Do you feel like you’re wasting your precious energy? You’re living with a serious health issue or a loved one is so you have that to deal with. And life continues to happen, throwing curve balls your way. You’re trying to deal with it all and feeling pretty stressed out about it.
Stress can be exhausting. You have to manage your energy levels as it is and there isn’t a lot of spare energy. You may be wondering how you can make sure you’re not wasting your precious energy.
That’s a valid and important wondering. And I have a very handy model to share with you to help you make sure you’re not wasting your precious energy. I’ve been sharing it with carers lately and they have found it really useful. I reckon you will too.
How to make sure you’re not wasting your precious energy#stress can be exhausting. When you live with a #health issue, managing your energy levels is really important. You don’t have spare to waste. Read here about how not to waste your precious energy #fatigue #spoonie #chronicillness Click To Tweet
When you are dealing with a situation that feels stressful, there are three things you need to consider about the situation to ensure you’re not wasting your precious energy.
- What is in your direct control?
- What are those things or people you can influence? You can’t directly control them, but you may be able to influence it in some way.
- What is it about the situation that you cannot control or influence? You just cannot make any sort of change?
It’s all about what you can control and influence and what you can’t
When you have identified what you can control or influence, then you can plan what to do next.
For those items, situations or people you cannot control or influence, you may be concerned about it, and you have to find a way of not wasting your precious energy on it.
This model is from the work of Stephen Covey and he describes it in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I highly recommend the book. It describes what are life skills that we all need.
This model encourages to focus on what you can control and influence and to let go of what you cannot. Covey talks about increasing your sphere of direct control and influence and minimising your sphere of concern. The sphere of concern are those things in your life you cannot change so you don’t want to expend your energy on them.
So how do you know what you can control and influence and what you can’t?
I’ll demonstrate this by giving you some examples.
Example 1 – Your financial wellbeing
Let’s start with the economy. The economy feels like some vast abstract concept but we know its importance to the financial wellbeing of our nation and even our own personal financial wellbeing. But we can’t control it. We may wonder if we can even influence it.
One way we can influence the economy is through our vote for public officials and politicians. We can vote for those whom we feel may make the best choices for our nation’s economy and our financial wellbeing.
The direct control we have is of our personal finances. So we cannot control the economy directly, but we can control creating a budget, choosing what to spend our money on, savings, investing, applying for benefits, etc.
Example 2 – The doctor with zero bedside manner
This is a scenario many of us will have dealt with. The doctor with a zero bedside manner who speaks to you as if you were a child and they, they are the great god of medicine.
You cannot control how the doctor will speak to you. That is in your sphere of concern. That may feel disappointing, but don’t go wasting your precious energy on trying to control a person. Because you can’t.
You can influence the doctor by how you speak to him/her. That is in your sphere of influence. What you say and how you say it may influence them, it may cause them to change their approach in communicating with you. But it also may not. Definitely have a go at influencing, just be aware that it isn’t a 100% guarantee to get you what you want.
What you can directly control is
- what you tell the doctor
- the tone of voice you choose to use, and, very importantly,
- how you choose to respond to what the doctor says and how they say it
Here’s a hint regarding the doctor with zero bedside manner
Check your mental image and thoughts of such doctors. Do you see them on a pedestal, greater than you because of their education and profession? Do you have the expectation that they will sort you out and maybe even cure you? God-like?
Remember, they have to go to the toilet too. They are human, like you. They have mental health, like you.
So make that mental image of two equals meeting to resolve the same issue, which is getting the best for you and your health. Two equals who each have a different role and each bring a different set of skills to the table. Both roles are valid. And both sets of skills are necessary for getting the best for you and your health.
Example 3 – Controlling your health
It’s a frustrating, scary and a very real realisation that we cannot control 100% whether we got cancer, an auto-immune condition, a neurological illness or something else. We got it. We have to deal with it. The fact that we got it is in our area of concern from a control perspective.
What we can do is influence our health through our lifestyle choices in what we eat, drink, exercise we take, and how we deal with the impact of the health issue.
Our choices and the responsibility we take for our choices are in our direct control.
Your energy is precious
You or a loved one are probably in a place where you have to pace your energy due to physical and/or cognitive fatigue. As you pace your physical and mental energy, you have to pace your heart and soul energy too. You can’t keep wasting your heart and soul energy on people and things where it won’t make any difference. This model by Stephen Covey helps you to make sure you’re not wasting your precious energy.
What’s it like for you?
In which areas do you spend a lot of your energy? In your sphere of concern, influence or direct control? Which situations do you find it easy to stand in your sphere of direct control? And which situations do you default to expending energy in your sphere of concern? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).
If you are living with a serious health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support to take control and positively influence that you typically find stressful, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.
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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2019