As we approach the third COVID wave, many of us are already fatigued, exhausted, burnout and depleted. To continue navigating this long ‘COVID middle’, finding ways to generate and replenish your energy is critical. Only one person can take care of your human energy battery, and that’s you.
Rest may resolve this situation. There is nothing like a good night’s sleep on a regular basis to restore your energy levels. This is easier said than done, (especially when you have babies and young children. You now realise why sleep deprivation has been used as a successful form of torture). You can get to a crying-tired stage and feel like you are on your emotional knees. I remember. I know. This can also happen when your older children are going through tough times that you can’t fix.
But there is a different form of exhaustion known as depletion that no amount of rest will restore. Have you experienced this? I borrow a fantastic analogy from David Lapin, international executive coach: “Consider an empty glass of water – you can rest it for as long as you like, but rest won’t replenish its contents.” He says that your body and mind are just containers. Your emotions, intellect and spirit are its contents. ‘You can only give emotional, intellectual and spiritual output when your container is overflowing with content. This means you always need more input than output in order to remain an energised and energising person.”
If you are finding that rest doesn’t help, then you may be in the depletion zone. You need to take conscious action to fix it sooner rather than later. If you don’t you may become a drain, relying on others to fill your cup. This is, of course, impossible for someone else to do as much as they might try. It creates a domino effect and they will become depleted from supporting you.
So how do you restore yourself if you are in the emotional depletion zone as many of my clients who are business leaders, employees, parents and educators currently are:
- Remember that there is a difference between relaxation and restoration
- Relaxation is a passive state of not doing like sleeping, reading a book, having someone else cook for you, letting someone else fetch and carry your children
- Restoration is actually an active experience of choosing to do activities that fill your cup and generate emotional, intellectual and spiritual energy
- Prayer, meditation and contemplation on a regular basis are good places to start as they require stopping output and allowing input
- Being attentive while walking in nature – even if it is just around your garden or in the streets of your suburb – notice colour, texture, wind and more
- Read poetry or self-help books to inspire you
- Spending quality time with special friends and loved ones just to connect with no specific goal or outcome other than being together.
- Listen to music that lifts your spirits and speaks to your soul (movie scores do this for me, think Gladiator, The Greatest Showman, Last of the Mohicans, etc)
- Journaling – I repeatedly advise people to do The Morning Pages activity from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. By writing a couple of pages of your inner thoughts by hand every morning, you clear out your cache of negativity and exhausting thoughts making way for new and inspiring ones. You get out of your own way, so to speak, and change from a negative marinade to a positive one.
Please be more aware of the difference between fatigue and depletion, and start exploring the proactive restorative steps to recharge your battery.