According to Eastern philosophy, there are three forms of energy.
As working parents, we use ‘Tiger energy’ most of the time: making fast decisions and meeting deadlines at work. We finish work, rush to pick up the kids, then go home and prepare dinner. And then we help with the homework. After the children go to bed, and usually until midnight, many of us also work from home or perhaps build another business on the side.
We crave ‘Sloth energy.’ We can hardly ever find time for ‘Swan energy.’ No wonder we are burned out and stressed. We only use one type of energy, which is adrenaline-based. It is exhausting if you use up all your energy and don’t balance it with the other types of energy you have on hand. It is especially true of women because we are wired to perform in caregiving, nurturing roles. You know, in caveman days, women were raised to stay at home looking after the children, not to go out and hunt.
‘Sloth energy’ is easy for many people, but I know there are some who can’t relax and do nothing all day. I tell my daughter that occasionally, on a Sunday, I am going to have a ‘sloth day.’ I hum this song the whole day, “Today I don’t feel like doing anything”. On those days, my older daughter takes the toddler out of her bedroom in the morning to have breakfast and watch a cartoon together. For lunch and dinner, either I order takeaway, or ask my husband to cook some fish. I schedule no meetings, and there’s no dropping off the kids anywhere, no laundry, cleaning, gardening. All of it can wait.
I know not everyone can afford it. But if you can, just for one day, stop using the ‘Tiger energy’ and hum the song, ‘Today I don’t feel like doing anything.” Even if you can take a leave day, it should be ‘Sloth leave’. It’s a great thing to balance the ‘Lion energy’ you use every other day.