“If only I had the energy I would…” Maybe you recognize this thought. The only time you regain your energy is when you have a vacation and get a chance to reload. When you are living a busy life and everything gets to be too much, it is hard to see the way out. You become more and more tired and you have no idea of how to re-establish an energy and engagement level that will enable you to get back behind the steering wheel. The more tired you become, the less focused you are. Perhaps you know the feeling of living for your vacations instead of insisting on an everyday life that energizes you?
What if you could start reloading while in the daily race? You can, and it starts with attention to your energy level in any situation.
Ask yourself, is this relationship, task or situation adding to or lowering my energy level?
Most people are not paying attention to how their energy level is affected by situations in their daily live but realizing this will create an awareness that will make it possible to conserve your energy. The problem for most of us is that we have become very good at ignoring the signals that come up when something is draining us.
The challenge is that you are actually not able to engage in any relationship, task or situation that drains you over a longer period of time, regardless of public opinion or that of your employer, board or spouse. If you do, initially this will make your life strenuous, and eventually you will get stressed or feel burnt out.
So what do you do when you have people in your life that are draining you?
Life is full of compromises and it will not do you any good to leave a relationship every time it is draining for you. However, if you can feel yourself start tapping your energy reserves in a relationship or situation that you don’t want to or cannot leave, you’ll want to protect your energy and if possible limit the interactions and/or your level of engagement. Simply do not use your energy on it until you feel you have energy available for it.
There can be certain circumstances that will make you choose to stick with a task or stay in a situation or relationship even though your energy level is too low to actually do that. This can be doable for a while but in the long run you can’t continue to use energy you don’t have, even though you would like to be able to. Eventually it comes down to a choice between your success and well being, and the success and/or well being of the task, situation or relationship in question. Which is more important?
I encourage you to ask yourself: based on my current energy level, do I want to use my time and energy on this relationship?
Unfortunately we tend to believe that if it seems reasonable and fair to stay with a task, situation or relationship we should do so regardless of our remaining level of energy. You often have a choice to adjust your level of engagement and/or exposure even though it seems like you don’t. Challenge yourself on this!
Remember that if you are running out of energy then you actually don’t have a choice to stay in it, because if you do you will inevitably experience stress and/or burn out.
In short here is what to do:
- Think through your main relationships, situations and tasks in your life and consider which are energizing and which are draining. If needed
- Then… Going forward ask yourself every morning: for each activity and situation I will encounter today, is it draining me of or giving me energy?
- If it is draining, ask yourself: can I limit my engagement and/or exposure even if I still have to participate?
- If it is energizing, ask: how can I give more attention to this task, situation and/or relationship?
Good luck with finding your way back to your innate energy level!