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Have Low Emotional Energy? A Plan of Kindness Can Help You Recharge

Chronic Evolution Issue 13

Hello! 👋 

Welcome to Issue 13 of the weekly Chronic Evolution newsletter, where I share mindfulness tips, tricks, and anecdotes to help you evolve your mindset in 5 minutes or less.

Let’s get right into it.

Have Low Emotional Energy? A Plan of Kindness Can Help You Recharge

I learned Brené Brown’s secret to a successful marriage and have applied it every day for the last month. It’s made me kinder, more at peace with my day-to-day life, and more aware of how I choose to show up in the world.

But here’s the kicker.

I’m single.

How is it that a relationship rule has greatly impacted my life when I have no partner to apply it with?

Because I took the concept that Brené shared – which I’m about to share with you too – and applied it to the most important relationship of all: the one with myself. And I’d like to show you how to do the same.

There’s no such thing as 50/50

I first heard of this concept when Tim Ferriss invited Brené Brown onto his podcast. There, Brené shared how, in her opinion, marriage is never 50/50. It’s rare that two people are ever evenly matched in terms of the energy, investment, patience, and kindness that they have to give to one another in any given moment.

So, Brené and her husband check in every day. If she’s at a 20, and he’s in a position to pick up the other 80, then that’s wonderful.

But what happens when you’re both at 20?

Any time they have less than 100 combined, they devise a plan of kindness to ensure they can move through this low without tearing one another down.

This is a wonderful relationship lesson – but it’s also so much more.

Creating your plan of kindness

Here’s the four-step process I’ve set up from Brené’s teachings to help me apply this concept to every aspect of my life.

  1. Quantify your emotional availability  

Ask yourself: How much kindness, patience, compassion, and energy do I have to give myself right now? It should be a number between 1-100. You may wish to jot this number down in a journal or on a calendar every morning. Having a tangible metric can help you better understand and track your mental state over time.

  1. Create a plan of kindness 

Proactively create a plan of kindness so you know what to do when your score dips below 100. Brainstorm a list of different ways that you can be kinder to yourself at low times or ways to recharge and increase your emotional energy.

This isn’t about accomplishing tasks – it’s about taking care of your well-being. Your plan of kindness should focus on nourishing and rejuvenating activities that bring you joy and calm your nervous system. The Holistic Psychologist calls these restoring moments “Glimmers”.

Here’s a list of activities to get you started:

  • Reading your favourite book

  • Taking a screen break in nature

  • Doing a lunchtime meditation

  • Taking a nap

  • Petting your cat

  • Feeling the sunshine on your skin

  • Eating your favourite food

  • Relaxing in the sauna

  1. Meet yourself where you’re at 

If your emotional energy score is below 100, it's time to implement your plan of kindness. How heavily you enact the plan is based on your score – the lower the score, the greater the need to be compassionate toward yourself.

First, give yourself permission to take a break and recharge. Then, indulge in an activity that you love – not because it's on your to-do list, but for the pure joy of it. Or maybe you just want to take a nap and do nothing. That’s okay.

This rule goes beyond leisure activities to general housekeeping, too. Cooking dinner feels too overwhelming? Order takeout. Doing dishes feels too taxing? Just wash one fork. Can’t clean your entire house? Vacuum one room.

Do what you can and try not to judge yourself for not doing more.

  1. Iterate and evolve 

The final step never ends. It involves tapping into your mind and body to better understand what you need at any given moment. This process is a skill, and it’ll take practice. It’s okay not to know what you need at times. Try to remain open, experiment, and see what feels right for you.

Easy in theory. Harder in practice

Creating and enacting a plan of kindness for yourself isn’t a difficult concept to grasp – but you may be surprised by the things that trip you up as you start applying it.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Because we’re often conditioned from childhood to strive for success, it’s common to derive your self-worth from your level of productivity. It may feel counterintuitive or even wasteful to you to implement your plan of kindness and dedicate time to activities not linked to “progress”. The guilt or anxiety this brings up indicates that it’s even more imperative for you to take this time for yourself.

  • Hustle culture is prevalent in the Western world, and we’re just starting to see and accept the many benefits of its inverse: slow living. If you’re finding it hard to shake off pervasive “rise and grind” attitudes, that’s okay. This change will take time. Try to be kind to yourself without judgment for any emotions that come up.

  • You can apply this concept across multiple areas of your life. For example, lately, I’ve been giving a full 80 to my career, leaving just 20 for my physical health – and the cracks are starting to show. A sore back wakes me up at night. I feel stiff when I rise in the morning. Bloating. I could go on. My body is telling me it’s time for a change. It needs the 80, and after years of intense chronic pain, I’m aware enough to listen to the message.

Next steps

Apply this rule every day for the next 30 days, and watch how it helps you become kinder to yourself.

This is an art, not a science. Over time, as you tap into your emotions – maybe for the first time ever – you’ll get better at reading yourself and knowing what depletes your energy.

You’ll also build up a self-care toolbox filled with practices that help replenish your emotional energy. You can use this time and again to face life confidently and consistently, no matter what setbacks or challenges come your way.

“On the days you only have 40%, and you give 40%. You gave 100%.”

– Jim Kwik

To your chronic evolution,


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P.P.S. In the spirit of recharging emotional energy, I’m on holiday and will not release a new Issue of Chronic Evolution next Monday. I look forward to seeing you in your inbox again the following week, on July 9th.

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