Energy drains: What is draining you unexpectedly?
I've been chatting a lot about burnout lately....and for good reason. With a global pandemic still sniffing around, burnout is increasing fo' sho. If you missed my latest posts on burnout you can catch ways to beat burnout here. Or maybe you are wondering what some signs of burnout might be? Maybe asking yourself, do I have it? I talked about a few signs of burnout on the gram'. You can take a look at that post here.
What else might be leading to burnout? Things that are unexpectedly draining your energy. These sneaky little buggers may be something you aren't even conscious of.
So, what are some of these unexpected things that may be d r a i n i n g your energy? I'm talking about 5 below.
Read on, friend.
I think many of us can relate to this.
You look down to check your phone and suddenly 20 minutes, 5 cat videos and 4 instagram rabbit holes later you realize you are just swiping and scrolling.
Also, all of these social media apps are designed to do JUST that. (As an aside... if you haven't watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix.. absolutely worth your time. It talks all about this.) These apps want to keep you engaged and keep you on the app. Without even realizing it we've lost time in our day AND it likely hasn't add a whole lot of value to our lives.
I would encourage you to check in with yourself around the following:
- How much time am I spending on my phone everyday?
-What kind of things am I doing on my phone?
-Is it filling up my cup and making me feel joy? Is it draining me?
-What would I like to shift to bring me more energy as I think about engaging with my phone?
For me, setting stricter boundaries with my phone has definitely helped my energy levels and consequently my productivity. You may get so much energy from your phone and that is okay too. I would just recommend a check in, stay curious and see what you find.
Woo, big sigh. These may be a bit more difficult to swallow and... yes, these can take up a lot of energy. Think about if you have ever tried to not cry or if you've held in anger.. it often takes a lot more effort. That being said, expressing our emotions can require a lot more work and support than evaluating your boundaries with your phone.
In order to learn how to express your emotions or to ensure you have safety in expressing them, often times enlisting the support of a counselor or therapist can be very helpful. I recommend slowly walking into exploring if you may have unexpressed emotions and I STRONGLY recommend doing it with support from a licensed professional.
If you are looking for professional support you can always look on a therapist directory like: International Therapist Directory if you are living outside of the US. If you're living in the US I recommend: Good Therapy. If you live in the state of Colorado or abroad as an expat (example: Switzerland), you can always reach out to me to see if we would be a good fit to work together.
3.Experiencing draining emotions like: worry, stress, self-doubt, guilt, etc.
These emotions can leave us feeling rather exhausted. They take us out of the present moment and put us focused on the past or the future. They focus our attention often on things that are not within our control. They can be pervasive, relentless and always "on" in the background.
Similarly to unexpressed emotions, these can often be best explored with the support of a professional.
It is also important to start noticing how often are you in a state of worry or stress? When does it typically come up for you? What can help move you out of it? Just noticing can even help you be more in control and allows you the opportunity to focus on the things you can control. Which in turn, can help you from feeling so drained.
4.To do list items you've been avoiding
If you are anything like me there seems to be an infinite running to do list that feels impossible to tackle. The thing about this is it can be draining our energy-- without us even realizing. Having to keep track of all of these different things to do, without them ever getting done can feel a lot like being stuck in quicksand. You can't every make progress or stop sinking.
Examples of things in this category might be: Dentist appointments, filing taxes, home repairs, and so on.
Pro tip: Think about one thing that has been on a perma-to-do list for weeks and see if you can take one action in the next 24 hours to get closer to crossing it off. For example, if you need to make a dentist appointment schedule time on your calendar to make the appointment. Then set yourself up for success by finding the number to call the day before so when the time comes, you can easily execute.
5.Certain people, places or situations
This last one took me awhile to identify. I love people and they can still drain my energy as I am actually more introverted (energy comes from being alone) than extraverted (energy comes from being around other people).
A good place to start is to check in with yourself to see how you are feeling after being with a certain person, being at a certain place or being in a certain situation.
Do you feel calm? Do you feel exhausted? How often is this happening in these different places, situations or with various people?
Once you gather this data, you get to decide what to do with it. For example, if you are noticing that Friday night post work Zoom happy hours just drain you, maybe you decide to stop going, or go only once a month. It is your opportunity to set clearer boundaries based on what you need. (Essentially, putting on your oxygen mask first, before helping others.)
PS: People we love and care about can also be draining for us and this is not a negative thing. The key is to set boundaries for yourself in order to support your needs and clearly communicate those boundaries.
There is SO much to say on this topic and I will be back soon with a follow up post and some more support.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information written here is my opinion and doesn't take the place of therapeutic support. You know how I feel about going to therapy-- it's an invitation for everyone to explore. If you need help with where to start for support, reach out.