Reignite your energy – Tips to re-energize and revitalize your life

February 2013 View more

NMAG0213_LargeFeature_1I find it interesting that many articles about beating stress and re-energizing your life, seem to fall around the winter holidays. I suppose it’s the time of year when many people feel unusually overbooked and sleep deprived. Yet stress is not a seasonal issue. Between email, social media, raising children or dealing with aging parents, stress is a year round occurrence. If you feel that you can never catch your breath, and there aren’t enough hours in the day, maybe it’s time to step back, address your stress and take charge of your life.

Identify Stress

It’s important to identify the cause of your stress. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Sometimes stress doesn’t manifest itself in typical ways. “Everyone experiences stress differently,” says Angela Michalak, clinical director and therapist at 360 Youth Services in Naperville. Understanding how stress affects your mind, body, and behavior will help you identify it and do something about it. “Some physical signs of stress can include aches and pains, lowered immunity, which makes you more prone to viruses such as the common cold, chest pain as well as gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or constipation,” said Michalak. There are also emotional symptoms Michalak mentions that can include agitation, moodiness, irritability, and depression. “When we don’t recharge our batteries we become prone to emotional exhaustion and can feel physically depleted,” said Michalak. Once you’re able to pinpoint your stress and how it’s manifests itself, take a look at the possible sources. Are you someone who can’t say “No”? Do you allow other people to dictate your schedule leaving you overwhelmed? Do you let guilt over rule your decisions? If any of these sound familiar, here are some suggestions to regroup and re-energize your body, mind, and spirit.

Give yourself a time out

“Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce stress and increase energy,” said Michalak. Even if you just have a few moments, take a few deep breaths to remove yourself from the chaos of the day. It can change the entire outlook on your day. Consider deep breathing as a method to train the body’s reaction to stressful situations and dampen the production of harmful stress hormones. Driving in your car, sitting in your office can be perfect places to take a few deep breaths and release some of your stressors.

Journal your way to better health

When life is full, journaling may not seem to be a practical way to rejuvenate, but it can actually be pretty powerful. Scientific evidence supports the fact that journaling provides unexpected benefits.   Writing accesses your left side of the brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create and feel. Bottom line: writing eliminates mental blocks allowing you to tap into your brainpower enabling you to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you. The outcome results in a sense of peace and calm. Om.


We all know that exercise has a multitude of benefits, and one of them is reducing stress. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a game of volleyball, a brisk walk or even a class like Zumba, can produce similar feelings. Being active has a way of reducing the day’s inconveniences by allowing you to decompress. Once you are able to include regular exercise, you’ll notice the typical stresses of the day are greatly diminished. You’ll likely find that consistency with exercise produces feelings of well-being and increase self confidence. Your sleep patterns will improve as well. Exercise is likely the single best thing you can do to reignite your energy.

Celebrate your successes

Very often we tend to magnify all that we didn’t do or all the things we did wrong. Of course that type of focus leads to low self-esteem and potentially, depression. Spend more time on celebrating the small things that may seem insignificant. The more you’re able to concentrate on your successes, the less likely you’ll be to stress out over the things that haven’t been completed. Remember, you’re human, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Slow down by simplifying tasks

It’s so easy to put together a list of things to do only to find that by the end of the day, the list was far from completed. When that happens we feel defeated by the day and disappointed in our lack of accomplishments. Typically, our lists are unrealistic and add unnecessary pressure to life. Instead of making a list of everything you have to do, simplify it by listing the top three things that must be done that day. Then have a secondary list and finally, a low priority list. That way, you are more likely to get the most important tasks done, leaving you feeling more accomplished and less stressed.

Establish “me” time

Aches and pains or chronic fatigue is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. The more you honor and listen to your body, the healthier you will be. “There are many misconceptions about taking care of yourself,” says Michalak. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that taking care of yourself means that you are selfish and as a result you feel guilty. If we do not take care of ourselves first, we will not be available to others.” Michalak notes that women especially have difficulty taking the time to care for themselves. You can either make time for your health now, or make time for disease later. Schedule that massage or yoga class. Get out with friends and find ways to laugh more and stress less. It’s not only a gift you give yourself, but a gift to others as well.

Just say, “No”!

I’m sure we’ve all been guilty at one time or another of saying “Yes”, when we should have said “No.” Although our heart is in the right place, saying “Yes” to things that are stressing you out, or overfilling your plate, can do more harm than good. It’s in our nature to want to be helpful and saying “No” can be very difficult. However, the next time someone asks you to do something, simply respond, “You know what, let me think about it and get back to you.” That way you can be thoughtful about your decision and make sure whatever answer you provide benefits both of you.

Create sanctuaries where you can relax before you burn out

I remember reading years ago about the importance of having a sacred space in your home, even if it’s tucked away in a corner. Now that all of my children have moved out, I have my own office with pictures I love, candles that make me happy, and a view that keeps me connected to the outdoors. This space is very important and vital for my energy and overall health. Find a space in your home and make it your own. Spending even just a few minutes in that space can give you a much needed energy boost. We are constantly pressured to be all and do all, but the reality is we can’t. The best gift we can give to ourselves, and to others, is to find time to disconnect with the rigors of life and fill up our depleted tanks. If you’re able to do that on a regular basis, you will find a quality of life and a level of energy that reduces stress and increases well-being, both of which are necessary to live your best life.