Surge and settle cycles
I believe we all have these surge and settle cycles or a cyclical flow of ups & downs. I also believe we all have the ability to hack it for ourselves.
There are times when we’re motivated to do all the things and everything just seems to fall into place, then there are times when we still have the same motivation, but energy and clarity are lacking, everything seems like a fight, and it seems like no matter how hard we try, nothing is getting done. Let alone, done well.
That’s why I don’t believe in balance the way I used to. Mostly because it doesn’t exist the way I once perceived it. As I become acutely aware of the focus and energy it takes to maintain wellness and continued growth in myself while navigating this new world we live in, I’ve learned to manage expectations better and accept my own surge and settle cycles as part of the solution, rather than another problem to fight through. As inconvenient as that might be sometimes.
I used to try to think of balance as doing as many things as I could at one time. So I could get whatever projects finished that needed to get done in a given timeframe.
Then, whatever time I had left, I’d catch up on what I had missed over time. Leaving rest, recovery and time to settle only for times when I completely ran out of energy. Always trying to squeeze in one more thing. Never really stopping or taking the time to celebrate my accomplishments, big and small. Never recognizing the cyclical pattern.
Now I spend more time aware of energy levels and surge forward when I can get the most done in the shortest amount of time. Then settle… using the leftover time to work on things that take less mental and/or physical energy.
Getting the same or more accomplished on any given day, and using far less energy overall. With the intent of always leaving a little bit in the tank for the unexpected.
Whether I’m increasing my workout regimen, going deeper into meditations, working long hours developing Thrive Theory, embarking on a long fast, or going on a hike, there’s always a certain amount of preparation and intentional awareness involved, and it’s different for every event.
There’s always a surge and settle cycle in there or a flow. Times where I can put in maximum effort and get a great return on my time, and times where I can put in max output and get nowhere. I’ve learned those times that feel like I’m getting nowhere are better spent resting, stretching, meditating, or doing something that makes me happy & doesn’t require so much output.
Resting ahead of when I feel like I need to allows me the space to make better decisions. In fact, trying to put in more effort at the wrong time just leaves me frustrated and unfulfilled. Learning to work within this cycle instead of against it has made life a lot more manageable and I get a lot more tasks actually finished.
I used to loathe rest days, there was always so much to do, and “I didn’t have time to rest”. But I learned I can make the time if I actually focus on the rest and plan for it. In learning that little nugget, making time to rest has now become some of my most favored and productive times. I just had to change my perspective and get comfortable with the guilt I felt because “I didn’t have time to rest”. You know, its that guilt that comes from resting by choice and on my preferred terms before I NEED it, instead of the kind of forced rest that comes from getting sick or another flare. That’s a different kind of guilt.
Now that I am able to recognize these surge and settle cycles better, stay ahead of them, and use them to my advantage. I can use the right energy at the right time, try to always leave a little in reserve, and get better at resting on my terms.
These are low expectation terms and simply to rest and recover comfortably and in good health. Rather than pushing and fighting until I’m forced to rest in illness.
If you’re anything like me, we can all use more time in our day to do the things we want to do. Whether that’s time to go on a new fitness journey...