Sometimes you need to shift your life from 5th gear to 1st.

I like to think of managing my energy like driving a car. Assuming a car has five gears, you will need to navigate gears 1-5 based on the conditions in front of you and the speed you need to get there.

As you warm up, shifting from park to 1st gear is what’s necessary. As you gain momentum, going from 2nd to 3rd is what’s called for. While you’re waiting at a traffic light, hanging out in neutral will be the appropriate gear. And when things open up and it’s time to go, you’ll be in 5th.

No vehicle stays in any one of these gears. And each gear has an appropriate role for the moment.

Similarly, you have different gears in your life, and one is not better than the other, they’re just different gears to be used in different contexts.

Sometimes we’re waking up and hanging out in 1st. Other times we’re moving steadily along in 5th. Sometimes we need to back track in reverse, and in the evenings we need to park.

Our struggles don’t reside in any one of the gears; our struggles reside in not being able to shift to the appropriate gears in each moment.

A combination of mindfulness and movement practices helps us better manage the energy of our nervous systems and more flexibly navigate the gears of our life on demand. And a helpful way to initiate these shifts is to consciously tell yourself throughout the day, “Now I’m in X gear.” This will let the brain get on board with what’s called for without spending extra energy to fight it.

What gear do you spend most of your time in?