What tips does anyone have for managing their energy level?
I feel kind of silly asking this question - but it is a legitimate issue I am struggling with - and I can't be the only one.
Usual suspects include nutrition, exercise, and sleep, but I think I am doing OK on all three. I am up at 4:30am and out the door with my 14-year old daughter at 6:25. That includes 30 minutes on an exercise bike and a breakfast with various kinds of whole grain foods. I get into the office around 7:35am and out of the office around 5:30 or so (varies from 5-6pm). Not a long work day compared to what I used to do. Plus I am no longer studying for an MBA at night or pursuing some other certification via night classes. I do eat lunch, but don't take a lunch "break" - I usually have some kind of lunch meeting. Leaving the office at 5:30 gets me home at 6:40 or so. Then dinner and crash. Why am I out of gas by 7pm? I usually get to bed between 8:30-9pm, but that last hour or two between 7-9pm is unproductive. I do get good family time in there - good conversations with my wife and daughter. At least once a week I am with my daughter at youth church activities from 7-9pm and I am full of energy those nights.
Two other suspects: 1) a recent promotion I received that is requiring significant change management. 2) behaviors of the High I. I am 7125. I can turn on the "I," but it is hard, it takes focus/effort, and I am not always good at it - presumably that becomes easier with practice.
Why don't I have more energy during those last 2 hours of the day?
Because you're trying to do
Because you're trying to do too much.
By the time you get home, you've been up and *going* for 14 hours. The high I behaviors as a high D makes that harder - you're using more energy doing the unfamiliar behaviors - but realistically, you're *going*. Period. You're using mental energy, physical energy, or both all day for 14 hours.
Everyone needs downtime - even high Ds.
You said 'I do get good family time in there - good conversations with my wife and daughter. ' So...what's the problem? You're getting good family time. How is that unproductive? It may not be 'getting things done'...but your wife and daughter, and family time with them, is important, yes? So that's productive in a different way.
What would you *expect* to be doing during that time?
You should see a doctor just
You should see a doctor just to rule out any medical condition that might be affecting your quality of life. If your energy level has dropped noticeably, there's a possible medical reason.
There's also the failing grasp of time marching on. With a 14-year-old daughter, you're still relatively young, but when we fall we don't bounce like we used to. We used to say, "Let me go up the ladder," and now we're content letting the younger bucks go up the ladder for us. It sounds like you're taking good care of yourself, but the energy will subside as time goes on.
This reminds me of when I was young. I spent the summers earning money mowing lawns. It was hard work, hot, but it didn't bother me. One thing I couldn't understand was when the old guys hired me to do yard work. Almost to a man, when I'd show up and start working, the old guy would grab a beer and sit down in a chair and watch me work. I could never figure out why it was entertaining for them. Then when I got a little older, and had enough income, I finally broke down and hired a neighborhood kid to mow my lawn. I'll be damned if I didn't find myself grabbing a beer and sitting down in the back yard, watching the kid work. I'm not sure why, but I enjoyed the heck out of it.
But I digress...
Add more protein
Something else to try is to increase your protein and decrease your carbs - even the whole grain ones. I've been experimenting with a higher protein breakfast and find I have more gas in the tank at 7:00 p.m. than when I eat a carb-filled breakfast. It seems to have better staying power and I avoid the up and down sugar rushes, which takes a toll on my body.
Also, watch caffeine. Too much may not be keeping you from sleeping but could be affecting the quality of your sleep.
It's a bit of an n=1 experiment but well worth it if you are able to have a higher level of engagement with your family in the "off hours".
One other thing that I do is lower my expectations of getting "things" done during the week. Yes, there are some daily chores but I save the majority for the weekends or those rarer nights where I have energy to burn. Foucs on the relationships, not the dishes.
I totally understand where you're coming from and wonder whether 1000mg of Vitamin C would help? I started to take it and it done wonders for both my energy levels and even weight loss as I must have been deficient in the vitamin which aids processing food to energy. If you don't already then try it!
Because it's the end of an energy consuming day...
Spending a lot of time in High I land probably does suck some of your mental energy. And if you're getting up at 4:30 am, well 7:30-8:30 seems like pretty standard time when you should be tired. What do you do to relax? People can't be always on and an obligatory 30 min stationary bike would not relax me.
The only way I manage mental energy is breaks and appropriate snacks. I'm studying for securities exams in addition to working in a new role, and there are days when I get home from work at 7pm (I work 7:45 or 8 to 6:30 or 7 often) and don't have energy to walk the dog, better yet take a practice exam or study. Right now, I just spent another hour studying and am taking a 30 min break - looking at forum posts, we'll move laundry and have a snack, vacuum the floor and then back to studying. I take one day a week where I don't do obligatory things, but do things I want to do. Might include hiking, family time, reading for fun.
If you're having good family time and are not asleep on the couch, then it seems like you're fine. I'm not sure what you're expecting?