We've done many episodes about using the breath to create energy, but what do you do when performance drops and you hit a slump or feel down in the dumps? It happens to all of us.
The brain gets foggy, motivation dips, we get bogged down with what’s going on in our head and start to let go of the physical rituals and habits that support us - movement, hydration, breathing, meditation - simply because we don’t ‘feel like doing them’.
So we wait until we ‘feel better’ before we pick them up again. But if we do things the other way around and lead with the physical, reaching peak performance again and staying there doesn't have to be difficult.
Listen to the audio, watch the video below or read on for our summary of the situation and the solution that goes with it.
‘Tis the season
This is something we’ve been feeling ourselves lately. It's December at the moment and there’s lots going on, including the pressure of family get togethers and other social holiday happenings. There’s also a shift in the intensity of the weather here in Australia as it comes into summer. Of course for those in the northern hemisphere, cold weather can be intense, too.
I (Angie) don't have the energy to do very much. I tend to get dehydrated and stiff because I don't want to move, or just don’t want to do anything. When this happens, I create an attachment to the problems or issues I’m experiencing and if I don’t take action to move my body and rehydrate my body, my brain goes into “oh my goodness” mode. When that happens, there's no room for a solution to come to fruition.
A breakdown in communication
Let’s just lay it out straight here - becoming dehydrated and stiff is how you die; it begins the breakdown process of your cells. This causes the body’s performance to drop and the mind soon follows suit. You don’t feel like doing much because the body doesn’t feel like doing much.
The cells are trying to communicate with you, so if you don't do anything about it, they’ll eventually start screaming. That's where I (Angie) believe that sickness and diseases start to come into play.
This is actually one of the biggest lessons we have learned - the longer we wait to do something about the feeling of low or slumped energy, the harder it is to pull out of it. It’s certainly easier when there’s somebody next to you encouraging you to get on with it but, at the end of the day, you need to take action for yourself.
Ignoring your body’s needs
It all starts with the body. You've heard us say it before - you can set goals and visualise as much as you like, but that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. The key to taking control is giving attention to your body.
The body is an energetic organism. Trillions of them in fact working together. If you treat these organisms right, they’ll give you sustained energy with a bonus clarity of mind and purpose to help put that energy to good use.
But when things start getting on top of you, what’s the first thing that goes out the window? Self care.
I (Angie) get into a negative mindset, thinking, “I can’t do this”. I will sit in the problem cesspool before I'll look after myself. As a business mum, that's almost a default behaviour. We have a tendency to look after everybody else's issues or problems before we look after our own.
And if you’re over 30, you’ll notice things begin to slowly break down anyway. For some people, looking after themselves becomes harder and harder, but it doesn’t need to be. You don’t need to punish yourself in the gym, or try to follow strict diets. All you need is to keep some simple staples in your daily routine, like moving your body, stretching it out, staying on top of your hydration, and keeping up your meditation or breathing rituals. These are the things that are often so simple but are overlooked. We’re guilty of that ourselves but know from experience that they are absolutely the fastest way out of an energy slump..
The thing that has been a game changer for me (Angie) is how I use my breath when performance drops. I have a habit of blaming myself for getting to that stage, and for putting myself in that situation. I often end up blaming other people too. Both are counter-productive to my performance, so I’ve learned to take responsibility and learn from my mistakes so I can be on top of the problem before my performance drops in the future.
Here’s a simple breathing exercise to help with this - imagine you're drawing air in through a straw and, taking as long as you can, fill from the bottom of the lungs to the middle to the top. Get to the fill point and then let it go.
It’s simple but effective. Doing this helps slow things down and gives something to focus on. Do that for as long as you need to and wherever you need to.
It can be done anywhere, any time. You don’t need special clothing or equipment for it. You don’t need to set time aside for it. You don’t even have to have a supply of drinking water handy.
Of all the simple self care techniques, breathing is the one that will reverse the energy slump the quickest and set you up to put all the other techniques into play.
Body first, then the mind
Generally, people are stuck with the problem in their head, when really the problem is in the body. Our mind doesn’t consider quick fixes like rehydrating or movement so we sit with the problem and let it fester.
Breathing is the procrastination buster. It will clear your head so you can focus on taking further action to make your body and mind feel better, whether that be by upping your water intake, moving your body, giving it a stretch or taking time out to meditate.
Just a simple breath can slow you down, clear your head, reposition your focus and put you in touch with your intuition so you can move forward to where you want to be.
Breathe first, hydrate second, move or stretch third, then watch everything else begin to fall into place.