XOMU: Energy Leakage: Where is all your energy going (part 1)
And how do you get it back? (Part 1 of 2)
In The Book of Boundaries, I talk about the concept of “energy leakage.” It’s a brief section (starting on page 28), where I talk about the subtle and not-so-subtle signs you might need a boundary or seven in your life.
Since the book was released, I’ve had several media requests and many follow-up comments from readers asking me to dive more into the subject—what is it, how you can spot it, and how you can fix it. Let’s get into it, in part one of this two-part series.
What is energy leakage?
First, it’s not a scientific or medical term—but you already knew that, right? “Energy leakage” is a phrase my therapist and I use to describe the invisible ways that I subconsciously “spend” my energetic capital throughout the day, such that I feel drained by dinnertime in a way I just can’t account for. From The Book of Boundaries:
Every interaction you have, whether it’s meeting your mom for lunch, replying to a social media comment, or scrolling through old photos of your ex, is an energetic exchange. Sometimes, those exchanges leave you feeling invigorated, positive, and restored. But we all know what it feels like to leave the restaurant, close Instagram, or stop looking through those old photos and feel . . depleted. Anxious. Overwhelmed. Frustrated. This is energy leakage: where your interactions are consuming more energy than they’re giving back.
Energy leakage can also represent the ways you show up to tasks, conversations, or parts of your day inefficiently, unproductively, or boundary-less, allowing your energy to escape instead of flowing neatly and effectively into the task at hand.
These “energy leaks” leave you tired, depleted, burned out, unmotivated, frustrated, and missing your usual spark or excitement, even for activities or people you normally enjoy. Ironically, energy leakage can leave you so depleted that you spend even more time in draining behaviors—which wastes even more of your precious energy.
What are the signs?
For me, the first sign was that I was struggling to connect with my husband and son after my workday. By the time 5 PM rolled around, I had expended all of my energetic capacity, even on days where I had few meetings, no media appearances, and work was going well. I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t stressed… I just felt drained, like I needed hours of alone time to recover. (I’m an introvert, but this felt excessive even for me.) Here are some specific scenarios in which you might be leaking energy: