HELLOfellow pharmacists and welcome to the fourth article in the 5W2 series.
The 5W2 series is a selection of short articles on strategies and techniques to support our emotional development within our professional roles. Each article includes tried and tested practical self-development tools. Previous articles have focused on “Managing Stress”, “Using Mindfulness” and “Self Coaching”.
This fourth article is Five Ways to Maintain your Energy Levels, and will look at the following 5 simple strategies:
Change your thinking.
Choose your tribe.
Have a clear picture of why you do what you do.
Clear the physical clutter.
Clear the emotional clutter.
Energy levels can dip so easily during the day or week whether we are in the pharmacy, on the ward, in the clinic or in the office. If we don't top up those levels we are in danger of burning out. So, before I get into the detail of the Five WaysI thought I would share some of the obvious ways of maintaining energy levels that I have assumed us lovely Pharmacists will do all the time!
· Get enough sleep
· Eat well and eat clean
· Exercise regularly
· Take breaks
· Spend time on things that make you happy
So assuming we all do the above 5 as our core ways of maintaining energy levels, lets look at the ways I mentioned above.
Change your thinking
When we get to the end of a busy day and head home we probably start thinking about all the things we still have to do, all the things we didn't have time to do and all the things we forgot to do. When we walk through the door at home we are carrying this burden of unfinished business and whether we like it or not we will either end up sharing our burden verbally with our nearest and dearest or emotionally by being weighed down by it and not being our most relaxed and happy self.
So an easy habit to develop is simply to reflect on what you have achieved. Make a mental or physical note of things you have done and where you have made a difference. Once you have reflected then just ask yourself what are the 2 BIG things I want to achieve tomorrow. That’s it, you've minimised your burden of “haven’t dones”, acknowledged your “have dones” and got a plan for the next day.
Result- Increased energy levels by changing your thinking to what you HAVE done rather than what you HAVEN’T done.
2. Choose your tribe
Where possible surround yourself with people that make you feel good, make you laugh and energise you.
There are 2 types of people in life – “Radiators” and “Drains”.
“Radiators” – make you feel warm inside, are good to be around and energise you.
“Drains” – zap your energy, are hard work to be around and leave you feeling cold.
Have a think about who you are surrounded by at work and mentally decide who are your Radiators and Drains and make sure you maximise your time with the Radiators.
If you are unlucky enough to be surrounded by predominately Drains then look at what their best qualities are and choose to keep that foremost in your mind. The thought process of looking for the best in someone will make you feel better and increase your energy levels.
3. Have a clear picture of why you do what you do
After a really tough day, when your energy levels are in your boots, it’s sometimes helpful to step back and remind yourself of your motivations for why you do what you do. The easiest way to increase your motivation for something is to come up with as many reasons WHY.
Take 5 minutes out to come up with at least 3 authentic reasons why you choose to do the job that you do and record them somewhere.
It could be:
· To make a difference to patients.
· The moneys good.
· Its 5 minutes from home
· It's a good stepping stone to your next role/promotion.
So on the toughest of days when that burden is even heavier and your energy levels are low, take a look at that note that reminds you of WHY you do what you do.
4. Clear the physical clutter
Ok, this is a really simple one!
Have a mindset of Minimalism. Spending time clearing desks, dispensary benches, old notes on walls, notice boards can be emotionally cathartic and will also allow you to be more efficient in your day to day work.
5. Clear the emotional clutter
This last way to maintain your energy levels is very similar to the first way in that it looks at changing your thinking.
If your mind is full of concerns and worries that are holding you back then create a “Worry List” by writing down your thoughts and getting them out of your head and down on paper/screen. Getting the worrying thoughts out frees up space for other, more productive and resourceful thoughts.
You can leave it there or take each worry on your list and pass it through 3 questions:
· Where is this worry on a scale of 1 to 10?
· What action can I take to minimise this worry?
· How important will this worry be in 6 months time?
So now you have a simple plan of action to manage your worries and clear your emotional clutter.
That’s it for Five Ways to Maintain your Energy Levels. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. The next article in the 5W2 series is Five Ways to be more Resilient and will be with you soon, but in the meantime, if anyone wants to find out more about anything in this article or has any comments please get in touch via the details below.