I am naturally an introvert and can find spending a lot of time with people and socialising pretty draining. As much as I love a party or a long talk with friends there is only so much I can do before I feel the need to retreat. I find this can be the case when I’m feeling emotionally drained too. I love listening to people and helping friends work through problems but bizarrely I can find myself taking on their emotions or worries and carrying them with me afterward, I think this is just an aspect of my personality type. I know myself well enough now to recognise the signs that I need to take a step back and look after myself a little. This doesn’t just benefit me but tops me up again, so to speak, so that I can be me again, to be there for my children and my friends. If I don’t do anything and just keep going I am no fun to be around at all! I can be irritable, lack patience and definitely lack compassion, it’s like I shut down, this doesn’t make for a good friend, mum or general human being!
Here are some ways I’ve found that help me when I’m feeling emotionally drained.
1. Have a hot bubbly bath
There is something so magical about easing yourself into a hot bubbly bath. Being a mum it can be hard to find any sacred space that’s just for me. I’ve learnt that hard way to wait until I’m one hundred percent certain that both my girls are asleep before even attempting to run a bath. I’ll never forget getting into an eagerly anticipated bath only to be joined in the bathroom by my very chatty six year old wanting to read to me while she sat on the loo. Not ideal.
2. Lock myself away with Netflix
Grabbing some time to just switch off and binge watch something is so relaxing to me, obviously it doesn’t need to be Netflix, any provider of binge watch fodder will do! To immerse myself in another story or world and taking that time to check out is so special. Even if it’s just a snatched thirty minutes while the girls are playing. I need to be careful with this though and make sure if I’m watching for a recharge then it shouldn’t be a series that’s particularly tense or with an emotional storyline, a fun comedy like Kimmy Schmidt or Odd Mom Out usually does the trick.
3. Read a book
This is where an absorbing fiction book is just perfect. Curling up on my comfy chair in the living room and getting lost in another story gives me that time out I so often need. I usually reach for one of my comforting favourites when I’m feeling drained. There’s something so easy about dipping back into a well worn book and familiar characters. A new book can be more difficult to concentrate on when I’m feeling overwhelmed or down and I definitely would struggle to process a non-fiction read.
4. Switch off
This is done at varying degrees, depending on need and of course circumstance. Taking that step back, whether it’s ignoring calls and turning off notifications, or just turning off your phone for a set amount of time. As I’ve got older I’ve learnt that setting boundaries is so important and ties in well with this. As terrible as it sounds sometimes we need to ignore that call if we’re not emotionally able to cope with it. Instead just send a little text saying you’ll call back and then speak to them when you’ve topped up a little. When I’m feeling drained I struggle to even engage on social media and places like Instagram make me feel down and inadequate rather than a place to share creativity and share in people’s lives. Sometimes I’ll take a social media break for a few days (and try not to worry about lack of engagement or losing followers!!) as I know that when I come back to it I’ll be refreshed and ready.
5. Have a time of prayer and mindfulness
This may sound airy fairy but taking the time to centre myself when I’m overwhelmed is often the most necessary and important thing. This can be lying down and with calming music, listening to a thoughtful podcast, praying or just sitting in silence. I find that when I’ve given myself this kind of space I feel so much better for it, though often it can be the last thing I feel like doing! Looking after myself spiritually is just as important as taking care of physically needs, in fact it’s all connected really.
Can you relate?
What do you do when you’re feeling emotionally drained?
(featured image by Robyn Swain Photography)