A Peer’s Perspective: Recharging Your Emotions
You would be hard-pressed nowadays to find somewhere where technology hasn’t garnered a significant place in daily life. For some, the minimum necessity of a cell phone is the maximum venture into the technological age. For many others however, a larger arsenal of electronic essentials are featured on a regular basis. No matter how many of these items you may find yourself using, across the board there is one common factor; they all, eventually, need to be recharged. The same is true for our emotions. How and where you use them can depend on how often you feel that you need to recharge yourself and how drained you may feel. Let’s “plug in” to some further thoughts.
In the world that we live in, there are constant variables that can affect our emotions. We are continually being asked to rate whether we like or love, feel anger or sadness, or even surprise, on social media. Traffic (don’t get me started!) is a frequent competitor for our emotional stability. There are also jobs, finances, the news, relationships and the list could go on for miles. Do you find yourself drained, spent, exhausted and maybe even numb after the emotional dance that we all do? This resonates with me in so many ways. I can remember times where I felt so run-down because of everything around me, and the emotional capital I was investing put a definite deficit in my well-being. In fact, there have been times in my life where that “low battery” lasted for weeks at a time! I can attest to the fact that it’s a place I don’t soon want to revisit, and have learned some valuable insights that I’d like to pass on to you so that together, we can work on keeping our emotions balanced and preserved.
- Set boundaries with yourself: Having awareness on a consistent basis of where your emotions are is a vital part of keeping yourself from feeling drained and wiped out. Taking inventory of the things that make you feel negatively about yourself and the world around you is a good step to take. Maybe it might mean journaling before bed rather than watching the news, or it could be guarding your self-talk and being mindful of what words you weave your narrative with from day-to-day.
- Set healthy boundaries in relationships: This might be a bit more of an undertaking, especially if it isn’t a practice that you have in place already. Making some clear and simple boundaries with those that you interact with, family and friends alike, can lessen the emotional expenditure. While that may be a challenge, non-verbal cues such as holding up a hand or graciously making an exit can help to navigate situations that could become upsetting.
- Be aware of your body’s signals: Let me ask you this-what does your body tell you when you are becoming emotionally depleted? What does it feel when you are angry? Fearful? Sad? I challenge you to notice these things next time these feelings come your way. Once you become familiar, you can plan to use some great skills and measures before they become overwhelming. You can have a part in how your emotions affect you and that is powerful!
- Avoid taking on feelings that aren’t yours to feel: There is nothing more depleting than to not only feel your feelings, but to also bear the weight of someone else’s anger, sadness etc. First, ask yourself if the emotions belong to you and if you can have any effect on the outcome of the situation. If not, take steps that work for you to release them. For those of us that have a big and caring heart, extra feelings can latch on before you know it so spotting this early on is helpful.
Acclaimed Broadway producer Sonja Friedman said it this way- “The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” Unlike the tech that we have come to embrace, our bodies don’t come equipped with a low battery icon. What part can you play in keeping a healthy emotional charge?
Jill Davis is Peer Services Coordinator for Mind Springs Health. She or any one of our peers are happy to converse about self-care and how to be mentally healthy anytime. Drop her a line at Peers@MindSpringsHealth.org