For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling depleted. 

It may seem obvious, but I want to avoid any confusion by stating that depletion is completely different from garden-variety tiredness. When we’re tired, a good night’s sleep can bring us right back to feeling energized and productive. In contrast, depletion feels like you have been sucked dry – when you’re depleted, even the simplest task feels like a herculean effort, and you could sleep 24 hours straight but still feel exhausted.

Over time, I’ve learned to recognize my own signs of depletion, which are typically a combination of several (or all) of the following:

  • No matter how much sleep I get, I wake up feeling tired. Low energy continues throughout the day, no matter how many iced Americanos I ingest.

  • I feel listless and apathetic towards things that would normally energize and excite me.

  • My concentration is nil. I can’t focus on anything for more than 5 minutes. I’m like a distracted monkey, trying to do a Rubik’s cube. In a room full of bananas. Drunk.

  • I’m easily frustrated and get irritated over things that normally wouldn’t bother me.

  • I experience a sensation of heaviness in my shoulders and chest, kind of like wearing the lead apron they use for dental x-rays.

  • I snack a lot, often gravitating towards starchy convenience foods like bread, crackers, and chips.

  • I generally feel lackluster, demotivated, unproductive, disorganized, and uninspired.

When I’m paying attention, I can catch the signs early on, and course-correct by giving myself a dose of self care. (Let me tell you, the proverbial “ounce of prevention” really does wonders when it comes to warding off depletion!)

However, despite practicing this for several years now, I still sometimes forget. I get busy, or distracted, or lose connection with myself. I get in the groove of DOING, and forget to check in and see how I’m actually doing. If I’m not careful, life has a way of taking over, and when it does I have to work harder at bringing myself back to center.

That’s what’s happened over the past few months: slowly but surely, life started living me, instead of me living it. Through the crystal-clear lens of hindsight, I can see how this happened.

A few of the highlights…

  • I said “yes” to invites and requests even though my heart was saying “no”;

  • I succumbed to FOMO, attending events and traveling even though my heart was craving home;

  • I convinced myself I was fine after some pretty major life events, instead of staying present with myself and allowing the space and time I needed to process;

  • I did way too much of what I thought I should do, instead of slowing down and mindfully choosing what felt right to me;

  • I pushed through my own resistance, instead of treating myself gently, and with compassion.

When I add it all up, it’s no wonder I feel depleted.

My old pattern would be to keep pushing myself, forcing myself to do ALL THE THINGS, even though all I really want to do is wrap myself in a fluffy blanket and binge-read my way through the day.  

And, if I’m being honest, there’s a part of me that still feels compelled to keep pushing forward, because there’s a lot I want to do in this world, and THINGS. MUST. GET. DONE.  

But I know that anything I do from a place of depletion will ultimately take longer, be harder, and generally result in a much crappier version of anything I do when I’m feeling energized and inspired (not to mention, I will feel crappy and irritated while doing the thing, which doesn’t help anybody).  

So, for the next few days, I’m focusing on refilling my well.

Because I know that having a full well is paramount to being the person I want to be, doing the things I want to do, and helping the people I want to help.

In future posts, I’ll be writing more about taking action before depletion sneaks up on you, why I believe self care is NOT selfish, and some of the things I do to refill my well.

For now, my Kindle and fluffy blanket are calling, and I must go.

with love,


The thought I’m playing with this week is: “I care for myself first, because I know that by doing so I’m able to care for others.”  
Try it on, and pop over to Facebook and let me know what you think. I would love to hear.