“I might just kill him.”
The him in danger was my friend’s husband. “I don’t know how to describe it. He’s not acting any differently, but everything he does gets on my nerves. I feel extra edgy and sensitive these days.” she confessed.
After running through a list of reasons to spare his life (he often smells good, the baby seems to like him…) I began to realize that my friend was exhausted. Not new mother sleep-deprived exhausted, although there was plenty of that. She had exhausted her energy.
Each of us has a pool of energy that gets us through the day. On the most basic level we need nutrients, water, and sleep. However, you can’t stop at biology; our emotional energy also plays a tremendous part. Don’t think so? How do you feel after spending 3 hours doing something that you absolutely enjoy compared to something that you hate? When your emotional energy is drained, it is much harder to maintain your composure, push through long work nights and short deadlines, and bravely face each new challenge.
This where my friend found herself – short on energy and patience. She needed to replenish. The requirement for replenishment is different for every person. For my friend, long before there was a husband or a baby, there were books. Long, lazy, luxurious afternoons lounging on the couch completely submerged in the plot of a trashy paperback. No need for literary masterpieces; her battery can be fully recharged when she is lost in the pages of a tawdry romance or spine-chilling thriller. She hadn’t had enough lazy book time lately, and it was starting to cause real wear and tear on her work and life.
Running on Empty
How do you know that it is time to replenish? Trust me, you already recognize the feeling. It is a bit different in each of us. My friend has a tendency to be cranky and annoyed, harboring a secret desire to slap everyone who says something stupid. Luckily for the citizens of Chicago, that’s not how it shows up for me. I tend to feel a bit sluggish and mentally blocked, like my brain could use an oil change. You may be more moody or risk averse, less friendly or generous, or any other spectrum of characteristics, but the bottom line is that you are not fully yourself.
Even when we notice that something is off, many people feel selfish taking the time to replenish. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Time spent replenishing is as important to your performance as anything else that you can do. It’s hard to win a grant with a low-energy presentation or impress your manager when you feel like something the cat dragged in. More importantly, it can be very hard to keep a peaceful home when everybody is on edge.
I’ve Got Mine, Get Yours
When I need to replenish I find water, waves or fountains to be exact. The picture at the top of this post is one of my favorite places along Lake Michigan. I sit under a tree, listening to the baby waves crash against the rocks and watching the sun glitter like diamonds. It is my meditation and my rejuvenation. My replenishment calms my mind but yours may very well rev you up. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, only that it fills your energy reserves.
Here’s your homework: find your replenishment. Maybe you are like me and need nature (water and grass are fairly common). Perhaps you are like one of my clients that craves physical activity. You may prefer the arts, either as an appreciator or creator. No need to make it a daily habit, just find a way to get more of the good stuff into your life periodically. You’ll be happier, perform better, and might just save a life.
So let’s hear it family. Click on the comment box below and tell us what replenishes you.