kid with no more energy

A few weeks ago I noticed that a lot of my students were showing signs of being very run down. There are probably many factors at play here, but it gave me the idea of having them do a bit of an energy audit. When you feel like your energy is low, it makes sense to have a look at how you are spending it – can you economize? Are you leaving our self care?

I have done this very exercise with myself a couple of times and found it a helpful check in. I have said this many times, but getting things out of our heads and onto paper makes it easier to visualize and therefore manage those things.

First, I had the kids list everything they felt they were doing in the last couple of weeks, that took energy. I had to remind them to include easily forgotten energy sucks like bathing, picking out clothes for the next day etc. I even reminded them that if they were feeling stressed, or were struggling to sleep, that was an energy expenditure. Below is a sample list.

  • Boring self care; showers, making lunches and organizing clothes and materials for the day/week, walking to school in bad weather
  • School work and homework
  • Extracurricular practices
  • Saturday School
  • Stress; peer, family, worrying about the future
  • Trying to sleep

Next, I had them draw a big circle and sort their energy expenditures into sections, creating a pie graph.

stressful pie chart

A few kids realized that they couldn’t even fit all their sections in. A few were feeling pretty good and had energy left over (sadly a small minority). I asked them to make a second pie chart redistributing their energy spending the way they would like to – even leaving a section open.

pie chart for self care

Finally, we talked about ways to try and redistribute that energy. This involved looking at strategies we have been trying to reinforce all year:

  • considering their sleep Hygiene
  • adding in mindfulness practices to help them live more in the present and less in the past and future.
  • being mindful of their self talk
  • pre-booking time to spend on enjoyable self care and energizing activities (before the energy is all spent)
  • remembering that everything is temporary