When I’m single or just hanging out by myself for the weekend, I’m almost always very active and busy. Sometimes I even run around the house because I don’t like the inefficiency of walking.
But when I’m dating someone, we’ll generally spend a lot of time lying around in bed and floating around doing really very little. And eating. After not long, I find myself getting really lethargic. I even find myself leaning on the man in question at traffic lights, as though standing is too much of an effort!?
I realised over the long weekend that if I go into relax mode for too long, I get really, really lethargic. I feel like I lose energy.
And I don’t like it.
I would have thought that after being so ‘busy’ all the time, I would have felt energised after a bit of much needed relaxation, but instead I felt drained.
I just realised why this morning.
A few years ago I did an intense yoga meditation retreat in southern Sweden.
We learnt various forms of meditation during the day in between doing yoga and having lectures about the principles of Tantric yoga. We did this from 5am-10pm for 14 days. It was hard work!
They never let us ‘relax’. In the few hours we had between doing yoga and meditating, we did Karma yoga, which involved working in the organic gardens (digging potatoes, crouching in the mud picking beans, weeding, etc), cleaning, and making food for everyone.
It didn’t feel like a ‘retreat’ at all – there was no lounging around aimlessly to ‘rejuvenate and rest’, as I’d imagined.
Yet by the end of it, I felt really clear and energised and relaxed.
Something they told us always stuck with me – and makes more sense to me now more than ever:
If you don’t use your energy, you lose it.
We often have this sense that we just need some more time to sit and watch TV and ‘relax’, then we’ll feel well rested. But I realised that the more time I spend resting and watching TV, the more exhausted I feel.
I now realise that those yogis were onto something.
Use it or lose it.
Like breeds like.
Inactivity breeds more inactivity.
So the more we lie around and do nothing, the more we want to lie around and do nothing.
It’s really hard to get going after a day of this, and I know from experience that when you get out of the habit of exercise for a few days or weeks, you don’t feel like you have enough energy to get started again.
To heighten this, when we lack energy, we usually crave high energy foods like sugar and refined carbs, which in turn give us blood sugar spikes which then lead to even less energy.
And yes, yesterday I ate a Cadbury Easter bunny and a packet of choc chip biscuits, and some raw vegan (but still loaded with ’natural sugar’) treats from Pana Chocolate, so that holds true.
Often, if we’re feeling energyless, it’s not because we’re not resting enough, it’s because we’re resting too much!
That’s not to say that rest and relaxing doesn’t also have it’s place, of course – but if you find yourself spending most of the day sitting, then coming home and sitting some more, perhaps with a brief bit of movement in between, there’s probably a different reason for your lethargy than you think.
So if you’re feeling tired and lethargic, the answer might not be more rest more or to drink more coffee – it might be that you just need to stand up from your computer right now; put down your phone, do a few pushups and star jumps, go for a walk, do something active and then return to what you’re doing and see if your energy level has improved.
I’m off to do that right now.