Please leave your empty cylinder here.
No wait, No Worry
Happiness is a Full Tank!
I dream of the day when I can once again know what that feels like–to have my personal energy tank be full. Or at least to be able to operate with some amount of energy reserve instead of feeling like I’m running only on fumes.
I woke up this morning emotionally gasping for air, trying to inhale enough oxygen not just for that breath, but trying to get a little extra to face the different tasks ahead of me. I have been running on empty for a very long time. I sometimes describe burnout as having no reserve. Literally, you have to fight for the energy you need for each thing you have to accomplish. One of my most common experiences with burnout is not being able to count on having all of the energy I need to accomplish something before I start it. That is a scary place to be in, where even simple tasks carry an uncertainty as to how/if I will be carry them through to completion.
To use the tank analogy, my energy supply tank is very empty and I am always looking for ways to try to refill it. I know and enjoy and still do the things that refresh and give me energy. But, when a person is operating without reserves, doing any one thing that energizes is sort of like trying to refill the tank, a syringe at a time, with the car still running (or grill–I usually think about energy in terms of gas “petrol” vs. gas “propane”, so I’m having to do a bit of analogy jumping here). Even doing energizing, fun things has become a bit utilitarian–what will give me the biggest bang for my energy buck? How much energy is burned in starting this activity vs. another one that also energizes me?
In the context of my daily struggle with energy drain and burnout, seeing the above AmeriGas sign outside the store where I stopped to buy milk, made me smile today. And smiling always gives me a few more drops of energy and doesn’t use any in the process. Now I just need to figure out which task in front of me will be the best fit for the energy gained from that smile!