Live Better. Love Better. Work Better.

Why Am I So Depleted?

By Eric Dean JD, MBA, MA, MA, LPC, CADC

You have assessed your current situation and determined that you are depleted, maybe even burned out. First, know that you are not alone. But now what? A next step could be to identify practices and activities that you can add to your life to make you feel better. While this is logical and important to do, a better starting point is to identify current unhealthy behaviors that can be removed. Here are three common unhealthy behaviors that I see among my clients. Once they cut back on or stop doing these things, they feel better, sometimes to a great extent.

  • Excessive Added Sugar Consumption

You can find added sugar in most processed foods. When we consume added sugar, we experience a spike in our blood sugar, and elevated energy levels, followed by a crash. Added sugar is hard on the digestive system, especially the liver, and has no nutritional value. Excessive consumption of added sugar can lead to depression, memory problems, fatigue, slower thinking, and mood instability. 

Eliminating, or even cutting back on your added sugar intake may be difficult at first, but over the long-term you will feel much better. One way to reduce your added sugar intake is to replace it with foods that have natural sugars. Fruits like apples and bananas contain natural sugars, chemically identical to added sugars, but also have a lot of nutrients that help keep your blood sugar level stable and provide you with sustained energy. 

  • Multitasking

Multitasking is the act of doing two or more tasks simultaneously. While many folks view multitasking as a strength, it can oftentimes be counterproductive by interfering with concentration and inhibiting creativity. (Ophir et al., 2009). One study by Stanford researcher Clifford Nass found that multitaskers have more difficulty distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information, causing inefficient work output. The truth is that multitasking is something of a misnomer. What is really happening is that we are quickly switching back and forth between tasks, but not doing them simultaneously. This constant shift of focus is draining and unsustainable. 

To avoid multitasking, create a numbered to-do list which considers the urgency and importance of each task you need to complete. Next, complete the tasks sequentially, instead of trying to do them all at once. You will be more productive, and your work product will improve, plus you will have more energy at the end of the day.

  • Information Overload

Never in history have we been exposed to the vast amount of information that we have access to today. Whether we are perusing social media or reading the news, our brain is constantly stimulated and working hard to process the information we consume. Our brain has only so much processing power before we feel tired, sluggish, and depleted. 

Be mindful of the amount of information you are consuming. Allow your brain to rest and recharge by consistently entering a state of minimal stimulation. In other words, take breaks that involve just “being” rather than “doing.”

Wrapping Up

This post reviewed 3 things you can eliminate to give you more energy and positive feelings:

  1. Stop consuming added sugar;
  2. Stop multitasking; and
  3. Stop excessively consuming information.

It is best to do these things one at a time, starting with the one you feel will be easiest. Over time, changes like these will yield great results. You can do this!

So, let’s get started – call Symmetry Counseling in Chicago today at 312-578-9990.

Reference

Bates, Sofie. “Heavy Multitaskers Have Reduced Memory.” Stanford News, 25 Oct. 2018.

Ophir E, Nass C, Wagner AD. Cognitive control in media multitaskers. PNAS USA. 2009;106(37):15583-15587.

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