We all have things in life that are emotionally taxing. Maybe it’s your job, a relationship with a friend or partner, or that hobby that turned into an obligation. Whatever it is, your emotional bank account is drained and you are probably hesitant to transfer funds from your savings. While your account is in the red, you are more than likely exhausted and stressed. You have probably snapped at the kids, glared at your partner, made a snide remark to a friend, or kicked the dog. When we are emotionally depleted, while these behaviors are not ideal, they are normal. However, there are surefire ways to bank some emotional cash and earn interest well into 2016!
If you find yourself in an emotionally exhausting situation because you’re unhappy with your partner or your job is weighing you down, communicate this. Others cannot read your mind and may not know you are on the brink of a negative balance. Instead of continuing down the path headed straight toward Bittertown, let others know in an assertive, objective way how you’re feeling.
Know Your Limits
While you are communicating your feelings, it’s the perfect time to also state your needs and ask for a little help. You are not perfect and no one is expecting you to be. By knowing your limits and asking for help, you are establishing healthier boundaries with others because you’re teaching them how to treat you. Setting boundaries at work and in relationships sets you up for success – if you know your limits and communicate them to others, chances are they will be respected. So if you find your bank account wavering in red, ask your partner to help meet an emotional need or see if a boss will allow you to take a mental health day.
The first two suggestions will keep you from tipping into a negative balance, but engaging in a little self-care will help you start raking in the emotional dough. Take some time for yourself and do something you really enjoy. Maybe it’s a long hike, enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant, or meeting up with friends for a few hours. Taking a few minutes everyday to care for yourself and meet your needs not only recharges your body and overall mood, it’s also is one of the easiest ways to make a deposit to your emotional bank account.
Pay it Forward
While you are taking a little time for yourself, maybe you can take some time to pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else. Maybe you buy the next person’s coffee in the Starbuck’s drive thru, throw a few extra dollars into the red Salvation Army buckets, or help someone carry their groceries to their car. No matter how big or small, the Dalai Lama has said, “if what you do is good for others, it’ll be good for you too.” With the holiday season in full swing, maybe part of your self-care is selflessly volunteering at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter. Taking time to emotionally de-stress by doing something good for others can fill up your cup and your emotional bank account.
If you have tried these techniques and are not feeling emotionally revived, it may be time to consider moving on. Frankly, there are jobs and relationships where the costs will always outweigh the benefits. In those situations, try to consider what is best for you. If your emotional needs are not being met and you find that at work or in the presence of a specific person, your emotional bank account takes a big hit, it may be best to cut your losses. While this is not always easy, it might be the only way to stop others from making emotional withdraws.
Remember when your emotional bank account is depleted, you are not at your best. To maintain your own emotional well-being, trying setting limits and communicating your needs. In the meantime, you can always engage in a little self-care or fun game of paying it forward in order to pull you out of the red and make it through the day.
Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they’ve always wanted.