Are You Running on Empty?

Running On Empty Shutterstock 1038145846 Copy

What a last couple of years we have gone through? And while the powers that be have given us to believe, with their silence, that it is all over, we know it is not. We are just in a different kind of normal “COVID normal”. It is not surprising that many people are running on empty. They have given their everything to surviving over the last few years. They have managed lockdowns and the stress of 4 walls and 5 kilometers of neighbourhood. They have juggled home schooling with work from home and no child care.  What filled their tanks was out of reach. They began to realise how important and supportive was interaction with colleagues and how isolating it was locked within the walls of their houses. Initially it was a challenge to adapt, then when we did we became accustomed to it, but then it went on and on and on and many found their mental health  severely compromised. All the strategies that typically helped no longer did given the duration of this unprecedented event and its intransigence about leaving.

So What  Do You Do When You Know You Are Running On
Empty And Need To Fill Up?

  • You need to STOP, STEP BACK and REFLECT on what is happening for and to you. The worst thing you can do is keep trying to push through. Some will be able to do this by themselves. Others will benefit greatly by getting professional help.


  • Be kind to yourself. Evaluate and let go of the unreasonable expectations you might have of yourself. Let go of perfection. Remind yourself that you are enough. “I will get through this. I can do this. I will look after myself on the way.”


  • Take this time to evaluate the big picture of your life. Let go of everything that is not crucial in your life. Put it on hold for the moment. What is really important to you? What empowers you? What makes you feel authentic? Recreate your life to be what you want it to be. That way you will begin to refill your tank.


  • Maintain your social networks. Don’t lock yourself away which is very easy to do when you are running on empty. Stay in contact with those friends and colleagues who light your fire and empower you with their presence, forcing yourself to stay in contact if necessary.


  • Prioritise looking after your energy because this will see you begin to vibrate with life again. Sleep, meditate and do the things that help you relax and switch off. Eat well and stay with unprocessed food. Keep the stimulants low key! Drink plenty of water. Exercise and if you don’t feel like it start by making yourself with 10 minutes a day the first week, 15 minutes a day the second week and so on. After a couple of weeks you will begin to feel so good you will want to do it. Listen to some motivating and inspiring podcasts while you walk.


  • Reflect on what drains your energy and stop doing those things. If it’s a job, give serious consideration to changing jobs. If it is where you are living, move suburbs, towns, cities or states. If you can’t say “no” and you are permanently exhausted helping everyone except yourself, get some help to learn how to say “no”.


  • If it is some people or a certain person  who drains your energy remove them from your life. It is an important part of personal growth to let go of some people because they stop you from growing and can even be a depressive presence in your life. If these people are family or old friends and you don’t feel you can “remove” them, then learn to set boundaries on your relationships with them.

Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit,
and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.

– Dr Steve Mariboli

When it is your tank that is running on empty, filling it is not as easy as going to a servo, plugging in the hose and filling up the car in a few minutes. It takes time but if you follow the suggestions I’ve given you above, it can be a very meaningful journey which sees you emerging with a full tank of energy, and a more authentic self.

Leave a Comment