The energy miser

Some wisdom from Ruth Ostrow (Weekend Australian Magazine, 1-2 Sep 07, p. 10)

The other day I decided not to take on a project that I’d been offered. It was a fantastic thing to do and I had been looking forward to it greatly. But suddenly, when I thought of all the steps I’d need to take to bring the project to fruition, I got an overwhelming sense of exhaustion and of biting off more than I could chew. And I decided to become an emotional “energy miser”.

Definition? An energy miser is someone who realises they don’t have as much energy as they used to have, and, with energy reserves at a critical low, decides to switch off the proverbial lights and use candles instead.

With all the demands upon us nowadays, there just isn’t as much energy to burn as there once was. Humans have a limited supply. And while we’re forced to multi task [as parents, workers, carers to ageing parents, supportive partners), any energy draining situation such as an argument, an extra project or a problem with one’s kids can knock the body about dreadfully.

Nor should we be fooled by adrenalin surges. During the fight or flight reaction to a deadline or altercation, stress hormones flood the body and prepare us for action. This boosts energy levels and stimulates the system. But there’s the inevitable biological let down afterwards, and it’s now well known that continual, habitual stress makes the brain turn off other helpful hormones such as feel-good and sex hormones, leading to fatigue, immune deficiency and depression.

The skilled energy miser chooses his or her projects or battles carefully, scrutinising each ounce of energy that they are going to give the situation. “I won’t yell at that bad driver because it will tire me out.” Or “Yes, I will have those people over for dinner because their company will nourish me.”

Once becoming a committed energy miser, there are techniques to help conserve energy such as learning to delegate, knowing when to walk away, and knowing when to bring in a lawyer or a nanny. Anything to spare spillage or leakage. Better to be energy rich and cash poor than the other way around.

We all know that it’s becoming increasingly important to conserve the world’s precious resources. Likewise, conserving our internal resources is not only intelligent, it’s also the best anti-ageing medicine around.