When we stop to think about it, almost everything in our lives either depletes our energy or renews it. It’s important to be aware of the impact that our relationships have on our energy levels. We all have people in our lives (friends, family, colleagues) that it takes a significant amount of energy to be around. On the flip side, most of us have a handful of people in our lives who never fail to energize and renew us.
The thing is, you can choose how much to engage in these relationships. You don’t have to bend over backwards to engage in relationships that end up depleting you. It’s ok to seek out people to renew you when you are feeling low. Consider the following tips when deciding who to engage with:
- Assess your current energy level. If you are having a low-energy day, are irritable, or exhausted, it may not be wise to spend time with those that you know require more of your energy than you are currently able to give. Save those interactions for days that you have plenty of energy to spare.
- Ask yourself: Am I doing this out of obligation or do I really want to do this? When we do things with or for others solely out of obligation, resentment can build quickly. Saying “no” unless you truly want to engage will actually be much better for the relationship in the long run, whether in the work setting, within the family, or with friends.
- Decide on boundaries and stick to them. Boundaries may be around time you are devoting to the relationship, how often you are seeing them, or around things that you are willing to do (lending money, assisting with problems, giving rides, etc). Having boundaries and sticking to them can actually create a sense of safety within the relationship.