Have you had moments where you feel mentally exhausted, empty, or devoid of motivation? What about no longer caring for things that used to matter to you or everything getting under your skin? Perhaps you have experienced physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, upset stomach, or difficulty sleeping.
Did you know these are signs of emotional burnout? When we are experiencing burnout it is important to take stock of our life circumstances and examine how we are using our time. It might be time to find a new job, hire some house help, sign up for meal kit service, or take a vacation.
However, it isn’t always possible, or even necessary, to change our circumstances in order to prevent burnout. Did you know you can change the way you burn your emotional fuel simply by changing what’s happening in your mind?
You can learn to manage your emotional energy
We often get stuck in patterns of thought and behavior that drain us. We might engage in relationships with loved ones and co-workers in ways that drain our energy. We might be adhering to a set of expectations that someone else set for us that doesn’t match our own inherent value system.
Despite our desire to not care what others think or allow the thoughts of others to weigh us down, this partly comes from our primal need for connection. Because of this we worked to maintain a connection with our caregivers from birth. If our caregivers were dealing with their own mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, addiction – or even low self-worth or a need for control – it’s likely that we had to adapt to maintain a connection with them. This might have meant neglecting essential parts of ourselves. We did this to reduce conflict or receive affection rather than experience the freedom and play of childhood. We might have developed unrealistic expectations based on what they needed or what we thought they needed or wanted us to be. While these strategies helped us at one point in time, they may be limiting and draining you now.
Last month I wrote about finding your authentic self. If you haven’t taken the time, I encourage you to read the post and see what you discover. As you become more intimate with your true nature, or your core essence, it will become more clear what is serving you and what isn’t.
Where is your energy going?
When our energy goes to places that are not in alignment with our own individual core essence, it drains us. However, we can reclaim this misdirected energy as we become more aware. As we become more aware of our patterns of thinking, expectations, and beliefs about who we should be, we have the opportunity to explore whether these accurately fit our own authentic value system. Can you identify thoughts, expectations, or beliefs that are hooking into your energy? Can you imagine what it would be like if you release these “hooks” or distractions?
For me, a belief that one should always be working, and not playing, has been a hook throughout my life. I grew up in a home where work was the leading value. Yard work, odd jobs to make money, housework. Work was always the right thing to be doing. This led me to work about 25 hours a week in college while taking 18 credits. Learning wasn’t fun and my grades did not reflect my capability. However, I thought I was doing the right thing. Yet I was fairly depressed throughout most of college. I did not do things that brought me joy. Fortunately, I married someone who values play. I’ve learned (not without resistance) how much joy can be found in doing things just for fun. My husband has taught me to put my time and money into play, which for us has been biking and skiing, among other things. I’ve learned to love the experience of being in my body and temporarily letting go of responsibility. It’s a beautiful thing and it keeps my life in balance. I’ve learned to feel joy in a way that I never knew was possible.
Other “hooks” can include worrying about what others think, worrying about our appearance, feeling like we always need to be happy, or believing we need to make a lot of money. A common hook that I hear is that “my opinion doesn’t matter” or “my personality is too strong or too weak.”
By releasing these hooks we can learn to anchor ourselves in the here and now and align ourselves more fully and freely with our inner joy, intuition, and core essence. With practice we can learn to restore our energy and presence, enabling us to experience our sacred essential self even in the midst of unpleasant circumstances.
We can help you get back on track!
I encourage you to take a look at your life to examine where energy is going that isn’t serving you. Is this related to expectations that don’t align with your value system? If you’d like support, we are here to help. You can schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation or send a message on our contact page today to learn more. We look forward to connecting with you!