Being emotionally drained and physically drained sometimes feel the same but they are not!
Because they are not the same, we are often left wondering what’s wrong.
We ask this question because being THAT tired and overwhelmed doesn’t make sense when you add up all the “activities” or “requests” that are happening.
I first noticed this as a kid. I would be exhausted and sometimes crabby during clothes shopping with my mom; even though I loved that time with her. It was the stimulation and the emotional decision making…trying to decide if my mom liked something and if I liked it. As a Highly Sensitive Person, I was taking in and processing way more than 80% of the population.
And I would get in trouble for being in a “bad mood” or shutting down when in reality, my system was just overwhelmed. To my mom, I seemed “ungrateful” which is understandable from her perspective.
For the signs that you or your child are emotionally drained, check out our last post here.
Today, let’s talk about how you recover from being emotionally drained.
Time “doing nothing” or being with friends
Doing nothing might be just doing what you feel like doing around the house, it doesn’t necessarily mean laying around and not lifting a finger, but not doing anything that is an obligation. It could also be going on a walk, not for exercise but just to get out and take your time with no pressure to go a certain distance or at a certain pace. The space you find yourself in during these ‘doing nothing’ activities gives you time to process without necessarily thinking about anything.
This is especially helpful if you are introverted.
An introvert is defined by the fact that you recharge when you are alone vs with others. An extrovert recharges in the company of others. So if you’re an extrovert, it’s a good idea to go spend time with friends and do something that takes your mind off of whatever is emotionally draining you.
If you’re not sure whether you are introverted or extroverted, test it out. See if you feel energized or tired after spending time with loved ones.
Sometimes you just need to power down. You might resist it, but just give yourself or your child the time. It is best to remove electronic devices because screen time definitely impacts your sleep cycle (learn more about that in a past post HERE) and can prevent you from getting quality sleep.
However, if you have something on your mind, sometimes watching a show or a video can help focus your mind on something else and give you space from whatever is emotionally draining.
Sleep is connected to proper brain function and researchers have even found that it can remove waste products from our brain cells. It helps us process what we learn during the day and be able to remember information for the future.
“When we have emotional experiences, sleep both helps us remember these events and remove the associated feelings. This happens in REM sleep, when activity in most brain regions is similar to when we’re awake. By reactivating memories during REM sleep, the associated feelings can be removed from the content of the memory. This is why “sleeping on it” really can help you feel better in the morning. Indeed, studies have shown that, over time, improving sleep can lead to less anxiety, depression, and stress, and increased life satisfaction.” (THE Conversation | ‘Sleeping on it’ helps you better manage your emotions and mental health – here’s why; Beth Daley, March 18, 2022)
Changing your routine to get more sleep can have a significant impact when you are feeling emotionally drained. You will probably meet some resistance if you start making your child go to bed earlier but you should both see the benefits pretty soon.
Other than turning in early, another solution can be getting up and out.
Being in Nature
Fresh air is revitalizing and helps to clear your energy. Connecting with the earth is grounding. It helps you get into the present moment, especially if you take the time to intentionally breathe and focus on your senses. If you are short on time for a refuel, getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine is your best bet because it really is a supercharger!
“Research shows that people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life and more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile. Nature can generate many positive emotions, such as calmness, joy, and creativity and can facilitate concentration. Nature connectedness is also associated with lower levels of poor mental health, particularly lower depression and anxiety.” (mentalhealth.org/uk | Nature: How connecting with nature benefits our mental health)
The environment you are in plays a role in how you feel. Think about places that you have been that stress you out. More than likely those places are busy or loud or there is some element present that keeps you from relaxing or letting down your guard.
Nature is typically free from distractions, quiet and non-threatening. We are genetically programmed to find nature interesting and it is a comforting environment because it is natural, not complicated with human-made objects or noise.
The most important part is practicing. Practice noticing when you feel emotionally drained and what effectively recharges you.
If you can identify your feelings and identify what helps relieve the stress you feel when you are emotionally drained, then you have the tools you need to recover. If you need help identifying these things we are happy to help you! Contact us HERE.