Do you notice when something – or someone – drains your energy? Are you aware of how your energy cycles throughout your day? Do you understand sudden fatigue as resistance to something you don’t want to do? Do you know how to protect your energy?
Let’s look at some of the things that can drain your energy:
1) Saying “no” when you want to say “yes” – or saying “yes” when you want to say no.
We’ve all been there, right? Whether out of politeness, embarrassment, people pleasing, duty, not wanting to disappoint, fear, or some other reason – we don’t speak our truth in the moment. When we aren’t true to our own desires, it can suck our energy right out of us! Rather than rushing an answer, allow yourself to take a moment, tune in, and see what you truly want. Then you are able to choose what is most beneficial for your life and energy – and say what you need to say. Importantly, if you fail to give yourself the necessary time/space in the first place, don’t be afraid to go back and speak up and change your mind. It’s your life and your energy – you get to choose to take care of yourself!
2) Certain people/conversations that don’t vibe with you.
Do you ever get off the phone with someone and feel completely drained? Or notice yourself feeling fatigued every time you’re with a certain person or group? Pay attention! Your body has important information for you! Listen for the message there – and then choose to set healthy boundaries. That may mean avoiding some topics of conversation … or it may mean avoiding certain people altogether. For myself, I notice my energy flag when I’m in large groups of people. So, I take extra care of myself if I’m in that sort of situation – and avoid large crowds when I can.
3) Certain foods that make you feel sluggish (not always a bad thing).
Sometimes it feels good to feel satisfied and a little sleepy after a meal … but not right before an important meeting where you need to think clearly! Or not when you have a busy day ahead and you need your energy! It’s helpful to pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain foods – and since everyone is unique, nobody but you can give you accurate feedback. Just notice – and make adjustments accordingly. Save some foods for when you can just relax and enjoy.
4) Expectations that feel uncomfortable for you.
Ugh! Sometimes other people’s expectations of us can make us want to build a blanket fort and hide – amirite? “Should” is one of the most damaging words in the English language. This is where healthy boundaries are essential. You can choose not to let other people’s expectations suck the life out of you. You have the right to live your own life on your own terms – you know, as long as you aren’t harming anyone else. It is arguable that not allowing other people space to be themselves is harmful. Create that safe space for yourself too.
Ah, stress. It’s everywhere, right? Stress is a huge energy drain. It’s worth looking at ways to reduce stress in your life – and ways to handle/cope with the stress that is inevitable. I find it helpful to ask if the things that are stressing me out are actually important to me – or if I’m just falling into thought patterns that have been socialized into me. With some frequency, the reality is that I don’t really care about whatever it was that I was getting so worked up about. Another helpful thing I do is focus on the present moment – usually my stress isn’t here in this moment. (Thank you, Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer for this insight!) Some people benefit from meditation. Some people benefit from long walks. Find what works for you and do it!
How much of our energy do we burn up worrying about things that are out of our control? I’ve been a world-class worrier in my life. I was afraid that if I didn’t worry, if I wasn’t thinking of every possible contingency, then tragedy could strike. The problem is that it is impossible to think of every possible contingency – and that life is going to happen how it happens anyway, no matter how much we try to control it. I learned this when I fell while walking (not normally considered a risky behavior) and broke both arms at the same time! I could not have seen that coming or prevented it! We need to learn to let go of our worry – it is not protecting us! On the contrary, it is draining our life force as well as our joy and pleasure in life.
7) Feeling pressure to …
Nobody I’ve ever met likes feeling pressured about anything – not even fun stuff. In fact, feeling pressured takes the fun out of pretty much everything. It’s important that we choose to do things out of our own desire and pleasure rather than feeling compelled to do them in order to make someone else happy or to meet an obligation. In fact, sometimes feeling pressure to do something makes us feel resistant to doing something we’d otherwise actually enjoy and want to do! If you’re feeling pressure, maybe just take a look at how you’re feeling under there – and honor whatever it is you are feeling. That will most likely involve some communication – it’s worth the effort!
8) Hurry. Feeling like you have to hurry/rush.
So many of us rush through our days, from one thing to the next with barely time to catch our breath. I learned a long time ago to not over-schedule myself. I can’t do it! I know my energy limits – and honestly, I’d rather err on the side of being over-protective of my energy than trying to do too much and feeling overwhelmed. I know when I’m over-committed because I get irresistible urges to nap. It just knocks me right out. It’s okay to say “no” to people and opportunities – even fun! – to take care of your well-being.
Our bodies run on fuel. When we fail to feed them adequately, our energy gets depleted. This isn’t rocket science. Most people can’t think clearly, can’t function as well, and don’t feel energetic when we are hungry. I’ve known a few people who’ve gotten all excited with how energetic they felt if they skipped a meal. Meh. I don’t think that’s true for most people. Hunger makes me tired, cranky, irritable, and unable to function. I know I’m not alone in that.
10) Holding yourself back from what you want – that is exhausting.
How much energy do you expend not allowing yourself to say or do what you would like to say or do? How much energy does it take to keep your social mask in place? To be polite when you’d like to scream? To keep control of yourself and hold back when you’d like to dance in the street or ask for a hug or ask for help? We spend so much time and effort managing our emotions and protecting our egos from the embarrassment of being human and the shame of needing things. That uses up so much of our energy. What if we were to choose to live authentically? To stop caring so damn much what other people think? Let your body move! Let your voice be heard! Ask for what you need or want. Let yourself be human!
Now, let’s look at some things that can protect and even boost your energy:
Smile – all the way to your eyes. Did you feel that? Did it shift your energy? They say that a smile changes your mood. That’s even more true of laughter. There’s a reason that “laughter is the best medicine” is an adage that’s been passed down through generations. Reader’s Digest is not the only one who’s noticed! Laughter gets the happiness hormones circulating – and that gives us energy. Have you ever done a laughing meditation? You don’t even have to have anything funny to laugh at – you just start the physical motion of laughing and keep it going. Soon, real laughter takes over – and it’s very energizing! Try it! Share it! It’s really fun when done in a group!
2) Doing what you want to do, saying what you want to say.
There is so much power, freedom, and energy in living authentically. When you aren’t carefully editing every single word you say, your energy doesn’t get blocked. You just flow. Can you imagine a quiet mind? Like, not having conversations in your mind in preparation of how you’ll handle some conversation/issue or how you wish you would have? If you just speak your truth in the moment, you don’t have to worry about it. When you allow your life force to guide you and you don’t block it, the amount of energy that frees up can be amazing. Have you ever spent hours doing something you love – and you didn’t even realize how much time had passed and you never got the least bit tired? Maybe spend more time like that!
3) Food that fuels you.
Food is nourishment. Food is also pleasure – which is often tied to fun and connection. Food fuels us in multiple ways – not just nutrition. Food gives us energy, not just through calories and nutrients, but through pleasure. Yes, it’s ideal to get your fruits and veggies and proteins – to have a balanced diet. I believe it’s also ideal to enjoy your food, whether you are alone or are enjoying meals together with loved ones, friends, or community. Pleasure gives us energy.
4) Enough rest.
It is helpful to know how much sleep you personally need – and honor that. Some people need more sleep than others. That’s okay and nothing to be ashamed about. There are no actual rewards for sleeping less, even though some people act like there should be. Ignore them. Sleep is healing and restorative. Naps are heaven. Take what you need to feel your best. Yes, sleeping too much can drain your energy, but that’s not the issue for most people. Find your sweet spot and listen to your body’s cues.
5) Emotional, physical, mental, spiritual support and connection. Love.
You know the feeling when you’re excited to see someone? Or when you’re excited to go somewhere? For me, that excitement usually stems from feeling like I’m going to be feeling emotional, physical, mental, and/or spiritual connection – and it gives me energy. I’m excited to spend time with people that I love – or to meet new people with whom I may form connections. Interesting conversations feed my mind. Hugs and physical affection or shared activities (like walking, dancing, biking, swimming) feed my body. Laughter and a sense of belonging feed my emotions. Deep, authentic conversations feed my spirit. Being loved makes my energy feel expansive. What feeds your energy body? In what ways do your connections and activities make you feel more alive?
6) Self-care – baths, massages, Reiki, journaling – whatever makes you feel most
relaxed and alive.
So what do you do to recharge your batteries? In what ways do you nurture and care for yourself? I know I feel better when I do Reiki self-treatments and yoga regularly. Hopping on my bike is a guaranteed mood-booster. Playing music and dancing is essential to my well-being. I love a good massage (that’s one of the things I’m really missing during the pandemic!). Writing in my journal is my major coping tool. And water – whether it’s a bath or a hot shower, a pool or a lake – water heals me, relaxes me, allows me to recharge.
Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude! When I am consciously grateful for people and things in my life, my energy lifts. Focusing on who/what we are grateful for in our lives reduces stress. The more gratitude we feel, the less stress we feel – it puts us in a different emotional bandwidth. I’m not saying that it makes all of our problems/challenges disappear – but it may make the load lighter. When we put our focus on gratitude, our energy expands. Try it!
8) Hope, inspiration, purpose.
There is nothing like a sense of purpose to lift our energy! When we are inspired and hopeful, that’s like rocket fuel for our energy levels. What gives you inspiration and hope? What do you deeply care about? What would you like to create in the world – or enjoy in the world? If money were no object and there were no obstacles, what would you do? Let yourself try on that feeling – and watch how your energy rises. They say that if you can dream it, you can achieve it. In what ways can you move toward your dreams and desires? Sometimes offering others hope and inspiration can fill us up in ways we couldn’t have imagined. What can you offer your loved ones, your friends, your community?
9) Enjoyable exercise, preferably out in nature … because sunshine and trees and a nice breeze ….
Getting our hearts pumping can help us gain energy. A lot of the time, people think that exercising takes up too much time and energy. Not true! Most people feel better and are more productive after exercising, getting more accomplished in less time. I make it simple for myself by only exercising in ways that I enjoy. I wouldn’t choose to do anything I found boring or unpleasant – not even for a “good” cause. So, in what ways do you enjoy moving? Do you like being out in nature – or do you prefer being inside? I love to ride my bike outside, feeling the wind and sun on my body, breathing the fresh air. It gives me a happiness quotient that I find helpful for my energy body. I believe that part of the benefits of exercise derive from the pleasure of moving our bodies and being physically present in our bodies – so make sure to do something you enjoy!
10) Fun, play, doing things you truly enjoy.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to be silly? Do you remember fun? Play? Adults can get so caught up in survival mode, busy working and being serious – that we forget how to simply relax and have fun (or use over-indulgence in alcohol as a poor substitute). What did you enjoy playing as a child? Do you like board games? Video games? Drawing or painting? I remember we used to play practical jokes on each other with some frequency. Just the thought makes me feel giddy. LOL What makes you feel alive? Do you like to play catch? Four square? Golf? Tennis? Basketball? It’s worth making time to play! Don’t take yourself too seriously or that ruins the fun! Pre-pandemic, I loved to go out dancing and singing karaoke. The key is to be willing to be silly and just have fun! Maybe there’s something you’d like to learn to do. What are you waiting for? If you enjoy it, it’s giving you energy! Go for it!
Please feel free to share in the comments below the things that you’ve noticed drain your energy – and/or the things that lift your energy. If you would like some coaching on how to live more authentically and boost/protect your energy, feel free to hit “Home” at the bottom of the page and contact me!