Stronger Together: How being stuck in a boredom rut could influence your energy levels

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"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on how boredom can play a part in your energy levels.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

If you find yourself constantly waking up in a rut rather than a routine in your daily life but you don’t know why – maybe you’re bored.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Our energy, as discussed last week, can be drained, or recharged by certain situations. It can also have a ripple effect on those around us through the concept of an emotional contagion.

We, as individuals, also have the power to manage our own energy outputs and input, through the choices we make and the life we lead.

It’s helpful to know that as individuals we have and use energy in different ways.

At IMPACT, we use the DiSC profiling tool as a way for team members to develop an appreciation for the difference in others. After answering a series of questions, an individual is provided with insight into their Natural Style and their Adjusted Style.

A person’s Natural Style takes the least amount of effort and energy. It is unconscious, learned behaviour that represents their most authentic self.

The Adjusted Style – is how a person adapts their behaviour to meet the demands of an environment. In your job you may need to put more energy into certain tasks to display the behaviours or style that is expected for the role.

To do the required adjustments, requires conscious effort and thought. This creates a natural drain on your energy reserves.

While our Adjusted Style can be challenging initially, the good news is that our brain starts to learn new patterns quickly with practice. These new ways of working start to incorporate with existing routines and eventually require less energy and effort.

While this works for some activities/jobs in select environments, there are other times when the transition to new patterns simply doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t seem to click.

In some situations, it could be because you find yourself so painstakingly bored that nothing seems quite right, and you don’t know what’s going on.

Understanding your energy, your values and your situation may help explain whether boredom is impacting you.

Across various readings it’s clear that there are different ways boredom can influence your emotions and behaviour. They fall under the following categories: indifferent, calibrating, apathetic, searching and reactant.

Indifferent is understood as a feeling of going through the motions; while calibrating is feeling uninterested yet unsure how to break out of the routine.

Apathetic is feeling a lack of enjoyment, helplessness, disinterest, languishing.

Whereas searching is when people grapple with feelings of boredom by channelling their restlessness into motivation.

Reactant is when one is quick to snap at others, and they become increasingly frustrated. In this instance people can feel motivated to escape the situation, the people and seek fulfillment through an alternative task.

In the moments of bored realisation, it’s important not to become overtly self-critical of yourself in the situation, rather consider it as an opportunity to explore what’s draining your energy and what you can change.

When you reflect on what your needs are, understanding what you can change can become clear.

Trying to visualise and articulate your needs or your boredom can help you find clarity in your current situation.

Firstly, let’s get those thoughts out of your head.

Ask yourself ‘What is consuming my energy at the moment?’ and then ask yourself ‘Is this working for me, or do I need to make a change?’

Depending on what works best for you, get these thoughts down. Write them down, draw it or reach out to someone you trust and talk about it. Explore what is going on for you.

This process is all about being curious and becoming clearer about whether change is necessary.

Please remember that this is a personal process free from judgement. You don’t need to convince anyone else that what you’re doing is right for you.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on energy, understanding what it is, how it impacts us and others.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

Energy has many different definitions. It is everywhere, and people are no exception.

As it is understood in physics, energy cannot be created nor destroyed; but it can be transferred and transformed.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

On a psychological level this can be likened to a theory of emotional contagion – yes, you can get a bad vibe, and no, you don’t have to accept that energy if you don’t want to.

This notion of emotional contagion is how experiencing someone else’s emotions and behaviour can impact our own.

Unfortunately, just like the flu, people can spread their negative emotions onto others, resulting in people unconsciously creating a ripple effect by taking on others negativity and spreading it.

Humans can be both a source and a blocker of energy when we’re attune to our experiences and our desires.

This constant check in is particularly important when it comes to emotional contagion, and what or who depletes our energy.

Consider different types of people you associate with. Do either of these types of people ever cross your path?

Person 1: When you are around them, you start feeling heavy. You don’t know why it is, but after being around them you feel drained, exhausted and like you just went down a vortex of negativity and hopelessness.

You feel like you have literally had the life sucked out of you and after talking to them you notice that you appear to have a low mood and you feel more negative.

If we are honest, we all have at least one of these people in our lives.

In comparison, when you’re around Person 2 you feel uplifted, rejuvenated, and empowered.

Their presence is infectious, and they leave you feeling like you have just settled into the warmth of a cosy doona through their energising connection and lightness.

When speaking with them you feel immediately re-charged, optimistic and hopeful.

Sound familiar? If so, why does Person 1 drain you and Person 2 lift you up?

The answer is linked to energy, more specifically the energy they are emitting into the world through their words, their actions, their body language and their view of themselves and the world around them.

This is personal energy at its best, and fortunately we have a choice. We can retain these people in our lives, or we can choose to change the relationship if it is not serving us.

Increasing your energy levels can be multifaceted and often correlates to your wellbeing.

Eating food that is good for your body, maintaining good sleep hygiene and drinking plenty of water daily can contribute to your physical energy levels.

When it comes to recharging your mental, emotional, and even wellbeing, understanding values, maintaining boundaries and adapting your self-care needs accordingly work to protect your energy.

This also seeks to promote a more positive energy output of your own.

Some people have their social battery drained through meaningless conversations or being in a public setting for a long period of time. Others thrive off social interaction and new connections. Your energy is yours to monitor and protect for use in areas of your life that are important to you.

Regardless of whether you find that you tend to naturally be more introverted or extroverted, understanding your energy with the knowledge of your values, can help determine where you want to spend your energy, your current capacity and when to fiercely protect it.

Imagine if we all took a moment to reflect on our energy and the potential ripple effect that it could create before we go to a business meeting, interact with a stranger, or even catch up with family and friends.

Imagine the positive shift that could be created if we all took accountability for the energy that we put out, armed with the knowledge that situations might unfold differently if we are more intentional in the way we show up.

One of the simplest ways to experience more positive energy is to release those things that are not ours to fix. What could you let go of today?

If it is a person, would changing the relationship that you have with that person increase your energy levels?

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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