Ending the energy drain

Sep 26, 2020

You may have heard the saying attributed to Anne Lamott, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” It’s true, and in our frenetic society, we should unplug more often. It’s also helpful to question what is draining our batteries in the first place.

Have you noticed having less energy in your life after loss? This can be a blessing in disguise, as it prompts us to become more aware of what drains our batteries and then aggressively protect the energy we have.

I was never more aware of what drains my batteries than when I lost my husband unexpectedly. For me it was noise, certain situations and to be honest, certain people. I was in survival mode and as such, I eliminated or significantly reduced my exposure to everything that drained me. I said no to invitations often, rarely went to restaurants or other noisy locations, and eventually created a quieter, smaller world that felt more comfortable.

As time went on, I realized that there were two additional, significant drains I needed to address.

Judgement required mental energy that I simply did not have. Self-judgment is part of being human and many don’t realize how prevalent these thoughts are. It’s even more tempting to judge your own grief process. “I should be further along by now,” or “Why can’t I get through the day without crying?” Every time I noticed myself doing that, I could feel the small amount of energy I had draining away. How often do you have thoughts of self-judgement, and what is this costing you? What if your thoughts about yourself were consistent with how you speak to your best friend?

Perhaps an even bigger drain is fear. Fear disguises itself in other emotions and it can be easy not to notice its presence in our lives. Realizing that fear had taken up significant space in my life was an epiphany. Grasping how much it drained my energy was a significant mile-marker on my energy-preservation journey.

What drains your energy? People, situations, events, clutter, noise, traffic? The list of possibilities is endless. Some of it we can’t control, but some we can. The first step in controlling what is within our control is recognizing it, then eliminating or reducing our exposure to it. That means saying no, ending commitments and breaking away from people pleasing so you can be more attentive to your own needs.

Spending time charging our batteries is equally important. What does that for you? Do you recharge enough that it balances out those energy drains that are not within your control?

If your batteries are chronically drained, it’s time to unplug and figure out why. It’s time to pay more careful attention to yourself and your needs and become a fierce editor of what you allow in your life. Do it now so that you have the energy for what matters most to you. If ever there was a time to take extra care of yourself, it’s now.

Teresa Amaral Beshwate, MPH, The Sudden Widow Coach, helps widows who have experienced the sudden loss of their spouse or significant other learn to live and love their life again. Her coaching program is exclusively for widowed people and offers the perfect mix of private and group coaching along with the most life changing tools for the uniquely challenging widowed journey. 

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