Find your stress.
And fix the leak.
Now that we have an idea on how to be in tune with yourself and your environment, it's time to effectively battle stress.
Getting to know yourself and becoming aware of your environment are great weapons to prevent stress, but you might find yourself running in a circle at this point. You want to reconnect with yourself and you want to get rid of stress, but you're too stressed and anxious to sit down, relax and reconnect. If you're stuck in this circle, it's time to look for leaks.
In psychology, when you describe that you feel fatiqued, this sometimes translates to having your energy leaked. These leaks are caused by things that bother you, even if you may not realise it. We all know it can feel exhausting to deal with unpleasant situations. When you feel like you're dealing with something that you cannot control, it drains you. Everything you do costs energy, and the lower your energy is, the harder it can be to recharge yourself completely.
This is why I stick to the rule that you should finish to your work for the day with the feeling you could one more thing, to make sure you recharge properly for the next day. If you drain yourself completely, you might not be as productive the next day.
Now imagine if you plan your energy use and recharging time perfectly, but there are unplanned events and factors that use up your energy, and you end up depleted before you're supposed to be. Things that leak your energy, are stressful because they take your energy.
Everything you do summons an amount of stress, but usually to healthy levels, levels that drive and motivate you. But constantly dealing with leaks, adds to that stress in a way that is not productive.
How to find them.
Leaks can be tough to identify, because we're so used to them. Anything can be a leak but it is important to find the ones that bother you.
Sometimes it is something that clearly upsets you. If you have regular fights with a partner of friend, that is a clear leak of your energy.
Sometimes, it is something that should be obvious, but you maintain it anyway. If you have a job that you hate, but you keep going to work because you need the paycheck, then it is a kind of leak that could drain you into a burnout. This, because it is so forceful and constant.
Sometimes, it can be something like an annoying family member keeping you on the phone for half an hour, talking about things you don't want to talk about. It is annoying, it eats away your time, and if you don't get along with them or they're only calling to tell you off, it will drain your energy. If you have enough of these little annoyance, you get stressed out.
Makes sense, right? And sometimes, the leaks are a lot and really small. With those their severity depends on how sensitive you are to them. Some people leak energy because they experience an overload on information from the media or their surroundings.
How to plug them.
There are two things you might have noticed about how I describe leaks.
One is that the severity of a leak depends on how sensetive you are to it. Most people have a strong enough filter that minor leaks don't bother them, but others don't. If going out, talking to a lot of people or dealing with noise makes you feel tired, managing this should be part of your selfcare.
Another thing you might have noticed, is that a lot of these leaks are a matter of boundaries. It can be difficult to tell someone you don't want to talk to them every day, or to stop doing something that drains you because your circumstances won't let you.
It ties in what I told you about the effects of your environment, you can't imagine how many people I've spoken to that tell me there is "no way out" of their bad job. The deadly circle that your bad environment cripples you to a point, that you can't get out of the environment.
Stay close, we will talk about this specific problem in a future post. For now, recognising it as a leak, and understanding what it does to you, is a big step. It will prompt you to think about it, work around it, and give yourself the care that you need to deal with it. Sometimes a leak is a one time thing, but if it's a recurring event, try writing it down. Think about the roots of the leak, how it makes you feel, define why it stresses you out. Depending on the nature of it, you'll have to set some boundaries.
Saying no to something for your mental health doesn't make you selfish.
In simple steps: identify, reflect, resolve. Once you've eliminated the annoyances and stress leaks that add no value to your life, you'll slowly find that you have more energy for everything else.
This is a part of your maintenance manual. We will go deeper into this in the next article. Until then, make sure to rest plenty, don't deplete your battery and don't waste your energy on useless matters. Love, Terri.