Everyday Grace

thoughts and inspiration on emotional health by colleen p. arnold

Jump Starts

In cars, a jump start creates energy in a dead engine. Every once in a while, I need a jump start. I start to feel sluggish, slow in mind and body, and it feels like everything is too tight – finances, my jeans, my family’s demands. I knew I needed a jump start when I posted on my Facebook page, “I could really use a weekend at a hot springs right about now.” Planning a weekend away is just not in the cards right now, so I thought about the smaller things I could do to get my mojo back, and two things came to mind almost instantly:

1. Exercise

2. Organize something

Exercise creates energy. Any time I’m feeling overly tired, I know I haven’t been exercising enough. I remember a doctor on the radio commenting that if they could put exercise into a pill, it would relieve the symptoms of most ailments better than any medicine available. That always stuck with me and if I ever feel like my physical well-being is less than optimal, I try increasing my exercise before checking in with the doctor, and most of the time, I feel better pretty quickly.

De-cluttering, for me, is another powerful way to increase energy. I find that the act of clearing away or organizing an area makes me feel productive and clears the way for new ways of seeing things. In Feng Shui, de-cluttering is a necessary step to inviting new energy into your life. My life gets cluttered very easily. I tend to keep things I don’t need, or might feel sentimental about, and then I get overwhelmed with the clutter and ignore it. My natural way of being is not simple and clutter-free, so for me, de-cluttering has actually become kind of a spiritual practice that I need to continually practice.

My husband agreed he’d be responsible for the boys that afternoon, which gave me a few hours. If I hadn’t been intent on creating energy, I probably would have taken a nap or done office paperwork. Which is fine, but I knew in my heart that I needed to stoke the fire a bit.

I would have preferred a walk outside, but it was raining buckets, so I pulled out the Wii Fit, informed my sons that it was Mama’s turn to use the Wii, and no, I wasn’t going to do a 2-person game so the 5-year-old could just put down the extra remote. (He parked himself next to the board the entire time, so I just told him this was my time to exercise, and reminded him that he was capable of getting a drink himself or he could ask his dad.)

I felt better quickly. The Wii Fit isn’t exactly running a marathon, but it’s fun and I know which activities I have to do to work up a sweat. I did about 45 minutes, which was enough to remind my body that it could do more than sit in a desk chair.

Then I put my earbuds in my ears, pulled up “This American Life” on my iPod, and went to work in the bedroom. In about 2 hours I’d cleared out four large garbage bags of sweaters, jackets and pants that I kept because they were good quality, but I never wore. I took photos of all of them (for tax purposes – we always itemize our donations and keep careful records). They will be delivered to a local clothing bank within the week.

There are a lot of things on my to-do list that I haven’t gotten to, and that’s fine. I needed to prioritize those tasks that would help me gain momentum and propel me into this week so I could tackle it with energy.

Look at your to-do list. Which of those tasks will create energy, instead of deplete it?  Sometimes it’s important to put aside that which is urgent and focus on that which is essential.


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