Are People Siphoning Your Energy?
Even the most passionate, motivated, and energetic of us has a limited supply of energy – it’s time to see if others are siphoning your energy and if you are allowing it. We want to help others, but need to keep a balance between actually helping and enabling them or helping at a detriment to ourselves. Are you giving too much? Know the signs and common ways we give too much without it being of real benefit to others.
You may be giving too much if you:
* Can’t sleep
* Have thoughts running through your mind over-and over (rumination)
* Worry about other’s problems and how they will manage more than yourself
* Feel run down
* Feel cold often
* Get sick a lot
* Have a low-grade headache often
* Cringe when your phone m rings or notifies you
* Feel empty
* Feel overworked with little to show or it
Ways you may be allowing others to siphon energy from you:
- Doing tasks for others that they can manage on their own. This includes helping children dress who are old enough, prepping meals for others, setting out clothes, buying gifts for other people’s events or relatives, making coffee or ordering lunch for the office (not your job but you do it), making appointments for others, always being the friend to make reservations, etc. Make sure you use your time to allow others to do for themselves and help as needed, not just to help. Kids get a good self-esteem from not just knowing they can do things, but actually doing them. Let kids clean, plan, and take care of what they can do. Adults will always let you do for them to take things of their plates, but make sure you want to do things for them and it is balanced, not just a pile of small things you do with no appreciation or real help that you give the other person.
- Being Google. Do you send links, emails, and information to others that they can simply look up themselves? Many people get into the habit of asking others to send a note, email, text, etc. with info that they can look up just as quickly. If you are asked to send something for someone please give them a canned response such as “Oh, that’s in your email,” or “You just need to Google it when you get a minute.” And be ready to say a clear “NO!” if they keep suggesting and asking that you send the simple information. These small tasks add up and can deplete your energy.
- Taking on tasks that are not using your gifts. We can all buy cookies and do small things to help out at a charity, PTA, office, etc. Though, if you make a list of what you are best at, things that require a skill, and JUST do them – then you are using your talents to the best ability. Let someone else do the small things that do not take skill. Instead do fewer things, but with more impact and skill involved. Be ok with saying no to the minor tasks but offering something of better value. For example, I do not help with most of the PTA events and planning, but I fix all the books for the school. This allows me to be flexible with my time, do something of service to the school, and to not get overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks.
Overall, if you feel stressed, take time to cut out the activities that are not of great value to you or others and focus your energy on what you do well and brings you and others the most benefit. Small things that are easy for you may impact someone greatly. The key is to find ways to help that are potent, not just plentiful. This will help you be wanted, not needed; appreciated, not assumed; and overall will increase your self-worth and decrease stress.