The Drained Battery

Having a career that includes a lot of travel can bring about some ups and downs. Ups getting to travel to new places and spaces to deliver the message on how to find recovery from burnout and support people when they are struggling. Meeting new people and leaving knowing that I have made a difference with my story and my work.

The downs? General travel woes like delays, not packing right for the weather at my destination, or getting lost trying to find my speaking venue. Last week, I had a new one. My rental car not unlocking when I reached it first thing in the morning.

There I was FRANTICALLY clicking every button on the key fob, pulling at every door, wondering “why the fuck is there no keyhole”, and “what the hell am I going to do”. Panic took over as I went into worse case scenario mode. My thoughts spiraled, “I’m going to be late turning the car in, I am going to miss my flight, I don’t know who to call, why are new cars made this way, now I know why I had a bad feeling about the car all night long. What am I going to do!” I reach a moment of calm and realized that there was a roadside assistance number on the keychain. Okay step one call that number, a very kind person walked me through finding the keyhole, no dice I couldn’t get the cover off, she tried sending an unlock signal to the car, no go… And then I realized I had left an overhead light on. Shit and double shit, the car battery was probably dead. The agent talked me through the options of calling someone to help me and possible cost and I started crying.

Completely overwhelmed by the situation. After she set me up with a tech who would arrive in about an hour, a tearful call to my husband, a call to American Airlines to switch my flight (a mutual coaching session with Dina who was lovely, and thanked me for easing some of her anxiety) I was calmer and focused knowing that it was all going to be okay, I would get home that same day, that there was nothing that I needed to attend to for business that couldn’t be done in the hotel lobby or at the airport. Everything would be fine.

After my assistance arrived and the car was entered, jumped, and running. I remembered that it kept giving me a warning that the battery was being drained by external use, a message I thought was odd for a new car. A message I ignored.

We as humans are not that different with our own energy. How many times have you ignored your warning signs that you are fatigued, emotional drained, overwhelmed? Think that’s odd but onward we go, let’s push through. And then one small thing, one thing too much and you are completely spent. You get a migraine, you get sick, your body takes over and stops you right in your tracks.

This is a time of year where that can happen for a lot of us. We are pushing through to finish out the last two months of the year, focused on holiday gatherings and just getting through. Making the promise to ourselves that we will start a new in the next year with our shiny resolutions and goals.

Dear friend, have you checked your battery level lately? And are you due for a recharge?

Here are four things you can do when you find yourself with a drained battery.

  • Look at your calendar and schedule a recharge activity in the next 24 hrs.
    • If you are almost on empty, this is not the time to try to push-through, find 10 – 30 minutes in the next 24hrs that you can offer yourself some recharging time.
  • Reflect on these questions – What is draining my batteries the most? What can I prioritize differently so I can refocus my energy?
    • Take an honest look at what is currently on your plate, what can be moved off for now? What is most important for you to focus on right now? So often when we try to focus on ALL the things, we end up focusing on almost nothing.
  • Shift how you work each day – Start with the most important, possibly the most draining task.
    • It may seem counterintuitive to start with the task that drains you the most, but part of what makes it draining is the energy we used trying to put it off. When we face it first thing in the morning two things happen, one we start our day with a win and an accomplishment and two we get our day back to focus on other things.
  • Schedule charging time at the end of the week.
    • Make sure you have some extended respite time at the end of the week. Plan an outing with friends, a movie and popcorn night, a Saturday yoga class, or pancakes on Sunday. Bottom line make sure you are doing something that will help you be energized at the start of the next week.

Curious about what 1-1 support and accountability could look like for you in starting your journey to burnout recovery? Join me for a complimentary 45-minute Burnout Recovery Strategy Session to take action in addressing your drained battery.

Leave a Reply