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Parents can develop a foundation plan for an energy boost

July 23, 2004|by LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

"If I could just bottle some of that energy."

I've heard this comment many times from parents gazing longingly at their kids bouncing through life.

Geez, I think I've said it a few times myself.

Most parents I know would love to have more energy.

"If you don't have the energy, you can't enjoy your life," says Jon Gordon, author of "Become an Energy Addict."

"So many of us are overstressed, overtired and overworked. Why are we so tired?"

Parents often give all their energy away without restocking their own supply, says Gordon, a self-described energy coach.

He recommends developing an energy foundation plan.

Think of things you can do to recharge your energy each day. These might include eating breakfast, exercising, being silent for 10 minutes, taking a 20-minute power nap or having an afternoon snack.

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Pick two to three of these things and write them down as "energy-boosting" appointments in your planner or on your calendar each day.

Don't laugh. You can do it. Here are some tips from Gordon on how to make it happen:

Exercise.

If you plan to work out in the morning, put your exercise clothes out the night before. You'll be less tempted to push the snooze button if your sweats are within reach.

Take a walk after dinner by yourself or with your kids. While walking, concentrate on all the things you have to be thankful for.

Embrace the silence.

Spend 10 minutes a day in complete silence - no TV, computer, phone, radio, conversation. Calmness can provide refreshment.

Break your fast.

Eat breakfast every day. The night before, make a hard-boiled egg and cut up some fruit. Mix oatmeal, yogurt, fruit and chopped walnuts in a bowl. Or, spread peanut butter or almond butter on a whole-grain bagel in the morning.

Attack the snacks.

Hunger-related tension can cause you to lose a lot of energy, Gordon says.

Eat three small meals and have two healthful snacks during the day. Keep nuts and raisins in your car so you can have a quick snack on the go.

Switch from a candy bowl to a fruit bowl.

Shun caffeine.

Choose a water bottle over an insulated coffee mug.

"Parents are dehydrated and don't even know it," Gordon says.

A 2 percent decrease in water weight can cause a 20 percent decrease in energy levels, he says.

Sleep.

If you can't get eight hours a night, try to fit in a 20-minute power nap. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning - even on the weekends.

Make home a haven.

Over half of the most damaging arguments occur within the first 15 minutes of arriving home, Gordon says.

Create a buffer zone between work and home. Shut off your cell phone and think about engaging with your family in a positive way.

Breathe.

When feeling tired or stressed, seclude yourself and take 10 energizing breaths. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes.

Play Red Light, Green Light.

When feeling tired or stressed, think of a traffic light. Stop and be aware of your negative feelings. Slow down and think of a different course of action. Then get going in that direction.

Accentuate the positive.

When someone is complaining, negative or mean-spirited, try to be as positive as you can. Don't allow other people to zap your emotional energy.

Give yourself some slack.

Gordon feels that the root cause of stress is fear. He says many people think they have to be perfect to be a good parent.

Not so.

"Being who you are and being loving and caring is enough."

For more energy-boosting tips, go to Gordon's Web site at www.jongordon.com.




Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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