I can tell I'm depleted when:
- I have a hard time reading more than magazine level stuff.
- I can't find much interest in starting new projects or updating old ones.
- Multitasking becomes hard/impossible.
- The idea of going out to lunch with a friend seems like work.
- I feel like I can't handle one more responsibility, or even the ones I have.
- Planning supper is hard even though I have a freezer full of food.
- I have no tolerance for others breaching my boundaries or bullying.
Some things provide a false lift. They don't feel like they deplete me when I'm doing them. Like social media. It may juice me up to wade into battle, but it's mostly just emotional and mental energy that can't sustain itself. A true lift happens without effort from deep within, from the heart and spirit. This kind of lift sustains itself and builds me up.
So when I feel depleted, I dial things back right to the bottom:
- I spend lots of alone time so I don't have to interact with others.
- I spend time in nature: birds, trees, whatever is nearby. They make no demands.
- I walk for pleasure. If it's fun, the exercise I get is a happy side effect.
- I cook when I have the kitchen to myself and can putter at my own pace. I find it nourishing.
- I listen to music or radio, watch TV or read books that soothe the heart or make me laugh.
- I take one thing at a time.
- If anything seems even remotely stressful, I back out if possible. If I can't back out, I ask for help.
- I connect with people who make no demands of me.
- I rethink my responsibilities. Responsibility = Response Ability. I say "no" a lot and worry less about what others are doing.
- I lay off the self-judgement. It just adds stress when I try to maintain the illusion that I should be managing life differently.
And I let this restorative phase take however many months or years it needs.