Monday, 20 December 2010

Creating Energy

Yes I remember the Law of Conservation of Energy - 'energy cannot be created or destroyed' - but we can create personal energy, or decrease our personal energy.

There are four types of energy – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When we understand how to work with these four we can have more energy.

Each type needs to be exercised just like a muscle. To increase fitness an athlete uses interval training. Pushing themselves beyond the comfortable level and then taking a short break for recovery and then pushing again. Each of our energy types needs to be fully used (pushed) but also given breaks.

However we often under utilise some of our energy areas and over utilise others. Either way we cause ourselves to be unfit - lacking in personal energy.

If you have a low to average physical fitness level think how good you feel when you have made yourself do a small session at the gym or played a light game of squash or taken a brisk walk. You have used that physical energy system and you now feel better for it. However if you over do it you will feel depleted for the rest of the day.

Physical energy is found in any form of exercise and includes healthy eating; mental energy is all about thinking, using our brains; eEmotional energy is about experiencing emotional highs or lows and spiritual energy comes from anything which lifts the soul.

If you need more energy check which of your energy systems you are over stretching and try to give them some breaks. At the same time look to those that are being under utilised and put some focus into using them.

Generally it is easiest to build energy through the physical and spiritual systems. Physically do a bit more regular exercise than you normally do or for spiritual energy do anything that makes your soul sing - have a massage, sit and listen to a fountain or watch a bird building a nest. Or combine them and take a walk across a meadow!

What do you do to build your energy levels?

Living Life to the Full

My friend, Rob Filmer, died in November this year at the age of 46. Reading the many condolences sent to his wife, Julie and talking to people at the beautiful funeral service I was struck by the huge number of people who had been touched by Rob during that relatively short life. Tributes written on the internet by people such as Clem Sunter reminded me of Rob’s many achievements in the fields of conservation and of disability access and integration. I commented to Julie that Rob achieved in his 46 years more than many people do in a lifetime twice as long.

It set me to wondering why. Perhaps it would have been that way no matter what Rob’s health and life expectancy had been? Perhaps it was also heightened by his knowing that he was always on borrowed time?

Rob was diagnosed with diabetes before he turned two. The doctors thought he would be fortunate to reach his twenties. In his late twenties he and Julie married with the doctors saying he only had a year to live. Together they enjoyed seventeen special years living and working together.

We all know that we have a limited life span but we don’t often pay too much attention. There is an old coaching question that asks “What legacy would you like to leave behind?” or “What do you think your eulogy will be?” A friend, a little older than me, told me how she was sat at her brother’s funeral listening to his eulogy when she thought of what hers would sound like - and she didn’t like what she heard! It was such a defining moment for her that she resigned from her job and recreated herself completely.

This is a good time of year for us to focus on living our lives to the full. Without being morbid, focus on living your life in a way that would leave few regrets. Spend time on yourself so you are strong and can give of yourself to others, spend time with loved ones, either choose to enjoy the work you have or the life you live, or take action to bring about the changes you want to see.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Let sheltered workshops help you

I visited Forest Farm around 1999 to take a batch of wooden building blocks for sanding. A few of the parents had got involved in helping our children's nursery school to spruce things up. The paint was peeling from the building blocks so I took them home with the intention of sanding and then restaining in bright colours.

I soon found out how much time sanding takes on small items. So I looked around for another solution. Forest Farm turned out to be the perfect one. It has a well run sheltered workshop where the residents work to contribute to the cost of running the centre.

I dropped the blocks off, explained to the workshop manager what I needed done and a few days later, for a very reasonable fee all was done. When I went to collect the completed job I also took my children along which gave them the opportunity to mingle with the disabled workers - helping them to be comfortable around people with disability.

The nursery school got their blocks back looking like new and the people in the workshop had another piece of work to help them feel useful.

An article on Forest Farm in our local paper recently reminded me of this experience. It said "We get contracts from companies that need services such as assembly and packaging of light components, paper folding and envelope insertions, repair and hire of wheelchairs and other assistive devices. We are looking for more of this type of contract work."

If you sub contracted some of your work out to a local sheltered workshop would it free you up to be more productive?