How to Stop Feeling Drained
When we feel drained in life, work, or business, it can feel really uncomfortable and like a mountain to climb to get past that. So it is really useful to have a way to start breaking that cycle.
That will open the path to move forward and get the ball rolling with effectively dealing with the things that are draining you and the negative impact they have on you, your life, and your work.
A useful start point is to shine a light on what you put up with. We are often tolerating many things that drain us, often without even realising it.
So the first step is to create clarity and awareness so that you can then proactively tackle the things that are draining you and reap all the many benefits of eradicating those things or reducing their negative impact on you.
Here's a practical exercise to help you to get started with that:
How to start clearing what drains you
To start with, stop tolerating what does not serve you and drains you. We often tolerate a lot of things in our life, work, or business, sometimes without even realizing it.
And that’s a problem. It’s a problem because what we tolerate and do nothing about can be very damaging to you, your goals, and achieving what matters most to you.
They can hold back progress and even sabotage your results totally. In addition, they can suck the living daylights out of you which can negatively impact your personal effectiveness. They can also have a terrible impact on your wellbeing, health, happiness, fulfillment, and quality of life.
Things that we tolerate that drain us are like rocks and boulders strewn across our path to where we want to go. If you don’t remove them or find a way around them you are going to have a hell of a job making progress and, ultimately, they might stop you from getting to where you want to go totally.
The important thing to get about things you tolerate is this:
What you tolerate persists. They are highly unlikely to magically disappear if you don’t do anything about them.
So, the bottom line is this:
Choose to stop tolerating what doesn’t serve you and what gets in the way of the life and results you really want.
Before we start working through the practical exercise, there are a few things to be aware of first.
Tolerations show up in many forms. They can be lots of small things that have built up over time. Or they might be big things that make you feel like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Small tolerations are generally things that could be dealt with relatively quickly and easily. Big tolerations are ones that are often more complex and would take much more time to deal with to eliminate. We will be looking at how to approach both small and big tolerations in the exercise we will be doing below.
Another thing it is important to be aware of in relation to tolerations is this: there are two main types, and both are important to address.
a) External tolerations – these are things that generally are outside of ourselves. For example, things like financial matters, relationship problems, work problems, cluttered house/office, a build-up of chores, outstanding admin, distractions, lack of support, etc.
b) Internal tolerations – these are things that are about you. Sometimes it is what we tolerate about ourselves that impacts us the most. Examples of internal tolerations would be things like unhealthy habits and behaviours, self-doubt, lack of confidence, lack of mental and physical energy, wasting time, not getting enough sleep, having weak boundaries, living beyond your means, poor self-discipline, poor time management, settling for what you don’t want, etc.
If you need some reasons to give this topic some focus, here are just a few of the many benefits of addressing what you tolerate that drains you:
• clear your path to move forward with what matters most to you faster and easier.
• reduce stress and feelings of overwhelm and feel more fulfilled.
• improve your personal effectiveness as that has a direct impact on your progress and results
• get unstuck and feel more in control
• create more time and mental and physical energy for what matters most
To help you get started with reaping the many benefits of dealing with this topic, we are going to work on three things:
1. Identify what you are tolerating so that you are crystal clear on the impact that has on you and your outcomes.
2. Find ways to eliminate your tolerations or reduce the impact they are having.
3. Put things in place to stop those things from recurring.
STEP 1 - Break the areas of your life down into the most important categories to you. For example, your list of categories might include work/business, finances, personal life, professional life, home, relationships, health/wellbeing/fitness.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is important to make sure that you include yourself as a category too. Sometimes it is what we tolerate about ourselves that can get in the way the most! (e.g. wasting time, habits and behaviours, emotions like fear, self-doubt, lack of confidence, etc.). So don’t forget to include in your list of categories a heading of “self” or “me.”
Think of other category headings that may be specific to you, your life, and your circumstances.
STEP 2 – for each category you have identified, brainstorm as many things as you can think of that you are tolerating or are getting in the way of how you would like that thing to be or the results you would like to achieve with it.
STEP 3 – put what you have identified into, what feels for you, a natural or best guess priority order.
STEP 4 – two ways to approach this step – pick one category that jumps out as something you want to dive into first OR decide if it would be better for you to pick something from several categories to focus on.
NOTE: There is no right or wrong way to approach this. Everyone’s situation is different so do what feels most useful to you.
For whatever approach you have chosen, identify what action is required to eliminate that toleration or to reduce its negative impact on you, your progress, and your results. Commit to when that action will be taken. Create a plan. Implement it.
SUGGESTION – it can help to look for some small things that you could get some quick wins with first. It will give you a sense of achievement, help build momentum and motivate you to stick with it.
STEP 5 – once you have dealt with something you are tolerating that drains you, it is important to give some thought to what it would take to stop that toleration coming back in the future. Identify what you need to put in place to, ideally, eliminate that toleration permanently, stop it recurring, or manage it more effectively ongoing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: don’t forget that some tolerations will be small things that are easy and quick to deal with. Others will be bigger, more complex, and take more time and effort to resolve fully. For the bigger more complex tolerations, break them down into really small action steps and create an action plan that will move you forward to fully addressing that toleration. Just keep taking the next step, and then the next, and before you know it your big complex toleration will be getting dealt with.
Don’t take too much on at once. That will just make you feel overwhelmed and be counter productive.
ONGOING MANAGEMENT: Whilst you will get a lot of benefit from doing this as a one-off exercise, it is useful to repeat this process regularly. I highly recommend that you give this topic some focus at least once a month. Look for ways to make this part of your ongoing routines and habits. Keep taking small steps regularly, consistently, and persistently.
The bottom line:
What you tolerate persists. Stop tolerating!