Imagine this : a girl on fire. No not literally on fire, metaphorically. She’s setting goals and smashing them, she’s doing everything on her to do list with some time left to spare in her day! Mental energy one hundred percent! She’s just a girl and she’s on fire!!!! Did you sing that? I did!
But something changes. Girl on fire starts to be unable to get things done. To do lists get left halfway or not even done at all. Alarms for pre scheduled tasks get ignored. Sometimes she gives excuses, sometimes she just stares blankly at the screen. Girl on fire can’t find the mental energy to do anything at all. Girl on fire is burnt out!
Girl on fire is me. I am her. Her is me. I’m the girl who went from killing it to couching it. I wish I could say I’m out of it but I’m not. I’m still searching for ways to be completely free of the drain that keeps threatening but I’ve had to sit and check what was going on and what had gotten me to this dreadful place and how to not go back there.
I know I’m not alone in this. I know you get to feel like you just cannot can anymore and that’s a result of a drain in your mental energy. How do you get there though? Stick with me let’s figure this out!
Related : 11 signs you’re a grownup
When your mental energy is drained, it’s hard to get anything done, including moving your body. No fit Fam. No reaching out to foster connections. No attentiveness. No effort. No energy for effort. Do you see the danger? No energy for effort when every success is hinged on effort? This is a red light zone!!!
But let’s talk about how you get there. I read an article by Tim Denning about things that are not worth the cost and they were not mighty things as one would think, they were little things like a hateful comment or an invitation you instantly search for an excuse to get out of. Don’t we all have them! So what drains your mental energy?
1. High expectations and the inability to accept when they are not met. Truth is these expectations can be of yourself as much as of other people. You put people on a pedestal and when they fall off, you are devastated because you didn’t think they were like that’. What? Human?
People disappoint because we are human. We cannot be everything to everyone every time and when you accept that, a lot of the mental energy you spend agonizing over disappointments is saved.
I was disappointed in myself for not doing the things I had said I would do and that further drove me to not getting more things done. I didn’t read my emails for one day and the next day the thought of reading two days worth of emails was too stressful so I moved the app out of my sight and the next thing I knew, I had a weeks worth of unopened emails and I was drowning.
What I learned from that was how I had the problem of
2. Inability to let go of failures and move on. For a girl that was killing it, I couldn’t accept that I had fallen behind so pitifully. That further drained my mental energy. I would think of where I had been, and compare it to where I was now, Shake my head in self pity and go back to bed. I avoided my email like the plague. The tasks I did manage to do were so half-assed that I further sank into that funk I was in because what in the world of mediocrity is that? If I had just allowed myself recognize my failings and forgave myself these failings, I could have picked off at that point and figured out a way forward. Of course I would have had to avoid
3. Setting unrealistic goals. Dreaming big is a beautiful thing. Setting a to do list of ten things that require two hours each to do is mental energy suicide. Who do you think you are? Superwoman? Where does alone time go? Family time? Rest? Rejuvenation? And when the inevitable happens and you cannot get that list done, you head straight back to number two above and call yourself a failure. Setting unrealistic goals will have you constantly in a state of
4. Anxiety over things you have no control over. I recently tried to help someone who threw it back in my face. I obsessed over it for the longest time and looking back, I am ashamed of how much of my mental energy I spent on that situation. My recording equipment packed up and instead of trying to learn how to use the alternative, I preferred to focus on how terrible this thing was that had happened to me and how bad it made things. That was a poor decision, just like wasting time on that situation i mentioned was a poor decision too. What people do is not your concern. Spending precious mental energy dissecting their actions is tiring and unproductive and a complete waste of your time. Move on. You cannot control other people’s actions. Work on the things you can control instead of
5. Complaining!!! One morning I woke up and first thing I said was how my body was hurting. It immediately struck me that complaining was an issue I needed to fix immediately. Why will positivity find me when I was constantly emitting negative vibes? Complaining drains your mental energy like you won’t believe. Instead, be grateful for what you do have, and find positive ways to address the things you do not. But for the love of positivity stop complaining so much!
A bonus if I might add is not doing what makes you happy. Everyday we’re on the run. Trying to keep out minds, bodies, souls fit. We’re trying to be better, have better lives, live more comfortably. In the process, we often neglect to do the things that simply make us happy. Not productive, not money making, just happy. Remember to do something that makes you happy everyday. That little thing you deliberately do for yourself will remind your inner self that you love her too!
You should also read – 10 simple ideas for self care
Detach from work when you’re not working. Because my job is on my phone, I get to be plugged in the whole day. Imagine how draining that is!!! My assignment for myself if to unplug and not feel guilty about it. You should try it.
Finally, practice gratitude. When you focus on the things you’re grateful for, you won’t spend so much energy on the things that are not so great.
Overall, protect your mental energy fiercely!! It’s the source of everything you do!