Written by Kristin Barton Cuthriell, M.Ed., MSW, LCSW
What would happen if you were to drive your car without ever stopping to refuel? You guessed it. You would run out of gas. Your body is no different. If you continue to run, without taking time to refuel, you too, will stop. Your body needs to maintain a balance of energy to function properly.
We are going to take a moment to talk about this balancing of energy; balancing the energy coming into your body, input energy, and energy leaving your body, expenditure energy. Optimal wellness depends on maintaining a healthy balance of these two different types of energy.
Lets look at some examples of both input energy and expenditure energy.
Input Energy (This will vary depending on the person.)
- Spending time with a positive person with contagious energy
- Meditation and prayer
- Exercise: If done correctly, it will give you more energy.
- Fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods
- Rest and adequate sleep
- Positive affirmations
- Funny movies
- Cheerful or relaxing music
- Hobbies that you enjoy
Expenditure Energy (This will vary depending on the person)
- Taking care of other people
- Problem solving
- Emotional or mental labor
- Conflict resolution
- Large meals
- Fatty, sugary, and fried foods
- Certain jobs
- Sad movies and songs
- Driving in rush hour traffic
- Excessive alcohol intake
There are certain expenditures that you can not just cut out of your life. Maybe your job is draining, but you need it to pay the bills. Perhaps you are the mother of small children and feel drained most of the time. Maybe you are caring for your elderly parents and at the same time, trying to raise a house full of teenagers. Whatever your expenditures, you need to balance them with input energy or you will not be helpful to yourself or to anyone else. You will become depleted.
Make a list of all of your expenditures, things in your life that take your energy. Then make a list of things that you can do to restore your input energy. Begin making a conscious effort to balance both types of energy in your life.
You do not need to add hours to your day to do this. Breathing exercises while driving, choosing a comedy rather than a sad movie, and eating a light meal rather than a huge one will all provide you with input energy and do not require more time in your day. Remember that input and expenditure energy can vary from person to person. Be creative and come up with a balancing plan that works for you.