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This is part of a series looking at microskills – changes that employees can make to help improve their health and life at work and at home, and employers can make to improve the workplace. The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Registration for 2017 has now closed. Winners will be announced in Spring 2017. Sign up to receive an e-mail about registration for 2018 at

How effectively are you managing your daily energy reserves?

Each day, most of us are challenged by life stressors from work and home that draw upon our energy reserves. Stressors can come in many forms, such as failure, disappointments, change, and disagreements, and vary in size from small, medium to major. How resilient a person is will define how effectively they deal with life stressors regardless of the type and degree.

Resiliency is the ability to stay in control, push through perceived setbacks and see a solution. The higher these reserves, the more likely you will be able to deal with comes your way and be able to protect your mental and physical health.

Resilient reserve levels can be thought of like a cell phone battery, which has a defined charge life. If the battery has just 10 minutes' life and you want to do a 30-minute call, you know you need to recharge it. Resiliency levels are similar: when low, you risk losing hope and the will to keep trying; when high you're better able to handle challenges.

Life is wonderful but often has some hard times thrown into the mix. This microskill focuses on daily energy reserves that define how much resiliency you have to push forward at any moment.


Building and maintaining energy reserves starts with awareness of what builds and draws your energy. Resiliency levels are dependent on how well you are coping, which refers to how effectively you can overcome, deal with, or minimize stress and conflict. It impacts how you think and shape your daily activities. The fuel that recharges resiliency levels comes from mental and physical health, work and life (family, social supports, physical fitness, financial health, among others).


You own your mental and physical health and are responsible for your happiness and fulfillment. What many are not clear of is how their daily micro decisions and behaviours shape who they become and define how much resiliency they have to draw upon when needed.

Resiliency is not static; it's dynamic, like a battery. Individuals who take care of their physical health (exercise, diet, rest), mental health (develop coping skills), work (get along with peers, current role is a good job fit) and life (maintain good financial health, relationships) are able to recharge their energy reserves.

Most of us have a block of time that we are locked into for work and family commitments. Look at a typical week and establish where your biggest energy drains and energy charges come from.

At the end of a typical day what colour are your resiliency reserves: red (low), yellow (half) or green (full)?


If you believe your resiliency reserves are most often in the red or yellow zones, then you will benefit from focusing on actions you can take daily to build your resiliency levels. The wrong time to prepare for a life crisis is when you're in it.

Identify potential gaps or weak links by considering which of the following areas are more energy drains than charges:

· Physical health – impacts how well your body moves and feels, and risk for chronic disease;

· Mental health – impacts feelings, thinking and the behaviours you engage in;

· Work health – impacts the degree of benefit, above monetary reward, you get from work;

· Life health – impacts how connected you feel with family, friends and perceived financial health;

In the area where you have identified the biggest energy drain, determine if you can quickly pick one thing that can add energy to your system. It can be as simple as not skipping lunch and eating so you feel better each afternoon.

Being mindful each day of what you're doing and not doing in each of the four areas can help you decide what to act on. Don't overwhelm yourself but each day pick one positive action you can take to add energy to your system (such as calling a friend to connect while you're on the train commuting).

This discipline can help reinforce the value of paying attention to your daily energy reserves and making the point that we get fuel from many sources that have a positive impact on our psychology and belief systems.

By tracking your resiliency level daily you will determine whether you're adding to your resiliency energy levels to stay in the green zone or drawing from them and heading toward the red zone.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto. He is also the president of Howatt HR Consulting and founder of TalOp, in Kentville, N.S.

This series supports The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell's Employee Recommended Workplace Award.

This award recognizes employers who have the healthiest, most engaged and most productive employees. It promotes a two-way accountability model where an employer can support employees to have a positive workplace experience.

You can find all the stories in this series at this link:

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