Updated: 6 days ago
It's a startling figure that 1 in 10 women in the UK are living with this condition.
March is Endometriosis awareness month, and it is our privilege to bring you this case study about someone who has Endometriosis and how she successfully manages the way it affects her physical and emotional energy.
We share her 6 top tips to managing your own personal energy, which can be used by all of us to transition into a post lockdown world and help us live a happy life
What does it mean to manage your personal energy?
Our personal energy is not limitless. We can’t run for miles without food for fuel, we can’t stay awake and alert without getting enough rest and we can’t cope with pressure without having time to relax.
Managing your personal energy is a holistic understanding of what it takes to keep you doing all the things you need to do, while balancing the need to make sure that you get enough of the stuff that keeps you going.
Sustainability is the key so no matter what your personal energy requirements are, you have to be able to manage your energy in a way that works for you and can be maintained in the long term.
You can read more about how to choose the right people and to manage your time in our other blogs in the Managing your Energy series
Our case Study - Every month is a rollercoaster....
Personal energy is such an important subject for us all, weary from months of lockdown, so I interviewed a person who is amazing at managing her physical and emotional energy while not only excelling in her career but also dealing with the effects of some very debilitating medical conditions.
Angelee has Endometriosis and Adenomyosis, both of which have a severe effect on her energy levels. They cause varying levels of pain and discomfort as well as being challenging to her emotional state.
Each month she deals with a rollercoaster of extremes in her energy, pain and mood.
I have known Angelee for many years and unless you knew her personally you would never guess that she was dealing with a whole host of issues and still is able to function in what seems to us on the outside to be a ‘normal’ way.
Curious as to how she does this, I asked if I could interview her about how she manages her physical and emotional energy and how it is possible for her to successfully lead the life she wants.
Angelee agreed so I put these questions to her to find out just how she does it!
1.What motivates you and why is it so important for you to manage your energy?
"I want to have a good life, free from worry, be with the people I love, be independent and live comfortably’"
Angelee has this core desire, and it has driven her to find ways to achieve it, despite being forced into creating an energy management strategy that is far from normal for most of us to even imagine.
‘It is very important for me to have a sense of control. I can’t control my medical conditions, but I can control everything else. My energy levels flux from total exhaustion to firing on all cylinders and everything in between. Keeping control of how I use my energy and what I commit to is extremely important to me’. Angelee is very evidently a ‘can do’ person – she doesn’t think ‘I can’t’ but favours ‘OK, this will take a bit of planning – just need to work out how!’
2.What emotions do you experience and what is it like for you?
"Accept what you can't control"
Angelee did not shy away from telling me how fed up she can get with the whole situation. She often gets ‘pissed off’ and has felt very much hard done by. For her its all about what she misses when her energy levels are at their lowest because she is missing out on time with those she loves. Falling asleep at family gatherings or even not being able to attend at all is one of the things that in the past would really stretch her ability to be ‘OK’ with the effect of huge fluctuations in her energy.
However, this is not the mindset that she keeps with her now. Angelee has decided to accept what she can’t control and create an energy management strategy that means she can confidently predict when she will have energy and when she will not.
So, the emotions that support her now are acceptance, confidence and a sense of control.
3.What do you hope to achieve and what do you believe is possible?
"Worrying and focussing on what you can’t do is a waste of time"
For this question Angelee took me back to her answer to the first question – managing her energy means she can manage her time effectively. She never wastes the time she has when she has the energy to do things she loves. This means that she has a strategy that makes it possible to know when she will have that energy and when she won’t. There is a pattern from month to month that means she can predict the fluctuations and plan accordingly.
Angelee knows that when she has the energy anything is possible. Her work, her family and her social life gets 100% effort and more! She plans these events to coincide with the highs of her energy.
And when she knows that her energy and pain levels are likely to be a challenge, she keeps work and life as simple as possible, resting frequently and using her energy in short bursts. Accepting the restrictions on her during these times means she can be kind to herself while still maintaining as much activity as possible.
Planning, timetabling and controlling what she commits her energy to mean that she never wastes time and maximises what she can achieve.
Angelee says ‘worrying and focussing on what you can’t do is a waste of time and a drain on your emotional energy. Be honest with yourself and make plans that you can commit to based on reality. We are all different, you just need to find the way that works for you’.
4.What advice would you give to anyone with a similar challenge when managing their energy?
6 top tips
Angelee has a very pragmatic and practical approach to this question. Her advice is:
Don’t waste your energy on things that are not important. When you worry or stress about things you can’t control you get nothing out of it – so what’s the point?
Time is energy. If you are thinking about things too much you are wasting time and using emotional energy that you don’t enough of to waste. Why talk or think when you can be doing instead.
Don’t force yourself when you don’t have the energy, you will only be disappointed with the outcome because you were unable to do it at your best. No-one knows your body like you do so do what is right for you.
Don’t measure yourself against others – we are all individuals in how our body works and the energy it has available at various times. Work with what you have.
Organise your commitments. Create a timetable and plan for the ups and downs in you physical and emotional energy. Plan when to rest, move between periods of activity and rest. Preserve and recharge
Remove all physical and emotional irritants. Being irritated is a drain on your energy so if you are irritated by mess, keep things tidy or if noise is an irritant, look to reduce the noise around you.
5. How do you know when you are managing really well and what would I see you doing?
Angelee very quickly said ‘I know I am managing my energy well because I feel content. Things are effortless, I feel happy, and I am emotionally and physically in a nice place’.
‘You would probably see me doing very little as I take as many opportunities as possible to rest and recharge. Short bursts of activity followed by a short nap or tidying my environment to minimise irritation so that I can relax.’
What can we learn from this?
Angelee has shared her experience and that it is possible to manage your physical and emotional energy if you:
- Accept what you can’t control
- Don’t waste time and energy on worry because time is energy
- Be honest with yourself about what is possible and what is not
- Plan in advance and only commit to using our energy when energy is available
- Listen your body and rest to recharge
- We are all capable of more than we think when we take control and focus on what is most important to us.
What will you do to manage your energy?
What’s the smallest viable energy management experiment you could do that might be a big winner for you?
BBC News – new treatment trials for Endometriosis
Shared Inspiration blogs – Managing your energy
Harvard Business Review – Manage your energy, not your time
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