By Linda K. Laffey, MFT
Have you recently felt exhausted, drained, or tired, even after a good night’s rest?
Barring a medical issue, there’s probably a valid reason why you seem so zest-less. Most people blame their fatigue on work, family responsibilities, or domestic duties. But the culprit is often hiding among hundreds of minuscule decisions that you make every day.
With that said, when you feel depleted or as if something has stolen your pep, take a closer look at your daily habits. Purposefully observe your thoughts, feelings, and behavior for a day (or a few days).
For example, what’s going on in your mind when you interact with your co-workers? What do you do to pass the time on your commute home? What sort of conversations are you having with your friends or colleagues?
Here’s why seemingly insignificant parts of your day could be zapping you of valuable energy, and how to change the pattern.
Schedule Digital Check-Ins
As you may have read before, scrolling through your social media feed or checking your email every 10 minutes can suck the life right out of you.
The constant barrage of digital stimulation can seem harmless, even entertaining. Yet, both habits are mentally and emotionally taxing.
To stay connected while still preserving your energy, schedule digital check-ins, and set limits.
For example, allot yourself 20 minutes at 10:00 A.M. and again at 2:00 P.M. to check social media and email. Otherwise, both platforms can wait.
Let Go of the Past
A commonly overlooked energy suck is unforgiveness. To be more specific, resentment and anger are exhausting in many ways.
If you’re like most people, then you have a few mistakes in your past. Perhaps, it’s yourself that you haven’t forgiven. Or, maybe it’s someone else.
Nevertheless, holding onto these negative emotions is like dragging a heavy brick around in your mind. Letting go of the past will free up mental energy that you can use in a better way.
Take Things in Stride
It’s easy to take things personally. Whether it’s the way your boss talked to you about a work project or how the cashier frowned when you opted for her lane, it can rub you the wrong way.
Taking things personally, however, can rob you of valuable energy. Also, keep in mind that most people aren’t truly thinking about you most of the time. They’re preoccupied with their own unique set of circumstances.
So, try not to believe that every interaction a person has with you indicates how they feel about you. It’s draining to think this way, and often highly inaccurate as well.
Focus on What You Can Control
Unsurprisingly, worrying often tops the list as one of the most emotionally draining behaviors.
To worry is to run a full marathon in your mind…on a treadmill. Worst of all, worrying takes up a lot of your time without getting you anywhere.
To put a stop to this hamster wheel approach to problem-solving, try to focus on your part of the situation. Ask yourself if you can control it. If you can control a certain part, strictly focus on that one portion.
If it’s out of your control, though, let it pass through your mind.
Despite “water cooler talk” appearing entertaining, it can drain your energy quicker than the water from the water cooler itself.
Gossiping and participating in drama often go hand in hand. And they’re both common habits that unnecessarily burden you.
To battle the temptation, make a vow to yourself to talk less. If you bite your tongue when you’d normally gossip, you’ll notice a big difference in perspective as well as your energy level.
Take the first step…
If you are struggling with excess tension or anxiety, I would like to help you learn to decrease stress and to develop healthy ways to relax. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT