How to Maintain Your Energy

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just sitting here expending a lot of energy

I’m sitting here expending a lot of energy trying to make a list of things that give and take energy. My life is full of energy thieves and even though they are sometimes hard to identify, they are easier to pinpoint than the things that give energy. Maybe it’s because the thieves bother me and make me irritated. I will list examples and try to explain them below. Please do not take these points as something general that applies to everyone, as it is highly personal what one’s energy thieves are and what gives energy. I’m just trying to clarify with my own examples of what can be energy-giving and energy-taking.

When energy runs low, the mood is also affected. I have written about the angry old man and he is always there. Especially when energy levels are low. For myself, I have tried to identify where energy is going in order to avoid repeatedly draining my energy so that the angry old man doesn’t risk coming out.

Things that take energy:

  • Background noise and clutter: Having someone or some people buzzing somewhere in the background is an extremely tiresome situation for me. My worst nightmare would be having to work in an open-plan office or similar. At home, I sometimes have a son who talks to himself, which is a huge energy thief, and I can be on the verge of tears after a few hours and just want to go to bed. In school environments and public places, you often find such buzz. This insight has made me start avoiding these environments. Oddly enough, I’m not bothered by a radio in the background. Maybe because it has always been present during my upbringing.
  • Loud screams and noises, like a dog’s bark: Those of you who have played an FPS game know how the health meter drops when you get hit by a shot. That’s roughly what my energy level looks like when sudden loud noises occur, such as a moped revving its engine or a dog barking with joy.
  • High-concentration projects (such as cleaning, organizing, washing, and other tasks that require significant mental effort and planning to work): Cleaning and organizing actually give me energy, but not during the process itself. For example, vacuuming a room first requires planning what to clear away before vacuuming can begin, then clearing it away. If I then notice that I missed something, my energy drops like a stone because I feel like a failure for not even being able to note the sock lying in the middle of the floor. The fact that a loud machine is used doesn’t make it easier. Washing also requires a lot of energy-consuming planning. You might think it’s just putting the laundry in the machine, but no, you have to plan to also remember to dry the laundry, fold it, and sort it. Four enormous thieves for me. What might be routine for you is a very intricate process in many steps that takes enormous amounts of energy for me. As a result, the small things in everyday life suffer.
  • Social contexts: Concentrating on a discussion that you might not even find particularly interesting is extremely draining for me. I might not care at all about Jansson’s new car, but since you seem interested in it, I also have to participate in the discussion to not be unsocial. The energy thieves can be many and enormous.
  • Public places: There are no public places without distractions. It could be things like a strange sign, a couple of teenagers standing and talking in a corner, a smell, something that makes noise, blinking lights, moving and noisy machines. I probably don’t need to mention more; all these things catch my attention and are energy thieves.
  • Being in traffic with someone else (it takes a lot of energy to concentrate on the person you are with, whether they are a passenger or a walking companion): I actually have no personal problem moving around in traffic as long as I am alone; it can even be relaxing. But when I have company, a lot of energy goes to my companion. If I’m with the dog, it needs attention and naturally wants to be social with everything and everyone, something I avoid as it is an energy thief. If I have a person with me as a passenger or companion, it suddenly requires two things of me at the same time: being social and keeping track of my surroundings. That is one thing too many.
  • Listening to a story, audiobook, lecture, or similar: This might seem strange as I often listen to podcasts, but it becomes more like listening to the radio – which usually doesn’t take any energy. I actually like listening to audiobooks and similar, but it takes enormous concentration for me when listening to things. I have a hard time visualizing what is being said and sometimes have to listen to the same parts over and over just to understand what is happening in the story. Podcasts are a bit different as I don’t care if I’ve only heard half of what is said.
  • Working on the computer: Something that is double-edged for me. Some things take enormous amounts of energy while other things give energy. For example, working on a web survey can be a huge thief. Writing a letter takes energy. Searching for information about authorities and contacting them. Talking on the phone (Facetime doesn’t take as much energy): This is perhaps the absolute worst thing I know. Talking on the phone. I have always thought it was because I can’t see the person I’m talking to and therefore often misunderstand what they are saying. Nowadays, I also think it’s because the sound quality is terrible. There is a lot (though less in new modern phones) of noise, background noise, and other disturbances. The concentration required for such a conversation is enormous, and I am extremely easily disturbed by my surroundings.
  • Exercise/gym: Something that is enormously energy-consuming. Exercising for the sake of exercising has always been totally pointless for me and causes more frustration than anything else. Most exercise is also monotonous, and if there’s something that takes enormous amounts of energy, it’s monotony. That said, there is exercise that I enjoy. I have tried orienteering one summer, which was extremely rewarding. I have also played some racket sports, something I am very bad at but it gives me energy. Unfortunately, it requires at least one like-minded person you want to spend time with.

As you can see, there are many factors that affect our energy levels, and it is important to identify what gives and takes energy for us personally to take care of our health and well-being. By removing the factors that take energy and focusing on the factors that give energy, we can better take care of ourselves and avoid exhaustion and stress. Do you have any energy thieves in your life? Feel free to leave a comment.


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