(Or: Doing what you want to do)
By: Patrick M. Kennedy
Saving energy is a big thing in today’s modern construction and ecosystem practices. Saving energy is also a big thing in today’s aging process. Here, we don’t mean turning off the running the water while brushing your teeth to save about 8 gallons of precious water, or turning down the air conditioning in the summer and suffering with just a bit more heat, or turning down the heat in the winter although it is harder to suffer with a little more cold air. Here we mean the energy to get out of bed in the morning to fix the coffee to get more caffeine energy to carry on through the day.
Enough energy to go out to the mailbox to pick up the bills and all the junk mail for vitamins, health club membership, and coupons for food you can’t afford in the first place. And the countless ad mailers to rush-rush and purchase life insurance to shelter your body after it has passed. What about life insurance that actually insures that you will live forever, or at least a few days longer than today.
Have you ever heard this from a friend, “Oh, I don’t have the energy to go to a movie!” How much energy does it take to sit through 2 or 3 hours of film viewing in a comfortable seat while eating popcorn? Energy is defined as a dynamic quality in a ‘narrative sense’; the capacity of acting or being active in an ‘intellectual sense’; a usually positive ‘spiritual force’; vigorous exertion of ‘power’, that is, effort
; or in the more long-winded definition, it is a fundamental entity of nature that is transferred between parts of a system, in our case our bodies, in the production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work.
Ah work, we don’t do that anymore, much, anyway. So we can change that word ‘work’ to ‘daily living’. Having the energy to sit through a movie is in the ‘survival sense’.
In the daily newspapers and telecasts the meaning of energy is usable power; electricity, gas, heat, wind, solar, and maybe even bio-thermal. That is all fine and good in the big picture of the world: But what about the tiny human picture. We can easily understand a car running out of gas or the electricity being blown out by a wind storm. But what about us, where does all our energy go?
A bad night’s sleep doesn’t help. If we view the body as a battery, then sleep is the most obvious charger we rely on. One bad night can throw the whole system off. Too many errands and chores are bad, we all need some free time to relax, recover and enjoy things that truly interest us. Whether it’s knitting, poker or skateboarding, engaging in these activities will provide that needed rejuvenating blast of energy.
If you travel a lot it drains your energy in several ways. First off, if you’re changing time zones, you’re messing with the biological clock that regulates your sleep cycle. Dietary choices are important. You may want to lose a few pounds, so you’ve gone on a low-calorie diet. If you give up too many, it is kind of an unhealthy choice that causes your body to go into starvation mode. Not only will you not lose weight, you’ll experience an immediate drop in energy as well.
When dehydrated, not enough water, the body and blood circulation slows down, which means that blood, with its valuable nutrients and oxygen, isn’t getting to your muscles. Other people have the potential to draw on our energy reserves, but you can likely think of a few people who take more than their fair share from you. Avoid them.
A settled-in lifestyle: When you’re wiped out, lying on the lounge chair and pondering how to get dinner to your mouth, the last thing you want to do is put on your shoes for a walk or ride a few miles on the bike. Yet even though it seems like exercise might deplete your last remaining energy reserves, it’s actually the best way to beat fatigue and feel refreshed. And hand-in-hand with that is depression. Depressed people lose the taste for activities they used to find enjoyable. Additionally, depression can get caught in a web of negative thoughts, which makes it even harder to get up and exercise, to eat healthier, or to make an effort to deal with stress.
Holidays are hard to ignore. They represent a culmination of all the other items that effect energy. When you juggle this many balls in the air at once, it is no wonder that Thanksgiving or Christmas or Birthdays with the gang can make you feel like a walking voodoo doll. You just have to realize it and get over it.
Energy has many definitions and sources. It has many uses, and senior citizens have to pay particular attention to their own energy so they have enough of it and to use it when they want to and for doing what they want to do, and move that body and mind from place to place.