When we are feeling over tired it masks our ability to access our inherent capabilities and resourcefulness. The idea of tackling the tasks before us can feel like we are trying to push elephants through the eyes of needles.
Just that thought, in itself, makes tasks feel even more unappealing and exhausting, before we have even begun.
The reasons for feeling drained are plenty and typically multi-factorial.
Having worked for several large corporates within IT, the ways of working all too often left me feeling drained and depleted.
It meant I had zero appetite for socializing or doing much else, other than just getting through the day, living for evenings and weekends, so I could crash and try to recharge, somehow.
Living for the evenings or weekends as a strategy was just not cutting it. I may have rested a little bit, but was I revved up and raring to go come Monday? Most definitely not.
Learning about my energy levels
Determined something had to change and tired of feeling tired, I began to research some options to improve my situation.
Before jumping in and trying out the plethora of remedies available online, resisting the urge for quick fixes, I decided to do a bit of an audit of my day and my week.
I needed to better understand where I was starting from and what just wasn’t working for me.
This entailed looking at:
– How much water I drank daily
– What I ate and when
– My sleep patterns
– How I structured my day
– What I did, when I did it and with who
Taking the time to really look at these aspects of my life helped me notice what made my energy go up and what made it go down, but also how fast or how slowly.
Switching up my energy
Noticing these cues as to what was going on with my energy was invaluable to deciding what to do next. I tested out various approaches. I must state, not all at once. Trying one or two for a few weeks gave me enough insight to know what specifically was helping me and to what extent.
Some things I discovered:
I am a big coffee lover, but it was hard to deny that with hourly water intake, my mind was much sharper.
When thinking about what drains my energy or what can boost it, this perhaps was one of the less immediately obvious learnings. Mindset is a huge topic – something that most of us struggle with in one way or another.
However, beginning to notice my blind spots and realizing my thoughts really do have power 🙂 was an empowering revelation. Noticing the thoughts that drain me and those that power me up, really changed things. Noticing the thoughts and realizing I can choose
I have always eaten breakfast but combining food types to avoid sugar spikes especially as I started my day, fueled me for longer, aiding my concentration.
Often, I’d run on empty, eating when I remembered, at erratic times. After trying a few things, I now know that eating every 4 hours is optimal for me. If I miss this time window my energy levels dip. I notice my productivity slips – it’s my cue to refuel.
I tend to work best with 8-9 hours. For many this is a lot of zzz’s. Knowing this and realizing that going to sleep and waking at the same time is a powerful combo and worth staying on track with to reap the energy benefits it provides.
Tackling tasks that require a bit more focus plays to my energy levels in the morning, which for me I noticed are naturally higher. This helps me manage the energy I have upon waking work for me, across the day.
For the longest time, I massively overlooked and undervalued these. Often our thinking about a pending task gets in the way of giving this space to ourselves.
What I do in the “break” time matters too. Filling the break with a different task, typically is unhelpful. A break means a break. It’s time for a rest, time to give ourselves an energy top up, not use it for another energy draining activity different to the one we took a break from in the first place. This was a habit, I’ve now kicked.
I discovered this makes a massive difference, by shifting my mind’s energy. I find the daylight, change of air, feet on the ground and surroundings to be really grounding. It takes me out of a buzzy, busy head into a space of calm and ease. For me this is precious fuel.
An abundance of evidence exists to tell us how good activity is for us.
We may not feel like doing it, but afterwards I’ve never regretted it, because I’m too busy feeling good, feeling energized and alive. Who ever said, “I regret going on that walk, going to that class, going for a run?”.
It was some time before I realized the extent to which the people around me affect my energy levels. As a topic, how we engage and interact with others is huge. One aspect I spoke about in a recent post, is taking time to learn about your boundaries, practice communicating them and importantly upholding them when others test them. I find this to be a great energy preserver.
That’s not to say that chatting with friends, being silly and having a laugh with others isn’t also a great energy booster, but understanding what can be an obvious drain can really help us feel better.
In an information rich and what increasingly feels like a time poor world, we are surrounded daily by a raft of distractions and notifications, which serve to fragment our already stretched focus and contribute to attention fatigue.
A few years ago, I decided to step off the social media merry go round. This was truly liberating and stemmed the energy leak that social media can create (if we let it). This detachment was a useful learning experience that allowed space for me to try a different way of being and use my energy more wisely.
Today my approach is to create boundaries around when and for how long I engage online, but also most useful is setting a time to close the laptop for the day and putting the phone away to allow myself the chance to just be. Creating this kind of space from tech has been especially effective in managing energy drain. I notice a digital detox to be very boosting.
What I’ve learned
- The number of approaches available to preserve, boost and manage my energy are huge. There’s no need for me to put up with feeling depleted.
- The demands of life are ever changing. By continuing to audit my day and my energy I am better able to notice the cues that signal the need for adjustment and take action.
- Having discovered things that support my energy, I am able to draw upon these regularly and when needed most. I guess you could say they have become my energy toolkit.
- The benefits of making even the simplest of changes and applying them consistently really changed my daily experience from being one of less floundering to more flourishing.
- Knowing #4 has transformed my overall outlook on life and sense of empowerment to design a life that upholds my mental well being and overall contentment.
What do you need most, right now, to feel energized and regain your spark?
There are many reasons not listed or covered in this article as to why we might be feeling drained at the end of the day.
If this is something you are experiencing and struggling with, you may find the audit approach I have used a useful place to start uncovering, what isn’t working for you. This will give you clarity on what might need to change for you.
Please contact me here or Linkedin
If you’d like some support with this, I offer a free breakthrough call to help you better understand how to stem the energy leaks and fuel your life for more optimal living.