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Energy Drain or Gain?

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This time of year can really drain you…with extra family around, travel, holiday expenses, and expectations for the new year. Sadly, I know for some of you this time of year doesn’t feel any less stressful than the rest of the year! :(

If you’re always feeling drained, unable to pinpoint the source, and noticing negative effects on your health, it’s a good time to get REAL about it.

I started identifying my energy drains over twenty years ago, post cancer diagnosis. I found I was avoiding many major energy drains, ones I had imposed upon myself, that brought a ton of negativity into my life and affected my well-being.

Energy drain comes about when we expend energy reserves to avoid unwanted situations.

You’re facing a new year, a new beginning, and the hope for balance in your life.  It’s a perfect time to identify and eliminate your energy drains.  Bouncing back from your major energy drains requires taking stock and being honest with the one person in the world that it’s the hardest to be honest with….YOURSELF.  Once you’re “sucked” into the drain like I was, it can be difficult to know where to begin to get yourself out.  Returning the flow of positive energy to your life requires self-awareness and exploration to distinguish where your energy truly flows.

Start redirecting your energy into a positive direction by taking small steps, steps that begin with taking out your journal or investing in one (or if you’re tech savvy, type it out!) I want you to write down and respond to the following.

#1.  Identify Your Energy Drains by asking yourself these three core questions:

  1. What are you avoiding or neglecting in an area of your life? (This could be everything from filing taxes, spending more time with your children, taking better care of your health.)
  2. What do you worry about? (What keeps you up at night?  Is it financial concerns, worry over job stability, relationship issues?)
  3. If you eliminated your worries or fixed your areas of neglect, what would your life be like? (Imagine your problems dealt with and resolved; how would this bring peace into your life?)

Don’t feel guilty if you find that some energy drains in your life are people – this is a good time to truly acknowledge who lifts you up and who needs to go!

#2 The Hardest Part is Over, Now What?  You’ve completed the hardest part, coming face to face with your truth.  Now, this is where you want to explore deeper.  Begin with journaling.  You have your list of energy drains, now write down what feeds you.  What gives you energy and makes you thrive?  This could include people, places, experiences, even music that you love.  Be as specific as you want to be, moving forward you will be turning to your “gains” for support!

#3 Resolve to Act.  Your personal record of energy drains and gains is now an ongoing participatory journey.  Each week I want you to take one step to resolve an energy drain.  It may be making a phone call and apologizing.  It may be booking an appointment for financial counseling. You need to put equal energy into your energy gains too.  Resolve weekly to add an experience, time, conversation, indulgence that provides you with an energy gain.  Your gains are equally as important to work on as your drains.  Every little step you take will bring you one step closer to true well being.

We each have a unique reason for wanting or needing change.  I can’t be there to force you to face those reasons, but I do know that if you find yours and act, you will experience changes in many more areas of your life, most importantly your health and happiness. I truly wish that for you!  Why not commit to using some of your time off this week to start or work on step one before the New Year for a fresh start?

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