Energy Doesn’t Lie

I’m an INFJ, and over the past few years have also self-diagnosed as a Highly Sensitive Person, which just means that I’m particularly affected by all kinds of sensory and emotional stimuli. (I score a 26/27 on this test.) I think that my intuition and my sensitivity combine to make me hyper-aware of energies in all situations. My sister is the same way. And yes, this is exactly as fun as it sounds!

Over the years, even though I’ve known this about myself I’ve struggled to take my own impressions seriously. Oftentimes, I’m picking up on dynamics that other people don’t seem to be as aware of, or at least not as affected by. It’s easy to start doubting myself and feel like I’m blowing things out of proportion.

But I have also seen enough evidence by now to know that I’m actually really not blowing it out of proportion. Maybe you can relate? When we start to take our feelings seriously and listen closely to what they’re telling us, we tend to have better results. We act more proactively, we set better, healthier boundaries, we find alternate solutions, and we have better experiences.

So here’s a gentle reminder to myself today: you are not crazy. Stop gaslighting yourself! If you sense a weirdness, or a heaviness, or a Codependent Creature® in the room, it’s probably there. Start by accepting that, take it as gospel, and stop wasting time doubting whether “it’s all in your head”. It’s not. Acknowledge it, and then decide what to do about it.

(The only exception to this is when you are super tired, like “didn’t sleep last night” tired, or super stressed, like “mid-panic about the CRA” stressed. At those times, energy still doesn’t lie, but you might interpret it a bit more dramatically than usual. You’re still probably on the money with your assessment, but you might be catastrophizing about what that energy actually means.)

Can you relate? Do you also sense weird vibes but doubt yourself? How have you learned to take your feelings more seriously? Help a girl out!

Setting the Tone

Every night, I sleep with my phone on Airplane mode. Not “Do Not Disturb” mode, but completely on Airplane mode, shut down to any incoming data, wifi, bluetooth, you name it. Right before bed every night, I render my phone completely useless to communicate with the outside world. I’ve been doing this now for years, at least three, and it’s one of the best habits I’ve ever established. Anytime I forget to switch on Airplane mode before bed and wake up with notifications, I feel off for the rest of the day.

I’m also noticing that the time of morning that I switch it off has an impact on my day, as does what I do with my phone (or computer!) first after it’s reconnected. If I immediately head to Instagram, it usually winds up being an Instagram kind of day, wherein I find myself doing far too much scrolling and checking obsessively. If I answer texts, immediately I’m sucked into an ongoing chat. If I browse Pinterest…well, you get the picture.

Yesterday on her stories, Amy Young shared that she’s been experimenting with something similar: not downloading the Instagram app until after 12PM. She shared that she generally feels less obsessed with it when she starts the day with this “Instagram vacay” as she calls it, and that feels true for me too. Taking some active space from the apps that obsess us is a great way to retrain our brains. We get to assert that these technologies do not control us, as addictive as they might be. We get to take some of the power back!

I’m realizing how important it is to set the tone for the day, in this and other ways. If I start by giving in to the shiny thing that’s going to give me a hit of dopamine, I’ll be chasing that feeling all day. But if I start by having a cup of tea and doing some quiet reading, or journaling, or meditating, I‘m actively creating space for myself. I’m limiting my exposure to these addictions and suddenly all kinds of energy opens up. I might tidy my apartment, or try a DIY, or make lists in my notebook. I have control over my day, and that always feels so good.

What Feels Fun?

I’ve been listening to the new season of The Lively Show, and while I don’t particularly vibe with her voice and cadence during the channeling episodes, I do like some of the wisdom that comes through! On the most recent episode, one of the questions she shares is, “What’s the most fun thing I could do right now?”

Obviously my mind has all sorts of resistance to this question. It worries that if we all did what was fun all the time, we’d never do anything important. The garbage wouldn’t get taken out (ew not fun!), we’d abandon our responsibilities and probably stop exercising altogether (just me?).

It also has some seriously dangerous tones of white supremacy for me – can a new immigrant just do what seems fun all the time? Can a refugee? The fact that Jess Lively can is a fact that is inextricably linked to her white privilege and coloured by the fact that she was already very financially successful when she started down the path of spending all her time getting into alignment in this way.

All of that being said, I still think it’s a good prompt to carry with us, even if we can’t act on it all of the time. I for one feel like I am constantly in danger of taking my routines to their extremes and not leaving any room for joy and fun in my life. If I’m not careful, my days can become very utilitarian and regimented. I want to leave room for fun, but then I start trying to schedule in fun or force fun, which of course are not fun at all.

Instead, I like that this prompt asks us to check in right now. Not later today or next week, but now. In this moment, perhaps I do have a choice to do something that feels fun, or comforting, or gentle, or exciting. 

And on that note, I’m going to go format a spreadsheet. I know, I know, but it feels fun right now! ;)

Tricks of Time

Last week on Before Breakfast, Laura Vanderkam shared a listener tip about Daylight Savings Time. Essentially, the idea was to set your alarm back an hour earlier along with your clocks. This way, you can “get up earlier” according to the clock, while your body actually wakes up at the same physical time. The listener shared how it was the smartest thing she’d ever done, including getting her PhD – so of course, I had to try it!

This morning instead of my alarm going off at 7:30, it went off at 6:30. Happily, my body felt like it was 7:30, so it wasn’t too rude an awakening, but I gained a whole extra hour to noodle around and luxuriate in my morning routine. The trick now is to actually go to bed an hour earlier so that I can make this change stick! The first night was easy, but if I keep going to bed at the same time as before, it won’t last long.

The key for me is that I need to give myself a compelling reason to wake up earlier. I love sleeping in, so it’s hard to motivate myself to get out of bed when I don’t have anywhere I need to be. My current plan is to make my morning routine as fun and luxurious as possible: delicious breakfasts, hot cups of tea, lit candles, reading fiction, or even watching TV if I feel like it.

To date, my morning routines have been fairly efficient and utilitarian – I always feel like I need to “get to work” so I don’t want to spend too much time on myself in the morning. No wonder I like my evenings better and want to stay up late to fit in “me time”! I don’t get to do anything fun in the morning!

From now on, this changes. My mornings will be goofy and fun and meaningful. I’ll put tarot and meditate and enjoy how quiet my neighbours are being. And I’ll go to bed earlier, knowing that I’ll get to have fun time in the mornings instead of staying up late. Wish me luck!