The reason you burn out

Every why you seem to run out of energy so quickly?  Or what you can do about it?  Wonder no more.

I’m Alyson Howatt, founder of The Happiness Factory and Registered Psychologist.  Today I’m going talk to you a little bit about what I like to call the Skittle Theory (which is a horrible name for it because it’s really a metaphor and I’m probably going to change the title, but that’s fine, we’re going to roll with it). Skittle theory is basically a way of looking at how much energy, attention, focus, and all those good things we have to put into stuff and how we get that back.

The Example

Imagine you go to sleep at night and you sleep a full eight hours, and you wake up in the morning with eight red skittles in your hand (because red’s the best color).  Only, hm, we’ll say that for whatever reason, (it could be a baby, or kids, or maybe you have a cold, or maybe you’re stressing out) last night you only had six hours of sleep. So you only have six red skittles in your hand when you wake up.

You climb out of bed and right away you stub your toe. Boom, there goes a skittle. You’re down to five. You get ready for your day and go off to work. The commute and work by itself, because it’s the nature of the beast, takes another two skittles from you.  That’s just what it is. Only, oh, there’s that one co-worker you have.  You don’t know how, but every time you interact with them they just kind of suck your energy from you. We’ll say that they took one all by themselves.  So you’re down three skittles. You have two left from what you woke up with in the morning and it’s the end of your day.

You still have to go grocery shopping.  Cook the food that you actually buy.  Do your laundry.  Clean your house.  Clean up after your pets.  Make sure your kids are cared for.  Pay your bills.  All the other adult stuff you have to do, because that’s what adults in our world have to do. This is a lot more than two things.  Which means that you’re only going to be able to really do two things the way you’d want to do, and after that you’re going to borrow from a bank that doesn’t exist for a skittle that you don’t really have to force yourself to do the other things. When you’re forcing yourself to do these other things, that you don’t have skittles for, you’re not going to do them the way you want to do them. Including interact with your partner.

The Impact

The way you might want to do this is, is to say: “Hey, you know what honey?  I was thinking all day of how we interact.  I think if we could really do this for each other we’d both really enjoy it better.” Instead of saying it that way, you’re going to say whatever comes to mind when you have no more skittles left. Which, because you’ve been thinking about this all day, might be something like: “You never do this for me! Why don’t you ever do this for me? Don’t you love me?”

Your partner, assuming that they have the same amount of skittles that you do (which is fairly typical), is going to have zero skittles left as well. Instead of responding in a way they would like, which might be something like: “I think that came out weird.  Maybe you want to take a half an hour to yourself and we’ll come back to this conversation?” They’re going to say whatever comes to mind when they have no more skittles left. Which might be something like: “Don’t tell me what to do. You always tell me what to do! Why do you always tell me what to do? I don’t want to talk about this!”

What could have been this lovely conversation about what you could do better for each other becomes this argument over who not doing enough. Which is pretty much the same conversation.  The way it’s conveyed is different and more likely to pull you apart, then pull you closer together.

Other Factors

If you have a dysfunctional belief, and I have a whole other video on what those are, then any time they’re activated the thing that you’re doing takes not just one skittle, it takes two. If you have a dysfunction belief like ‘I’m not good enough’ and it activates at works, instead of taking two skittles (because that’s work) it takes four. You’re going to run out of skittles.  Even if nothing really ‘stressful’ happens in your world. At the end of the day if you have no more skittles left, there is a way to get them back.

The Hope

Put time into things that give you more energy than they take energy from you.  This is going to change from person to person. It could be, if you’re one of those weird people (and I won’t judge if you are), that going to the gym really fulfills you, it really gives you energy. Maybe half an hour at a gym will give you more skittles back. Maybe you don’t like going to the gym. Maybe you like having a long bath by yourself.  Or sitting there and doing nothing.  Or watching t.v. for a little bit. Although, I will caution with t.v., it tends to be a distraction.  It might build skittles back but after a point it tends to be a holding action more than anything else.

For a lot of people this is where addictions come in. These are things that originally gave them a skittle back but have become less helpful than they used to be. They’re now more of a hindrance.  Just a way of distracting them and relieving the stress.  Without actually giving them any energy back.

Whatever your thing is that you do, to get skittles back, makes sure that you actually put this in your calendar and schedule it in. Claim that time. Because it’s not you taking time from other people to do what you need. It’s you putting time into yourself so that you can do things for other people.  In the way you would like to do them.
That’s so much for watching my video! If you want to check out more feel free to subscribe or check out the blog at happinessfactory.ca. See you guys later.

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