Hole in My Bucket

Have you ever had one of those weeks?  One of those weeks where you are just putting your head down and hoping you make it through to the end?  That was this week for me.  No one thing happened but if you can imagine my energy as a bucket of water, there was about an inch of liquid left in the bottom by noon on Friday.  

It wasn’t one particular event or decision that led to this depletion of resources.  It was just a whole bunch of little things, that on their own weren’t all that significant.  It was the series of things that when they hit resulted in a drop or two of my energy falling through the hole at the bottom of my bucket.

  • Client late with material that I needed to move their project forward.  Drip.
  • Getting up each day and having things to do from morning to night.  Drip.  
  • Grieving the loss of a new furry friend.  Drip.  Drip.  Drip.
  • Scheduling and rescheduling meetings and integrating the kids’ activities.  Drip. Drip.
  • Continue to feel the effects of a shorter week – never quite sure what day of the week it was.  Drip.

I was tired to be sure.  But what I was even more tired of was feeling as tired as I was, seemingly all the time.  Right then, at noon on Friday, I asked myself two questions.  

  1. What does my body need right now?
  2. What will happen if I don’t listen?

Since learning more about our brains and how neuroscience applies to coaching, my level of self-awareness has increased significantly.  Our bodies hold so much knowledge and often we physically know things before our brains can put our feelings into words. 

So, what did my body need?  To move.  I had been shortening and skipping my workouts all week.  It was time to reconnect with my strength and enjoy the confidence and clarity I have after I exercise.  I made a non-negotiable appointment with myself for a long walk with my daughter that afternoon.  

Second, if I decided to not listen to my body and continue the path I was on I knew I could make choices that were a reaction to my low feelings.  Perhaps eating a bunch of junk food which would only encourage a sedentary pattern and likely continue a downward spiral in my energy and mood.

My 45-minute walk did just what I needed it to.  My week was what it was and my weekend ahead still had a lot of external commitments to attend to. With my new-found clarity, I decided to put 3 little structures into my chaotic expectations.  One, I created a list of what absolutely had to get done and pushed everything else into my schedule for next week. Two, I tidied up the areas of my house that tend to get overly cluttered when I’m busy (my kitchen and bathroom counters).  Three, I turned off the screens and rewarded myself with a little downtime with a novel.  

Now, just 24 hours later I’d say my bucket of energy is about 2/3 of the way full again.  Not a bad turnaround!  And it all started with listening to my body and realizing the walk I didn't think I had time for was one I couldn't afford to miss.