Gunk of Low-Energy Living: energy vampires

The other day I woke up in a fine mood.

The sun was shining. I felt grateful for the day ahead and full roster of clients. I was looking forward to my favorite wood-fired pizza for lunch. Life was good.

Then the battle for my energy began.

The energy battle

A friend called to complain about her husband, again. A networking breakfast was less about connecting and more about gossiping. A call about my insurance deductible was answered by a woman clearly uninterested in being at work that day, or maybe any day. Even the UPS guy who is normally so funny was full of sarcasm.

  • Would I respond by letting my energy leak, leaving me depleted?
  • Would my good mood remain intact?
  • Would negative energy bounce off me or settle in to stay?

Energy spreads

Energy is contagious.

Positive energy spreads from one person to the next. But so does negative energy.

You know what this is like. You come to work with a spring in your step. Then comes a conversation with Debbie Downer or Moody Mike at the water cooler and the siphoning of energy begins.

What do you do when this happens? Do you keep your energy for yourself or give it away?

Energy conservation

When faced with the potential energy drain of an energy vampire, these five steps help maintain—or regain—energy equilibrium:

  1. Bring awareness to the situation. Recognize when your energy is in jeopardy. Sometimes awareness alone slows or stops the drain. You can see the situation for what it is and feel less acted upon. Acknowledging you’re around a person or in a situation that saps your energy informs what you do next: Shorten the duration of time spent with someone, set a boundary, make a strong request, etc.
  2. Embrace you have a choice. To avoid being at the mercy of energy vampires, awareness of your own power is key. While you may not be able to avoid energy sappers altogether and their behavior is outside your control, the thoughts you have in response and the action you take belong to you.
  3. Engage in an energy audit. Relationships are always an exchange of energy. Do you have a lot of energy vampires in your life? Your energy is a precious resource, so you need to know where it’s leaking. Are you an energy vampire? What energy are you depositing versus withdrawing?
  4. Be willing to have conversations about energy. What might change if you let someone know their behavior is energy draining for you? Imagine this conversation starter: “I find it energy draining when you complain, blame, gossip, guilt trip, bully, whine, overreact…” At the same time, what would happen if someone had this conversation with you about your behavior?
  5. Have a rebound strategy. You’re not always going to be a bundle of positive energy. The key is to start paying attention to what builds and restores your energy. For me this can mean something as simple as taking a walk or having quiet time to recharge. Energy restoration isn’t one-size-fits-all, so you need to conduct a self-study to figure out what re-energizes you.

Say no to energy vampires

Treat your energy like a precious resource. Don’t tolerate energy vampires in your life.

Become an energy ninja at asking, answering, and acting on, How can I retain or restore my energy balance?