Do you know what is the most popular response to the question: How was your weekend?
The answer is: it was too short!
I’m not surprised. Our weekdays are packed with work, cooking dinners, driving kids to soccer practice or flute lessons, household chores we would rather avoid, and catching up on whatever is left from the previous day.
So, when the weekend comes, we want to recharge our batteries. Unfortunately, this gracious plan usually stays in the planning stage because Sunday evening arrives way too fast.
And we start dreaming about the weekend again.
Feeling tired, stressed, and overwhelmed from time to time is normal. And frankly, to be expected. But if you feel exhausted all the time you need to identify your energy drains. Read on to find out the 5 most common things that drain your energy and what to do to stop it.
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What are Energy Drains?
Before we jump into identifying where are the leaks in your energy pipeline, you need to take a step back and consider that energy drains are habits. I’m sorry if this is upsetting or if you were looking for some secret as to why you don’t feel energetic.
Everything you do and think is a habit. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, burnout, unhealthy, unmotivated, tired, sad, and lethargic are all results of your habits. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and looking after your mind are also habits.
When you realize that every moment in your life is the effect of a healthy or unhealthy habit you can look for what unhealthy habits drain your energy. And here are the most common energy drains.
Energy Drain #1 Sleep
Although scientists are still baffled about the true meaning behind sleep and are still trying to see how we can sustain with less sleep, the verdict is out. You need between seven to nine hours of sleep for optimal health.
Sleep is when your body and mind regrow, re-heal, and regenerate. It’s a time when your mind can process all the information acquired during the day, select what is important, and should be stored as either short or long-time memory.
It is when your muscles and bones can heal the trauma experienced during the day. Your hormones can rebalance, and your organs can rest. It’s also time when your stress hormones go down, and your body and mind come to homeostasis.
There is no better health remedy than sleep. Because lack of sleep, or constant cutting down on sleep, will leave you feeling exhausted, brain fogged, hard to focus, and unable to perform at your optimal levels.
What’s more, a prolonged lack of sleep can be dangerous for your health. You will not only feel tired all the time but even the slightest activity will seem like a chore. But the lack of mental sharpness can have serious consequences in your life and those around you.
If you wake up feeling tired, and to boost your energy you need a cup (or two) of coffee, you need to improve the duration and quality of sleep. Have a look at your sleeping environment and create an evening routine to help you get the most out of your bedtime.
Energy Drain #2 Food
You may argue with me on this one, but what you eat can drain your energy faster than you think. Yes, food is one of those paradoxical things that can be either a boost or a drain depending on what you eat.
Following a healthy and balanced diet, full of minerals and vitamins, is the best energy booster there is. After all, your body gets energy from food.
Both complex carbohydrates and healthy fats are sources of energy. Your body needs complex carbohydrates to produce fast reserves of energy that you can use as soon as you need them. And healthy fats give you long-lasting energy, so you can sustain your levels and keep going when it looks like your tank is empty.
However, certain foods can do you more harm than good. Foods high in empty calories, added sugars, and starch are at the top of the list. Both sugar and starch are quickly absorbed by your bloodstream and can spike insulin production.
It will give you initial energy, but those simple carbohydrates wear off very fast leaving you depleted.
They also don’t have any nutritional value, so they can’t give you the energy you need to face the stressors of the day.
What you drink can also impact your energy levels. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is one of the easiest energy boosters. I know you have a question about alcohol too.
Although alcohol is known to have relaxation properties, it disturbs sleep cycles. So, keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum and avoid drinking before sleep. Because if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you won’t feel energetic the next day.
Energy Drain #3 Focus
Do you know the saying time is money? I would say that in today’s world focus is money. The latest research shows that we can sustain focus for 15 to 20 minutes. This is if we focus on one task at a time.
As much as it hurts me to say it, multitasking is one of the biggest mental energy drains. Our brain uses a lot of energy to concentrate, so to be productive we need to dedicate all our attention to one task.
However, if you are anything like me, you probably have twenty tabs open, five spreadsheets, a messaging system so you can respond fast, and you keep checking your phone. I get it. We want to be everywhere at once.
Unfortunately, the more tabs we have open, the more things we need to focus on at a given time, the more energy our brain uses. And if you add stress and lack of rest to the mix, you have no energy left.
So, how often do you multitask? Do you find it hard to stay focused on one task? Do you feel mentally exhausted at the end of the day?
Remember when we talked that energy is a habit? Well, multitasking and sustaining focus are habits too. You are most likely trying to fit more into your day than possible, so an old fashion to-do list and prioritizing exercise can help you not only boost your energy but manage your time better.
Energy Drain #4 Mental Thoughts
Have you ever been obsessed about something that happened or something someone said? Have you ever rehearsed the events in your head over and over even though you couldn’t change them? Or maybe you were worried about your health or your loved ones?
Your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions can send you on a rollercoaster of energy. They can give you high so you feel invincible and capable of accomplishing anything. Or they can stop you in your tracks and drain every ounce of energy you have.
Naturally, your mental energy is low when you face challenges or go through tough times. It is part of being human to care about the people you love and what happens to them.
It is normal to feel sad or down from time to time.
But when you let the dark side overtake your thoughts and emotions, you will find yourself unmotivated, stuck, and yes, drained. It would be very hard to be inspired, creative, and take action.
So, do you have a leak in your mental and emotional state? Are your thoughts empowering you or is fear stopping you from living your life to the fullest?
If you find yourself drained by the thoughts or emotions you create, you need to look at your belief system. What you believe to be true about yourself, others, and the world, in general, may need updating.
Energy Drain #5 People
Have you ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer or one of the Twilight series? Well, you may not be a fan of vampires but I’m sure you’ve heard about people being emotional vampires.
Are there people around you who are full of energy, motivation, and inspiration? Are you surrounded by forward thinkers and like-minded people? Do you feel like your energy vibrates whenever you are around them?
Or do your energy levels drop every time you are near certain people? Do you feel like your mood plummets, and you are literally drained of energy?
If you experience the latter, then you are near energy vampires. This can be hard to admit, especially if some of those people are your close friends or family members. It is not like they are bad people.
But their mental and emotional habits don’t serve them, and they don’t serve you.
They may not wish you bad or even do despicable things. But complaining, gossiping, and talking about others behind their back are all energy drains.
You probably know what I’m about to say. To feel energetic you need to eliminate all your energy drains. This may be harder to do especially if the emotional vampire is your significant other or your best friend from kindergarten.
If this is the case, you need to have an honest conversation with them and let them know that from now you don’t want to engage in negative gossiping or complaining. You choose to protect your energy and want to focus on things that boost your energy.
How to Stop Energy Drains
As you have just discovered, energy drains, as well as energy boosters, are habits. Those are habits around your mindset, eating, exercising, sleep, or the relationships you have. An obvious solution to stopping your energy escape is to do the opposite of what you are doing now.
Your current unhealthy habits brought you to the point of exhaustion, stress, and hustle, so looking for ways to build healthy habits will stop the leak. This of course sounds obvious, but when you look around, we rarely do things that are common sense.
How many times have you heard about the amazing benefits of sleep, yet you cut back on it every night? Or how often have you heard that a morning routine is the way to bust your motivation, productivity, and focus? Yet, every morning when the alarm rings you hit the snooze button.
The answer is always the same. Common sense is not as common as we would like to think.
You need to make the best efforts to build healthy habits to not only stop the energy drain but also boost it. Additionally, I want you to build boundaries.
Building boundaries requires confidence and courage, and the ability to say no, even if you are afraid, you will upset someone. It is in each and every moment when you want to push yourself harder, but you well know you need to rest.
Creating healthy and sustainable boundaries around your time, relationships, meaning, importance, and self-care is the best way to stop the energy drains. It is also how you preserve the energy you have.
Manage Your Energy Drains
We live in such dynamic and fast-moving words that feeling tired from time to time is bound to happen. But if you find yourself feeling exhausted all the time, you need to look for a leak in your energy reservoir.
Your energy levels are regulated by your habits. So, how healthy are your habits around sleep, eating, mental focus, thoughts, and emotions? Are you surrounded by emotional vampires?
Energy is a currency needed for a healthy and fulfilling life so how are you going to protect it today?
Join my newsletter to get the latest action steps on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet, de-stress, manage your time better, prioritize yourself, and anything in between so that you INCREASE your energy, SAVE time and INVEST well in your wellness!