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“How Do You Spell Relief” Part 5

Here we are at week five already in our “How Do You Spell Relief” series. You may be glad to know that we’re moving onto “E” for energize.

There is a definite bond between stress and feeling low energy. At the end of the day how do you feel? Are you ready to do a fun project or go for a walk? Or are you dragging yourself through supper trying to find a way to stay awake long enough to get your chores done?

Most of us carry around a few myths about energy.

Myth #1: We lose energy as we age.

Not true. All of us can think of at least one older person who has plenty of energy. A healthy older person only loses energy if they become inactive and lose a sense of fun and purpose.

Myth #2: Energy is restored by sleep.

Have you ever thought to yourself, if I could just go to bed early and get 10 or 11 hours of sleep I’ll be great in the morning? How do you feel the next morning? Right… Usually still dragged out. We do need some sleep to restore our minds and bodies, but energy comes from other sources.

Myth #3: Physical health is equal to energy.

You may consider yourself a healthy person. But, do you really have all the energy you want? You can’t have energy if you’re not well, but health doesn’t guarantee energy.

What can you do to have more energy? Here’s a quick tip to start finding ways to keep refueling your engine throughout the day. Start looking at your drains and gains. This means consider which activities, environments, and maybe even people take your energy away. Maybe it is waiting in lines, traffic, or having so many caregiving duties. Maybe you don’t pace yourself or take short breaks.

Now think about what gives you energy- the gains in your everyday life. Is it having flowers on the table, playing with your grandkids, or talking with friends on the phone? It’s important to build these refueling gains into your day.

Take a few minutes to really think about where your energy goes to and comes from during the day. Don’t hesitate to put down even the simplest ideas. Remember the constant repetition of an irritant like a squeaky chair can sometimes be as stressful as one bigger stress event. Make a list of your pluses and minuses.

Once you have a feeling for your drains and gains you can now use a simple trick called “balance by linking”. This means adding a gain to a drain. Maybe you have to go to a doctor’s appointment you’re dreading. Wear a favorite color or suit or dress that you feel really good in. Take a favorite book with you while waiting in the dentist’s office. What’s even better is that when you try this balancing on purpose, it’s even more effective than when you do it by accident.

Choose activities that fit with your setting and time limit. Here is the tough part: Do it! The key is to keep building energies into your day. Don’t wait until you’re depleted and exhausted. Renew your energy in small doses throughout the day

Here is a reminder that on April 22, at 10am, Liz Barta, our RN educator at Catalina In Home Services, Inc., is presenting an online in-depth version of “How Do You Spell R.E.L.I.E.F?”.  This talk is sponsored by Tucson Medical Center For Seniors program.Here is the link to register for this free presentation: