Energy, like money, has a flow; it comes in, and it goes out. There should be a nice balance so you are neither bouncing off the walls nor ensconced in bed for days. When the flow is off, however, and your energy coming in is less than what’s going out, that’s a deficit, and fatigue is the outcome.
TEMPORARY TIREDNESS VS. CONSTANT FATIGUE
Sometimes, it’s temporary. Maybe you stayed out too late over the weekend having fun with friends or at your kid’s game. Perhaps you’re going through something stressful and intense, like starting a new job, moving, ending a relationship or grieving the loss of a loved one. You find you’re not taking care of yourself, eating the right foods or getting enough sleep, and for a short time, you feel run down and tired. You may even become sick. We know that if we shut down for a while and tend to our needs with a little self-love, we will bounce back.
But what happens when you can’t bounce back, and the fatigue is not temporary? What happens when your energy flow feels like it’s all just pouring out into a massive pit and leaving you so depleted that you can’t get through your day without a nap, multiple cups of coffee or loads of sugar? Those of us in “giving” positions, including moms, teachers, nurses and caregivers, tend to experience this reverse flow of energy more often than others, but no one is immune.
WHAT’S DRAINING YOU?
If you’re finding yourself constantly fatigued, practice noticing. Pay attention to when you feel your lowest and your best. Noticing how your body, mind and heart feel before, during or after situations is an important part of determining where your energy is going. How do you feel after attending an event? How do you feel immediately and even hours after you eat something, don’t eat something, forget to drink water, sit for hours or say yes when you want to say no? Does just the thought of talking to a particular person trigger anxiety? These are potential energy drains that need further examination.
Many of our clues lie in observation. For the next week, practice noticing, maybe even jotting down notes, writing in a journal or sharing with a trusted friend. You might be surprised at what you discover. To find out where your energy may be going, take the free energy quiz at TheHopeBuilder.com.