It seems the older I get – I turned 32 last Saturday!! – the more I notice time zipping by. In my 20s, people always told me that after age 30, time would drastically speed up. I didn’t believe them. And boom, it’s already October.

This year, with all its highs and lows, has me thinking a lot about the concept of ‘metering your energy.’ This is just as much about physical energy as it is about emotional and spiritual energy. I first heard about this concept in a Yoga class. The instructor encouraged us all to push ourselves just enough so that we still had something to give for the next series of postures. She explained that since we didn’t know what sequences she had planned, it was important to pace ourselves – mentally and physically – to be able to make it through the entire class feeling our best and getting as much out of it as we could.

In the bigger picture, metering your energy is a delicate balance of exercise and nutrition, stress management and setting boundaries, being in community and connecting with the world around you, prioritizing time alone and getting plenty of sleep – basically, all the self-care work to pour into yourself and equip you to handle whatever life throws at you. Because that’s the thing, we never know what life is going to toss our way, when it’s coming, how long it’ll stay and who, if anyone, will be there to walk us through it.

I’ve said it a million times – had I not done the work starting in 2014, my anxiety attacks, poor eating habits and overtraining would have made it impossible for me to be a caregiver to my grandfather last year. And caregiver life came at me fast! I would have powered through it of course, but the experience would have been so much different for me and for grandpa.

If we give and give and fill our schedule to the brim, when life happens, we’re ill prepared to handle it. So, we’ll throw our hands up, retreat or {insert other self-sabotaging activity} until things die down and we can come back on the scene and start over.

Starting over usually means getting back to exercise and back to healthy eating and back to whatever else makes us feel our best. It’s a cycle we all long to break right? Wouldn’t it be better to do a little something each day that fills your tank in preparation for whatever is coming next? 

Maybe writing a few lines in that old journal you used to keep or taking a midday walk at lunch. Maybe getting to bed a few minutes earlier or taking a 5-minute time-out to just breathe and be still. That way when you’re stressed, you have a great stress-management tactic – journaling. And when you’ve had a few too many late nights/early mornings, you have that time-out to keep you grounded. And you actually took a lunch break outside in the fresh air, so you won’t feel so lethargic and swamped in back-to-back meetings the rest of the day.

Metering your energy by taking these small steps daily sets you up to handle life and most importantly, to enjoy it and get the most out of it along the way. 

Start now. Be intentional. Little by little, a little goes a long way.

You’re doing great.