Wellbeing Series: Energetic boundaries

Here’s a reframe for you. Start thinking of tasks and experiences in terms of energy instead of time. If you think about the tasks you do and the interactions you have in terms of energy, you start to think more realistically about what you’ve got to give to that situation. The weight of the emotional energy you carry building up to, and coming down from a challenging task needs to be considered.

Here’s an example. If you think about the time that it takes to hold a transparent conversation with a team member (and note, I‘ve used the term transparent conversation as opposed to difficult/fierce - intentional vocabulary) you may be fooled into thinking about the length of time that conversation will take to hold. But the truth is, you’ll spend a lot of your energy before hand thinking about that conversation; imagining it, making assumptions about it, worrying about it, practicing it… whatever it is that you do in the lead up to that conversation. And what about the energy you spend after the conversation? Analysing it, overthinking it, actions that may arise from it, retelling it to others… We don’t always allow ourselves time for that, but it does take up time. It takes up energy.

When you think in terms of energy, you realise the real cost of the task and you can be more intentional about how you prepare and recover from it.

In every interaction you have, you commit yourself to an energetic exchange with another person and you open yourself up to the unknown consequences of those interactions.

If you’re aware of this commitment, you can consider whether you have the energy and capacity for the connection. Sometimes we do. And sometimes, we need to recognise that we may be depleted with little to offer. Knowing your own energetic boundaries and upholding them will serve you well.