If you find yourself feeling drained more often than not, you may have developed some habits that drain your energy. Identifying these exhausting habits and stopping them will help you to get your mojo back.
Perfectionism is one of the habits that drain your energy, and numerous studies have found perfectionism to be one of the high-risk factors leading to emotional exhaustion. Sure, things can be close to perfect, but there’s often room for improvement, however small.
If you’re wondering whether or not you are a perfectionist, the common signs of perfectionism include:
- Having unrealistic expectations
- Being only focused on results
- Being overly self-critical and critical of others
- Having an unhealthy fear of failure
- Low self-esteem
- If you want to avoid draining your energy then it might be time to let done be better than perfect.
2. Beating Yourself Up
Speaking of perfectionism, if you’re a perfectionist then it’s likely you engage in another bad habit that drains your energy, beating yourself up.
Beating yourself up and blaming yourself doesn’t change matters or improve the situation but it’s another habit that drains your energy. When you beat yourself up, you engage in ongoing negative thought patterns over and over. This can drain your energy fast.
Rather than beating yourself up and engaging in this internal battle with yourself, learn to let go, accept what’s happened, and be compassionate with yourself. Forgive yourself for having made the mistake and remember that everyone makes them, what’s important is that you learn something.
3. Holding onto Grudges and Not Letting Go
Not letting go of the past leads to pain. This is true if you’re not letting go and holding something against yourself, and also if you’re not letting go of the past and holding a grudge against someone else.
By constantly replaying the situation and experience through your mind you will keep triggering and re-experiencing the negative emotions that go with it, which will drain your energy on an emotional level.
While letting go of the past is hard, it’s about freeing yourself and regaining control so that you no longer feel or are controlled by the past and can move on with your life.
4. Getting Over Emotional
As a woman, the words getting over emotional conjure up images of stuffy rude men, telling women how to feel. The word “hysterical” comes to mind.
But in the context of your energy, it turns out that getting constantly over-emotional might be one f those bad habits that drain your energy as well.
It’s understandable why we wouldn’t want to feel intense negative emotions, like anger, anxiety, or fear. If we have to have negative emotions we want them to be as mild as possible. Like boredom, a little sadness, and perhaps tiredness.
But many of us want to feel extreme positive emotions. We want to feel super excited, elated, over the moon even! And research shows that westerners, especially Americans thrive on, and value, high-intensity positive emotions.
We want to feel extreme highs, in contrast to East Asian cultures who strive for low-intensity positive emotions like peacefulness, contentedness, calm, and serenity.
But high-intensity emotions are mentally taxing. Brain-imaging research has shown that when we’re feeling intense emotions, the amygdala is activated—the same region of the brain that lights up when we’re feeling a fight-or-flight response.
We need to use effort and emotion-regulation strategies from a different part of our brain, located in the prefrontal cortex, to calm ourselves enough to get our work done since it’s hard to focus when you’re physiologically aroused and overstimulated and this emotional regulation requires additional effort, ultimately causing a drain on your energy.
And this is true for both intensely negative and intensely positive emotions.
So if you want to save your energy, it’s time to become more zen and perhaps even stoic.
5. Constant Worrying
Constant worry or rumination is another bad habit that drains your energy.
One study found that work-related rumination appeared more detrimental to an individual’s ability to recover from work than problem-solving pondering, leading to a likelihood of fatigue.
Constant worrying can also lead to emotional exhaustion and this in turn can cause physical exhaustion.
If you find yourself worrying constantly, then it’s time to tackle your problems head-on.
Depending on the cause of your worries, your troubles may take time to resolve. There’s unlikely to be an overnight solution, otherwise, you probably would have done it already.
Some of the common triggers for emotional exhaustion include having a high-stress job or working in a job you hate, financial stress or poverty, living with a chronic illness, and having to study intensely.
But this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do. Even putting a plan in place to resolve or improve the situation, and taking the first step can make you feel significantly better. In addition to this, eating healthily, getting regular exercise and mindfulness practice can all help with emotional fatigue and will help you take back your energy.
[Related: How To Stop Ruminating And Worrying About Work]
Whether you’re rehashing the past — replaying the same scenario over and over in your head, or worrying, these are all forms of overthinking.
Whatever form it takes, overthinking can drain your energy, according to Psychotherapist, Jenny Maenpaa, who was an overthinker herself until she became a psychotherapist.
If you struggle with overthinking, there are exercises you can do to alleviate the problem. These include:
- Positive reframing
- Writing down your thoughts once and then distracting yourself for 24 hours
- Being much more specific when practicing gratitude
7. Spending Time With Energy Vampires
Some people in life will drain your energy, and spending too much time with these “energy vampires” is a bad habit you have to stop.
Energy vampires come in many forms, they include:
- Overly negative people
- Overly critical people
- Overly Judgemental people
- People who always take but never give anything back
- People who always talk but never listen
- Codependent people
- Those who never take responsibility
- Those who never hold themselves accountable
- The martyrs
Anyone who leaves you feeling exhausted and drained after spending time with them is an energy vampire and you should avoid them as much as possible.
8. Too Much Time on Social Media
Humans are social animals and there are plenty of benefits to using social media. However, with social media at our fingertips and most of us scrolling through social media on multiple platforms 24/7, the negative impact of social media on our mental health has been well documented.
Heavy social media usage is associated with depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation, and this can be worse for the heaviest users.
A Canadian study found that students who use social media for more than 2 hours daily were more likely to report having poor mental health than those who used social media occasionally.
Since poor mental health, including depression and anxiety is often associated with stress, and lack of sleep, it’s no wonder that social media overuse is another bad habit that drains energy.
What’s more, many of us spend time on our phones scrolling through social media just before bed. This affects your sleep since cell phone and screen use have been directly linked to disruptions of your circadian rhythm or natural sleep-wake cycle.
Ditching your phone in favor of a book is the best choice if you want to keep your energy up.
In addition, Researchers at the University of Bath (UK), studied the mental health effects of a week-long social media break and found that participants reported improved moods and reduced anxiety.
A regular social media detox is therefore worth implementing.
9. People Pleasing
You can’t please everyone. But if you’re a people pleaser, then you’re sure as hell going to try!
But people pleasing is another one of those habits that drain your energy.
To people please, you have to be on high alert, constantly thinking of what everyone wants, so you can make everyone happy.
Ultimately, this isn’t possible, so you end up running yourself into the ground emotionally and mentally, but also physically.
10. Faking It
When it comes to bad habits that drain your energy, faking it has to be on the list.
Spending time trying to be someone else is exhausting, a massive energy drain. It causes anxiety and stress, and eventually, something’s gotta give.
Rather than spending all your energy trying to be who you think you should be according to social media, your partner, or someone else, focus your energy on being the best version of yourself that you can be according to you.
Habits That Drain Your Energy Physically Mentally
11. Unhealthy Diet
Your body is your home. It houses your mind, and your soul so it’s pretty important to take care of it. But even though we all know that we should be eating healthily, it’s easy to fall into bad habits and an unhealthy diet is one of the many bad habits that drain your energy.
Food is fuel but while some food will keep you energized for a long time, other foods will drain your energy.
Foods that drain your energy include:
Simple carbs: These give you a quick burst of energy. They release sugar into your bloodstream fast but when your blood sugar levels drop back down, you feel tired and sluggish. Think white bread, pasta, and candy.
Sugary Drinks: Like simple carbs, sugary drinks are high in sugar ( no surprises here) but many of them also contain caffeine so they give you that caffeine hit.
Drinking sugary drinks late at night can mess with your sleep and cause you to feel tired in the morning.
Alcohol: Alcohol is another food that drains your energy. So, if your pairing that mixer with alcohol, then prepare to feel tired in the morning.
While drinking alcohol in the evening can make you feel drowsy and induces sleep, you’ll soon wake up when your liver enzymes break down the alcohol and it wears off, sometime in the middle of the night, giving you broken and disturbed sleep.
While it’s perfectly fine to indulge from time to time, you’re better of opting for energy-boosting foods if you want to have peak performance.
12. Not Moving Enough
We all know that exercise is good for us. It makes your cardiovascular system more efficient and increases the flow of oxygen around your body and to your brain. Regular exercise releases endorphins, strengthens and tones your muscles, and makes your body more efficient at delivering nutrients to your tissues and organs.
All this means it increases your energy levels.
Not getting enough exercise will leave you feeling lethargic and is yet another bad habit that drains your energy.
A University of Georgia study found that otherwise healthy sedentary adults reported an increase in energy levels after working out 3 times a week for as little as 20 minutes for 6 weeks.
13. Getting Too Much Sleep
Sleep is important and getting enough sleep is critical. But good sleep is about quality.
If you find you’re sleeping a lot but still feeling drained of energy, then you might be getting too much poor-quality sleep.
According to Joh Hopkins Medicine, some of the factors that can lead to poor sleep quality include
- Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes brief pauses in breathing during sleep
- Restless legs syndrome is a brain disorder that causes an unpleasant and sometimes overwhelming urge to move your legs when you’re at rest
- Bruxism, in which you grind or clench your teeth during sleep
- Chronic pain
If you’re sleeping but still feeling tired, it’s important to get to the root cause of these issues.
[Related: How To Get Less Sleep And Not Feel Tired ]
14. Not drinking enough water
According to an article in WebMD, Dehydration makes you tired. That’s because a lack of fluid in your system causes a reduction in blood volume.
This makes your blood thicker, requiring your heart to pump less efficiently, and reducing the speed at which oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs.
The result? You feel drained of energy and tired.
Being even slightly dehydrated—as little as 2% of normal fluid loss will take its toll on your energy levels.
The solution? Drink more water.
From this list, it’s clear to see that there are plenty of habits that can drain your energy if you let them. Make sure you protect your energy by following the tips outlined here. Eat, healthfully and drink plenty of water. Spend time with people who support you and positively add to your life. Avoid those energy vampires and do what it takes to protect yourself mentally and emotionally.
If you do find yourself feeling depleted, don’t be afraid to slow down, or even stop. Including self-care as part of your weekly routine will also protect you from potential burnout.
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