Feeling stressed out all the time is really draining. Along with high stress can come low energy, low motivation and lots of anxiety. It’s so hard to get through the day when you feel like you’re dragging and are only able to put half-effort into everything. I know, I’ve been there. I went through times like this for the last couple of years. I know I’m not alone here because I talk to my coaching gals about this very thing all the time. Luckily since I’ve been through it and found my way out, I can help them, and you, do the same!
I talk to so many people who are just kind of coasting through life. They’re at a job that they hate but feel the need to stay there even though their true passion is elsewhere, they find themselves in slumps and have a hard time getting out and they can’t figure out why they have such a hard time maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If this sounds like you, I have three questions I want you to ask yourself:
- What are you spending your energy on?
- Are you always the victim?
- How are you moving and fueling your body?
What Are You Spending Your Energy On?
For almost four years at my full time job I spent about 30 hours each week doing direct service (training and teaching) and 10+ hours doing admin work to keep our programs running smoothly. Needless to say I started getting a little burned out around 18 months or so. I would go through phases of loving my job and all the responsibility and then pretty low lows of being so stressed out and anxious about everything I had to do that I’d lose sleep, end up take long naps on my mid-day breaks and come Friday afternoon I’d be out cold for hours.
I went back and forth for about 6 months thinking about whether I should just suck it up do the part of the job that I really disliked and was causing me a whole lot of stress or go out of my own as a full time trainer and instructor. I finally gave my notice because why on earth would I keep doing something that I disliked so much if I didn’t absolutely HAVE to do it? I gave up the admin piece and kept my clients and classes which is the ideal situation for me. All the stress and anxiety was just not worth it. Now I can put my time and energy into the part of the job that I really love and give my clients the kind of trainer they deserve.
So- how are YOU spending your time and energy? Maybe the work example I used resonates with you or maybe it’s time to take a deeper look into your relationships with significant others, friends and family. If you’re find that your energy is drained after spending time with certain people, it might be time to re-evaluate yourself or the relationship. That doesn’t mean you have to change who you are or that a relationship has to end, it might just mean that you might have to dive a little deeper into how you’re feeling and why. It might also mean having a really open and honest conversation with some people in your life. If that sounds like something you need help doing, because these convos are never easy, click here for an excellent podcast from Elizabeth Dialto on how to have a tough conversation. It starts right around minute 6 🙂
This is tough stuff, guys. Believe me, I know! But we’re talking about the quality of your life here and I really can’t think of anything more important than that. Instead of feeling mentally drained knowing that you have to head into a job you don’t like or wishing your partner would change, you can take action and start creating more desirable jobs and relationships for yourself. Remember, action always trumps fear. Release that stress and put your time and energy into something you love and enjoy a whole lot more.
Are You Always the Victim?
Feeling like people are always out to get you, are purposefully annoying you, thinking that bad stuff is always happening to you and that other people are the bad guys is playing means you’re playing the victim- and we all do it from time to time. The trick is to not get stuck in it.
– When you’re driving, are you always leaning on your horn or yelling at the people driving in front of you?
– When you’re walking down the street are you annoyed at how slow people are walking?
– When you’re in a restaurant and a baby is crying do you get annoyed at the parents for not doing anything about it (this can totally be me, though I’ve been better since my nephew was born!)?
Of course there are exceptions, like if someone is actually driving like a jerk on their phone, or if people are walking 4 people across on a crowded sidewalk, but again, let’s check ourselves. Do you actually think the majority of people out there are doing this stuff just to piss you off? They aren’t. They’re just being who they are and doing what they do. That’s not saying that some people aren’t just inconsiderate but I think why not give people the benefit of the doubt and instead of getting angry at them. It makes life a whole lot less stressful when we’re not on the defensive all the time and just start letting things go.
When you start feeling victim-y, remind yourself to give people the benefit of the doubt. The guy at the bar isn’t bumping his chair into yours on purpose, it’s just crowded. The person driving slow in front of you could be lost. The parents might have decided to take a risk and go out to eat because their baby was having a good day only to find that the minute they got their food the baby was suddenly inconsolable. Just take a breath and let it go. People aren’t doing this stuff to make you mad, they’re just living their life. It’ just done worth using up all that mental energy on stuff that doesn’t even matter.
How Do You Move and Fuel Your Body?
You wake up with your kids at 6, make breakfast, make their lunches, and drop them off at school. You sit in traffic for an hour on your way to work stressed out that you’re going to be late…again. You rush into work and get going because you have a deadline tomorrow. Around 11:30 you realize you’ve had nothing to eat yet so you go grab a muffin and a large coffee and get back to work. After work you sit in more traffic and make it to the gym just in time for your boot camp class. After that you go home to make dinner, help your kids with their homework, realize you’re about to miss that deadline at work- your energy was somewhere else today and you couldn’t find it in you to focus- so you make some coffee and start on your work. You finally get to bed at 1am only to wake up with the kiddos at 6am to do it all over again. You think “this is just the way it is and I just have to learn to deal with it.”
Living this crazy lifestyle 24/7 means your body is in constant overdrive. While you can’t always control your kids’ schedules or your workload, the two things you CAN control are you diet and exercise habits.
If you’re a high-stress Momma who is constantly burning the candle at both ends, your body is pumping out a whole lot of adrenaline and cortisol just to get you through the day. Then you hit the gym for a boot camp class and the body pumps out even more adrenaline and cortisol because of the workout so you could be doing yourself a huge disservice here.
Instead of going to boot camp and spin 5x/week, sub out a class for a 45 minute walk a couple times each week. Put on a podcast, audiobook or some of your favorite music and just walk. It’s amazing what some lower intensity excise can do for your stress levels. One of my Summer Shape Up gals has come to love walking in the last few weeks. Instead of stressing out over missing a class, she’ll grab a friend and walk. She’s finding that she feels a lot more calm and relaxed afterwards I’m sure her body is thanking her, too.
When it comes to diet, you don’t have to make a huge overhaul to see an increase in energy. When my gals do something as simple as increase their protein intake, drink more water and eat more veggies their energy starts to skyrocket. All it takes are some simple changes. Add protein to breakfast, lunch and dinner, throw some spinach in your smoothies (you won’t taste it!) and some sweet bell peppers to lunch, then have a yummy stir-fry for dinner and carry a water bottle around with you to sip throughout the day. Do that for a week or two and notice how much your energy shifts from just those simple changes alone (for more ideas download my free nutrition guide!)
At the end of the day we all want to feel accomplished but when the stress starts taking over and we start feeling attacked and done wrong, are feeling constantly drained, it’s time to take a step back and look at what’s really going on. Ask yourself the three questions above and start doing some introspection 🙂