The wisdom of using energy efficiently applies to both human health and planetary sustainability. Nature is always looking for the best ways to use just the right amount of energy. Efficiency has a high value in the natural world, and energy is the currency. Without this efficiency, waste accumulates, pollution goes unmanaged, and planetary resources become depleted. Similarly, our bodies work optimally when they use energy efficiently; the body processes energy to nourish itself, eliminate toxins, and sustain a state of equilibrium. When we use too much energy, our bodies get overtaxed; we see this in the rise of stress, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other preventable conditions. We can help both our health and the environment when we use and replenish energy wisely to allow for a balanced system.
A better energy balance can be achieved by choosing clean, local, and regenerative foods and products. It may seem more expensive to buy organic, sustainable products, but in reality, we pay more later to detox from the accumulated stressors that come from the use of standard products. It takes more energy to eliminate a toxin than it takes to care for ourselves with organic products from the beginning. The more energy we waste, the more we hinder the healing process: “even if your system is equipped to detoxify a toxin, it takes energy to boot offending molecules out of your liver, repair your DNA, launch antioxidant artillery, or shed the poisoned cells” (Janine Benyus, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature, 1997, p.149). In a nutshell, it is better to use our energy efficiently in the pursuit of living well than to expend our energy regenerating.
Overtaxing our planetary system relies on the same principles. The less we draw unnecessarily from our natural resources, the less energy we will need to spend later on healing its wounds caused by climate change, accidents, and loss to biodiversity among our natural resources. Energy exists as the potential to create, to evolve, and to grow – and used wisely, it can best serve our bodies and the world around us.
- Make a self-care checklist. Invest in yourself. Hire a nutritionist, schedule a massage, buy a yoga package—whatever nourishes you—and commit time in your schedule to make it a reality. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so spending just a little time and money regenerating your energy today can save you time and resources healing yourself tomorrow.
- Keep an energy journal. Pay attention to how your energy dips and rises throughout the day. Notice which foods, activities, relationships, and environments give you nourishing energy, and which leave you depleted. Create boundaries to conserve, enhance, and sustain your energy throughout the day. Follow the good energy, and eliminate the wasteful interactions. Work smarter, not harder!
- Use only what you need. Turn out lights when you leave a room, turn off running water and fix leaks, buy only what you need, and of course, recycle. If you live close to work, include exercise by walking part of the way and use public transportation.