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Why Do I Feel So Drained and What Could Be Causing It?

Shannon Keating, LAC

A person can feel drained in many ways and the trick is to decipher what is zapping their energy. There is a standard trifecta of categories one can examine for possible answers: emotional, physical, and mental health. Sometimes, a person can be experiencing “leaks of energy” in more than one of these categories. All three are intricately intertwined, so it is important to analyze each one to optimize a person’s health and well-being.

A person who feels drained can self-check their health with a few common, yet significant, energy “leaks”. Leaks are often explained by a person’s poor habits. Here are a few examples:

Poor Diet

The first habit is a poor diet. An individual should step back and observe their relationship with food. A healthy relationship means that the person is eating to fuel their body with necessary nutrients. Unhealthy relationships with food can include binging, purging, yo-yo dieting, eating for coping, and restricting calories. All of these can cause nutrient deficiencies. Our bodies have a physical need for vitamins to help the rest of the body perform and function optimally. With an unhealthy habit of poor diet, physical well-being is extremely difficult to maintain.

Spending Time With Negative People

Another destructive habit is continuously interacting and spending time with negative people. Negative people tend to gossip and have a pessimistic outlook or opportunistic sense of entitlement. When negative people hurt others, they may apologize, but will likely offend with the same behaviors at some future point in time. As hard as it is to distance oneself from the negative and “toxic” behaviors of others, it is important to utilize emotional boundaries. In this instance, a boundary may consist of limiting time spent with the individual that is draining one’s energy. Unpredictable behaviors and negativity from others keep our bodies on constant edge and alert; this does not serve a person’s health and well-being.

Worrying and Overthinking 

Overthinking is an “energy leak” habit that many people experience. Overthinking is the brain’s way of trying to maintain control of a situation by predicting events and experiences that may occur in the future. But here is a foolproof fact: no one can predict the future! Easier said than done to stop overthinking than to actually do it. This is where talk therapy is often necessary. It often feels nearly impossible without the proper tools to just “stop overthinking” or “worrying” because it truly is not that simple. But recognizing the mental habit of overthinking is the first step to achieving freer and more stable mental health.

Comparing Yourself to Others

Social media also contributes heavily to the habit of comparing oneself to others. Constant comparison can crush the self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence of someone if they do not have a firm foundation for their mental and emotional boundaries. Social media is one of those phenomena where a person’s emotional, mental, and physical health can start to dwindle.

Lack of Exercise or Activity

The final habit I’m going to mention in this blog (there are more, trust me), is the lack of exercise and fresh air a person has in their daily life. Fresh air helps to clear the mind by providing a change of temperature, light, and scenery. Exercise is a natural antidepressant due to the endorphins a person creates when moving their body with intention. It is one of the most accessible forms of self-care and yet it is often overlooked as a useful coping tool! Fresh air, combined with movement, makes tiny adjustments to a person’s mental, emotional, and physical state.

Often, many traits of these common “leaks” can be addressed and resolved by an individual. However, sometimes the “leaks” are more complicated and detailed and may require external guidance and insight. The first step is reflection because otherwise, nothing changes if nothing changes. If a person is struggling to repair any of these “leaks” on their own accord, they may want to consider talk therapy with a counselor because they want to live their daily life feeling drained.

If you or a loved one is struggling with feeling drained, explore our counseling services online, and contact Symmetry Counseling to get paired with a skilled therapist in Arizona, Chicago, Texas, or Washington D.C. to talk things through with you.

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