We are at or nearing the fatigue stage of COVID-19.
You’ve probably noticed that when we face an immediate threat or crisis – whether it’s a small one like a burst pipe at home or a large one like a fire or this pandemic – we human beings, almost without exception, rise to the occasion. It’s in our nature. Adrenaline is amazing stuff. We dig deep. We take decisive action. We get stuff handled.
Longer term crises, however, present a different challenge. This is not only because such crises are longer or because they might represent a permanent change in circumstances, rather they wear on our precious stores of decision-making energy. When a crisis goes on and on, we are forced to decide again and again to act. We are forced to carry on, sometimes without a sense of when it will end. And that wears us down.
I have this little formula that goes “Energy + Intention = Vitality.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines vitality as follows:
1) Vital force, power, or principle as present in all living things; the life principle or force. Also, the germinating power of a seed.
2) The ability to endure or to continue to function.
3) Mental or physical vigour; energy, animation, liveliness.
I say, yes, yes and yes!
But I would add a twist. Vitality is not just performing some action with gusto. It’s an experience of potency or liveliness. When we have and live and build vitality into our daily lives, we feel vigor, we feel positive and in control.
So, how do we get there?
We’ve all had those days when, after we’re done with work, all we want to do is sit on the couch and do nothing, right? You don’t want to cook dinner. You don’t want to walk the dog. You don’t want to play with the kids or talk to your spouse. You just want to flop on the couch and watch Netflix, and if someone asks, we’ll say “I just don’t have the energy.” We’ve all been there.
But it’s not really the whole picture. The amazing thing about the physical energy stored in our bodies is that we have more of it than we think. The truth is that at any given moment, most of us could get up from the couch and walk or run a marathon if we had to or chose to. Our bodies are wellsprings of endurance and physical capacity.
Have you noticed that the next day after you exercise, you often feel more energized? Of course, you have. A good fitness routine, coupled with the proper nutritional fuel for your body and the right amount of sleep, builds you up and adds even more energy to the reserves that you already have within you. So, what gets in the way of tapping this wellspring?
This is where intention comes in. Intention – essentially our ability to choose our approach to ourselves and the world – is that little kick that gets us up off the couch and back into the game of life. It’s a pretty remarkable skill to develop in your life. Yes, it does involve forming habits, having goals and objectives, and maybe a bigger vision for your life. But the reward for using it is vitality, that wonderful feeling of feeling useful, vital and alive.
You can build your “intentionality muscles” with practice and repetition. In this way, intention is just another word for choosing, and making repeated and deliberate choices.
I like to think of it this way: Every morning when I wake up, I remind myself that I have three choices: I can end the day stronger, weaker or about the same as I was the day before.
When I am living intentionally, I choose to be stronger every single day, and that has made all the difference.
“Energy + Intention = Vitality.”
Stay strong, my friends.
Onward and upward.