Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? If you, like me, live with chronic illness and disability, the answer is probably “yes!” (If you, like me, live in Minnesota, your answer might be “you betcha!”)

Sometimes the “chronic” part of the journey drags us down. It’s July, and I’m getting many email auto-replies telling me people are on vacation. I wish (wistfully or angrily, depending on my mood) that I could get a vacation from the pain and fatigue that follow me. But, as Buckaroo Banzai would say, wherever you go, there you are. My journey includes this body, with all its aches and challenges. Best to move with it, rather than against it.

We can transform our experiences without rejecting what is. We can make different choices in a spirit of gentleness and compassion. Rather than thinking (as I used to do), “I’ve been doing it all wrong! Here’s what the perfect people do…” I can think, “I wonder what would happen if I tried…”

12 ways to experiment with increasing your energy:


  1. Get enough sleep. According to healthfinder gov, most adults need 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep on a regular basis. Those of us with a significant health concerns may need more.
  2. Eat nutritious food. All foods give us energy, but complex carbohydrates provide energy without the swoop and crash of refined sugars. Choosing the right foods can help you build stamina.
  3. Move your body. Regular physical activity increases blood flow and oxygen to your body, providing you with more energy. It also reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, improves mental health, and has a host of other benefits. Even if you are too ill to move yourself, caregivers can help you with gentle stretching.


  • Meditate. In the silence, focusing on your breathing, you befriend your life. Susan Piver is my teacher and can show you how.
  • Write in a journal. Sort out your thoughts and feelings, stretch your creative muscles, and play.
  • Collect inspirational thoughts. Learn from others on the journey.
  • Learn something new. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do or someplace you wanted to go? Explore!
  • Listen to music you love. Music hath charms. It helps you connect with your emotions and have fun. If you dance to it or sing along, it doubles as exercise.


  • Practice gratitude. Noticing the good within and around you brings enthusiasm.
  • Practice joy. Have fun and play.
  • Spend time with people you love. Notice what people increase your energy and hang around them.
  • Spend time in nature. Learn from other beings. Soak in the beauty. Be awestruck.

After reading this list, take a minute to give yourself credit for the ways that you are already doing things that preserve and increase your energy. Yay, you! Then, choose the ONE item on the list that seems like it would be the most fun or valuable to you. Mark it on your calendar. If you invite a friend to join you, that will make it easier to do the deed. You can send me email telling me what you’re doing when if you want a virtual accountability buddy.

May you live with joy and energy.