Just as my car needs petrol in order to run, we all need to be appropriately fuelled in order to lead healthy, happy and productive lives. One of my clients arrived at a session telling me she felt like she was running on empty, that she’d just run out of steam and that she felt that she was no good to anyone. We spent her session talking about how what that meant for her and what she could do about it.
Signs you’re low on emotional fuel
My client – let’s call her Chloe – talked about how this lack of emotional energy was manifesting itself in her. She talked about a reduced ability to handle stress, having a really short temper, feeling physically fatigued, plus finding it difficult to emotionally engage with others.
‘And I just can’t seem to justify finding some time for myself,’ Chloe said. ‘So many people are depending on me and it’s not their fault I’m feeling depleted.’
Sometimes, looking after yourself can feel a bit selfish but just as we’re told in plane safety briefings to secure our own oxygen masks before helping others to do so, we need to make sure that we’re in the best possible condition in order to be able to help others effectively.
How to refuel
Chloe and I looked at what factors contributed to her feeling full of energy and on top of her game. These included:
- A night out with the girls
- Making sure she structured her day so she could leave the office within half an hour of the end of her working day
- A rowdy game of football in the garden with the whole family
- Packing a healthy lunch to take into the office with her so she avoided relying on sugary treats
- Tackling things she’d been putting off: the satisfaction of getting them done outweighed the dread of doing them
Being realistic, Chloe couldn’t immediately integrate all of these into her schedule so she phased them in over a few weeks. The next time I saw her, I could see straight away that she was feeling more energised. She talked about the realisation that she needed to notice earlier when she was ‘running low on fuel’ so she now has a little print out of a graphic of fuel pump on her noticeboard at work and on her freezer door at home to act as a reminder to check her emotional resources.
Chloe’s top tips won’t necessarily work for you. If you’re an introvert, you’ll restock your emotional reserves from a completely different source to an extrovert. If you’re a musician, playing music is more likely to do it for you than playing badminton.
Today’s pebble for you to consider: what activities help you refuel emotionally and how will you incorporate them into your daily routine?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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