isn’t feeling well – as I write this he is taking a nap in my closet. Poor guy has a double ear infection, and is clearly not himself. We are quite a pair!

Derby napping in my closet

After a trip to the emergency vet yesterday to figure out what was wrong with Derby, I finally sat down to write and think about my state of mind and my state (and Derby’s!) of physical being. I was tired of feeling tired. I had crossed the line into self pity and general “mopeyness” (not really a word but still says it best)…and I knew I needed to work a few things out in my head and get a grip.

I asked myself – where is the fine line between rest and lethargy? Between healing and moping? Between relaxation and rumination?

For sure sometimes we need to allow ourselves the time and space to rest and heal – whether from illness, heartbreak or the like. But sometimes we wallow. Sometimes we mope. Sometimes we cross that line into inertia and don’t realize it…I was definitely there, and started to see things a little more clearly. Do you know what I mean? It’s the simple difference between taking a nap and waking up refreshed versus clicking through TV stations for two hours feeling tired and listless. Except on a grander scale.

As I thought about the questions, some answers started to percolate. I started to realize that the key for me is awareness, purpose, and intention. I realized that If I am aware of how I am feeling and why, I can clearly think about what I need, and I can start to take purposeful steps to meet those needs. If I need to rest, I can take a nap to take care of myself rather than feel guilty that I am restless on the couch channel surfing rather than being productive.

It’s as simple as being mindful rather than mindless. I can be mindful and be in a state of rest and healing…or I can be mindless and feel idle and lethargic. One gives me energy. The other zaps it.

Can it really be that simple??

Uh, no. So what gets in the way? Get ready for the list. I sat and literally wrote a list of what I labeled:

“Energy Suckers”

  1. Self doubt disguised as voices in my head that say “you can’t” or “you’re not good enough” or “you don’t deserve it.”
  2. Giving too much – not saying no.
  3. Resentments that I haven’t let go. Just like Florence sings… “I’m always dragging that horse around.”
  4. Fear paralysis. What if? What’s next?
  5. Self pity.
  6. Looking for validation from others – rather than from within.
  7. Unhealthy eating and/or drinking.
  8. Ignoring my feelings by brushing off any negative emotion rather than becoming aware of what it is and where it comes from.
  9. Doing too much – focusing on doing rather than being.
  10. Inertia – doing nothing yet not resting.
  11. Not engaging my brain – mindlessness v. mindfulness.

What zaps YOUR energy? Who and what are your energy suckers?

If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know I like to flip things around, so…

Here is a list of my energy remedies, aka…

“Energizers”

  1. Getting a good night’s sleep. Or a great nap. I can learn from Derby – who by the way is still napping, but has now moved to the couch. He doesn’t seem to be feeling guilty – he is resting and healing.
  2. Writing. Nothing clears my head like writing does.
  3. Asking a friend for help. Or going to the doctor for a diagnosis and some medicine.
  4. Helping someone in need…and re-gaining perspective.
  5. Reflecting on my growth and lessons learned.
  6. Listening to music. Recent favorite song includes Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine and my newest Pandora addition, George Michael…
  7. Reading a book. Recent favorite, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.
  8. Exercising – yes, even in this terrible heat. Who says walking isn’t exercise? Derby and I went for a walk this morning, and I think we both feel a little better as a result.
  9. Creating something – by cooking something fresh and healthy or making jewelry.
  10. Laughter (remember my Belly Laugh post…).

What is on your list? What energizes you?

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