Have you ever had those days where you were irritated, annoyed, short-tempered and just didn’t feel “good.” It was deeper than normal irritation from being stuck in traffic or daily mishaps. It was more like an unsettling feeling in your spirit that was a mix between hopelessness, defeat and sadness. I would refer to those feelings as the state of being emotionally drained. Typically the remedy for days like this is going to bed or taking a nap, watching a good movie, indulging in your favorite snacks, a hot bath, or whatever brings you comfort. The next day you’re typically back to “normal” and ready to take on the world. For some people, however, that’s not always the case. They find themselves in a perpetual state of feeling overwhelmed, pessimistic and stuck in a fog of negativity. Many of these people have no idea where these feelings are coming from or what is the true root of their emotional state.
I believe if you follow someone around long enough you’ll see exactly what their problem is. For example, an obese dog. Why is the dog obese? Well, I followed the dog all day for a week and the dog never moved from his favorite spot on the floor. Even his food and water was brought to him. So the cause and effect were pretty clear. I made that example up, by the way. I have no reason to follow a dog, but the point is you don’t have to be a psychologist to understand the cause and effect theory or to see where someone in your life or maybe even yourself is going wrong. Through pure observation, I have four reasons why you may feel emotionally drained. If any of these connect with you, the solution is so simple. Do the inverse of the cause for a better effect.
Your Life Doesn’t Have Any Consistency/Routine
Those nights of binging Netflix, going to bed at 3 a.m., eating takeout for every meal, downing drinks, leaving dishes in the sink for days has finally taken its toll. Maybe you’re aware and maybe you’re not, but that kind of disorder, which is normal some of the time, is a sure way to zap emotional wellness. One thing experts say and that I know for sure is that our bodies love consistency. Going to bed at the same time every night, eating meals around the same time, scheduling self-care on a consistent basis is all the building blocks to feeling well consistently. Those healthy habits are all things our body loves and it rewards us with happy feelings or happy chemicals like dopamine, oxycotin and serotonin, which regulates our mood, maintains weight and lots more benefits.
A good night’s rest is so important and can’t be overstated. If you’re feeling emotionally unbalanced look at your sleeping habits. I always say that I felt my best emotionally in high school when I would be in bed by 8 p.m. and asleep by 9 p.m. every night. I didn’t have a tv in my room and I would read myself to sleep. Life was good! Of course the structure that I had was implemented by my mother and I was a teenager who didn’t have any bills or real world issues, but I still believe that consistency was key to my success at school and as a person. Order is necessary to a healthy existence. I understand that such behaviors are often learned growing up and not everyone has that experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a new routine now.
You Don’t Finish What You Start
Have you ever heard the quote, “Jack of All Trades, Master of Nothing.” People who this applies to are often chasing after the next big thing. Whether it’s bitcoin or selling clothes, selling vegan cookies, or doing eyelashes — you name it they’re trying to do it. They’ve also convinced themselves that they can. I’m not saying they’re incapable, many really are, but having your hand in so many pots will leave you overworked and drained. Eventually you’ll quit and move to the next thing that appears “easy.” Now you’re all booted up and excited again about this “new” thing, but the chapter inevitably repeats itself and you end up stuffing that “new” thing in the closet with all the other “dreams.” Being ambitious is not a bad thing, but there is such a thing as toxic ambition. Loving the idea of doing it all, but no real drive to make a plan, study, research, or put in the actual work to make something a success.
This cycle of never finishing what you start can have an immense emotional toll, because every time you quit it triggers emotions of never being good enough, unintelligent, doubt, etc. From my own experience, people that I’ve encountered like this often have deeply rooted insecurities that they believe can be fixed with “doing.” The concept of finishing what you start goes way back to daycare. Finish your food, finish your painting, finish your project…completion is a big theme of life that never really goes away. We all have experienced the joy of completing something from as small as a puzzle to getting a college degree. If you struggle with this then start small. Set small goals of completion. For example, get rid of the junk in your closet, you know the stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of for forever. You’ll be surprised how small acts over time build habits. I believe feelings of inadequacy and not being enough will have no choice but to fade.
You’re Stuck In a Toxic Cycle of Complaining
My, my, my this is the one. Some people are truly unaware of how much they complain and how it brings their energy down and those around them. If you’re around them long enough, you know “something” is going to be wrong. I mean with these people, something is always wrong. Whether it’s the weather, their hair, their job…I could go on and on. If you have a person like this in your life you typically dodge their calls and maybe you even feel bad about it because you know deep down this person is truly unaware. They’ve been in this toxic cycle for so long this is a way of life for them and it’s all they know. They don’t mean any harm [generally]. Maybe this person is you? Don’t feel bad.
Most of our behaviors as humans were modeled to us or taught. If you grew up in a household where all people did was complain, yell, bitch and moan you learned that that’s how you communicate your angst or feelings. I know for me personally, I hate how complaining makes me feel. It truly zaps your energy and changes your entire aura. Whenever I get that emotionally drained feeling, it typically correlates with excessive complaining about life, family, etc. Sometimes I will literally say out loud, “I will not complain.” Even saying that out loud…making a declarative statement helps tremendously to refocus my mind and my attitude. Most chronic complainers have been told that they complain a lot, and most respond by getting upset, ghosting said person, or complaining even more. When chronic complainers are told about their behavior, some relate it to not being heard, or their feelings being dismissed. That’s an issue that likely stems from their upbringing. If you complain excessively you should explore what the deeper issues may be. Seeking a therapist or counselor may offer insight into what you’re really feeling when you complain.
You’re Waiting for Something to Happen That’s Never Going to Happen
Let it goooooo. A sure way to feel bad all the time is to want for things you can’t control. Sure, desire is natural and normal. We need it as humans to keep pushing through life, but there are so many things that aren’t up to us. Your mom and dad are never going to get back together, you’ll never get the apology you deserve from that fake friend, your ex will never admit to the rumor that they started about you, etc.
How other people govern their lives and emotions is not something you can control, nor should you waste your time trying to. If someone you were once really close to no longer desires that same closeness, accept it. If your parent is a fuck up who never comes through for you, accept it. The guy or girl you thought you would marry played you, accept it. Acceptance is the quickest path to peace. When we deny what the truth is in order to have the outcome we want we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are the ones who suffer. We are the ones who slope into feelings of irritation of hopelessness and inadequacy. One of my favorite quotes is from Zora Neale Hurston that speaks to acceptance and inner peace and I believe thus greater emotional health: “There are years that ask questions, and there are years that answer.” The answer is coming.