A change in your energy levels
Going through treatment can drastically change your energy levels. In a few months, I transformed from a young woman bursting with energy to a sluggish old person. Super annoying.
When you can’t do what you’re used to
One day I visited a graffiti festival I had been looking forward to a lot. I’d planned to stay the whole day with my friends, look at the beautiful pieces, watch the artists as they work, have dinner there.
Being on-site for about 15 minutes, sudden tiredness hit me. Within 30 minutes my head started spinning, hot flushes giving me a warning sign every few moments. After an hour, I had to leave. The ticking of the cans, music coming from the colossal speakers, children running around and screaming. The colors, the heat, the people. It was overwhelming and my body was clear about it:
“Nope, can’t do”.
I had to go home.
When your favorite hobbies demand too much of your physical and mental capacity, it’s tempting to feel incredibly sorry for yourself. On my way home, that warm Sunday in September, I nearly cried. It felt so unfair that I couldn’t do this anymore!
List of activities
However, I decided to not get myself down and instead, I made a loooong list of activities. Low-energy activities and things to do by myself when my friends & family were all working or I wanted to be alone. Here are seven of the suggestions on that list:
Make a photo album
Design it online or offline. For yourself or as a gift to a friend. Childhood pictures, the highlights of your most recent holiday. Just the photos or combined with short stories and decorations. Whatever you choose, the result will be a tangible book filled with memories.
Build with LEGO
The possibilities with LEGO are endless: follow the instructions or come up with your own creation. Happy, colorful Disney sets or dark themed builds – the choice is yours. I personally love the minifigs and how you can change the whole story with one different facial expression. Try it!
Find a couple of magazines with quality paper and lots of images. Take three pieces of cardboard. The first is going to represent the past, the second where you are now and the third will hold your vision for the future. Choose the photos and colors intuitively. If you feel like it, you can add words or drawings of your own. You’ll be surprised by the results. Trust me, you don’t have to ‘be creative’ for this!
In the category ‘writing’ alone I could think of 100 options. You can come up with a true story or an alternative ending to an existing one, a fairytale, your biography, a poem, a haiku, a song, a rap, a memoir. Learn calligraphy and write down your favorite inspirational quote. Use a fountain pen, a feather quill, a typewriter. Share the outcome with me?
Play a videogame
Raise your hand if you still play The Sims!
No? Well, I do. And since there is no such thing as ‘playing the Sims for one hour’ it is the perfect option for boring days. You know you’ve been in your virtual world for too long when you start to see green, orange and red arrows above people’s heads in real life.
I also loooove Zelda. When I was in treatment and too tired to fight monsters, I would simply explore the world, search for temples and prepare potions and meals. If you don’t know what I’m talking about: do yourself a favor and buy The Legend Of Zelda – Breath Of The Wild.
Read or listen to a book
Visit your local book store or library (yes, people still use that) and ask advice. Pick something you wouldn’t usually read. A different genre, a foreign language. Get one of your childhood’s favorites. Once a year I borrow a bunch of books written by Roald Dahl and Ole Lund Kirkegaard and devour them. Reading calms the mind, sparks your creativity, expands your vocabulary.
Don’t like reading? Listening to books is a great option too! For my Dutch readers: check out @shaarleestvoor on Instagram.
Watch a documentary or TED talk
Although Casa de Papel is in no way a waste of time (you never know when that knowledge of how to rob a bank like a boss comes in handy), binge-watching can make you feel drained and even slower. That’s why I often opt for a documentary instead. Nature, music, the human body, and mind – whatever sounds interesting to you. TED talks are relatively short and cover pretty much any topic you’d like to learn more about.
What is your favorite activity when your energy levels are low?