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The Energy Project – the beginning of the road to recovery

August 5, 2013

The Harbour BridgeI’ve just arrived in Sydney, Australia with a clean slate and 4 suitcases. I left nothing behind in New Jersey.

I spent the weekend in Melbourne with my boyfriend, and I’m still just getting used to being here in a new place. It will take time to settle in so I’m not quite feeling at home yet. but I know the feeling will come.

For the record, I’ve always had a type A go-getter, play by the rules philosophy. Growing up I never rebelled and always did what I was told. I got good grades and picked a safe, stable career (i.e. accounting) to walk into.

And I have a knack for worrying. I’m easily caught awake at 2am thinking about everything under the sun, what I have to accomplish the next day and the next week, and next month. I recognize that thinking about nonsense at 2am is counterproductive to actually accomplishing things well during normal human hours.

Above all else, for as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with getting a full 8 hours of sleep per night consistently over any given period of time. What I do know is that on days where I do manage a full 8 hours (or at least whatever I consider to be enough), I feel unstoppable. Unshakable. Happy. Ecstatic.

The problem is that those feelings are always fleeting, namely when I wake up at 4am for the toilet and just can’t seem to fall asleep again.

I worked steadily as an accountant for several years, with hours starting at times as early as 7:30am, working as late as 11pm at times (fortunately that wasn’t a daily habit but it did happen from time to time).

But now that I’m literally as far away from my old life as I can possibly be, I really do want things to be different. Having the same mental patterns in a new environment basically defeats the purpose of moving halfway across the world in the first place.

So with a new city, a new career, and a new lease on life, and after what have been the most painful and stressful 6 months of my entire existence, I plan on getting my energy forever out of this funk, so over the course of my next 12 months in Australia, some of the new suggestions and ideas I have for bringing my energy up that I plan to implement in my life are:

  1. Drink alot of green juice. My significant other and myself just bought a juicer last week and we’ll be experimenting with lots of homemade green juices.
  2. Cut out the coffee – gradually. This is a tough one. At least once a year I’ll ban coffee from my life for a reasonable amount of time (i.e. a month). But I always find myself going back to coffee (and many times more than a cup per day) after a stressful week or some culture shock (i.e. travel). I associate coffee with morning breakfast but plan on replacing coffee with green juice over the course of my time here.
  3. TIO – touch it once. Marie Forleo talks about it here, but the concept is basically to act over ponder. If there’s an email that needs to be sent, rather than spending mental energy thinking about it, I’m just going to write it and send it. Rather than thinking about the unpacking and organizing I need to do, I’m just going to start. I’ll set aside blocks of time for certain activities in the hopes that I not only do things better, but also quicker so that I have some time to spare.
  4. Cut back on the alcohol. Aside from coffee, alcohol and specifically wine is probably the last gross vice I have. I don’t plan to stop drinking altogether, but instead I’m going to focus on enjoying the company of friends and family, and have the act of one drink at a time just play a supporting role in whatever I happen to be focused on at the moment.
  5. Meditate. Something I’ve been dabbling with alot recently, but this is more about focusing intensely on the present moment. If I’m trying to fall asleep, I’ll repeat mental mantras to help distract my mind from going on random tangents at 3am so that I can focus on shifting my level of consciousness to where I want it to be.
  6. Practice gratitude. Every day acknowledging my body for working for me, as well as giving thanks for everything I have and all that is working right in my life.
  7. Practice encouragement. Acknowledging others for their strengths, goals, and desires and supporting them in however way I can to help them get wherever they want to go.
  8. Make like-minded, supportive, confident friends. Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So given that I’m in a new city, I have to make friends – and the right kind to boot. Happy, confident, energized, and successful. Driven yet grounded and positive. And most of all, friends that don’t seek out external validation.
  9. Flirt with food. I’ve been vegan for the last year and a half, but in the last few months (maybe because of all the personal stress as well as getting ready for this move) I’ve been feeling somewhat faint. So instead of eliminating groups of food entirely, I’m starting to reincorporate certain foods back into my diet every so often, and evaluating how my body changes and reacts as a result.
  10. Be happy and energetic. To play on Gretchen Rubin’s words, one of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself. I’m going to set this philosophy into practice myself and watch what kinds of energy and circumstances I attract in this strange new land (and new lease on life).

And over the next several months, I intend to write about my experiences and results with trying these new practices in the hopes that others who struggle with low energy levels take away bits and tips that can help them break through their own struggles.

So what about you? Do you have any additional tips on how to increase your energy that I seem to have missed in the list above? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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