Ever have those days when you feel you’re dragging a ball and chain behind you?
Everything is a struggle. Your productivity has tanked, your energy is at rock-bottom, and you just want to crawl in a hole and suck your thumb.
Sometimes it’s easy to identify why we’re so lethargic. We might feel physically ill, the weather is bleak, or the stars are out of alignment. Conditions out of our control can vaporize our energy and smack down our motivation.
Most of the time, however, our fatigue and burn-out is the result of our daily habits. We sabotage ourselves with thoughts and behaviors that create a toxic environment for vitality, well-being, and achievement. You may not even be aware how your own habits are affecting you.
If not, here are 42 bad habits that suck your energy:
1. Sleeping too late
The alarm clock rings, and you hit the snooze button — again and again and again. Before you know it, you have just three minutes before you have to hit the road if you’re going to be on time. You start your day stressed and agitated.
2. Skipping breakfast
Skipping breakfast is one consequence of sleeping too late. But many of us simply get in the habit of skipping it because we’re lazy or misinformed. Skipping breakfast actually makes weight control more difficult. Breakfast gives us the morning fuel to perform our best and stay alert.
3. Eating a bad breakfast
Ok, good for you — you ate breakfast. But a pop tart or glazed doughnut doesn’t count as a healthy breakfast. These choices cause a huge blood sugar peak that leads to an even bigger sugar crash. Plus, they’re loaded with fat-packing calories.
4. Constantly checking email
The ding or vibration of an email arriving has turned us into Pavlov’s dogs. We’re compelled to check the inbox when the bell rings, which constantly distracts us from the task at hand. Then it takes more energy to pull yourself away from the inbox and re-engage in our work.
5. Getting lost in social media
Once you get started on social media, you can find yourself lost in a rabbit hole of silly videos and mindless discussion threads. After a few hours, when you pull your head to the surface, you realize you’ve just lost a chunk of time doing nothing.
6. Skipping exercise when you’re tired
There’s no doubt exercise energizes us and has a host of health benefits. If you have the habit of skipping it when you’re tired, you’re depriving yourself of energy you could use for productivity and enjoyment.
7. Drinking too much alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant. It gives you a buzz at first, but after a few drinks you feel tired and sluggish. The effects linger the next day, impacting your energy all day long.
8. Getting angry in traffic
Traffic alone is enough to suck your energy, but if you allow other drivers to get under your skin, now you’re just compounding the problem. Put on some relaxing music or a book on tape, and use the time productively.
9. Wearing heels
Of course heels make your legs look great, but what are they doing to your feet, knees, and back? Heels can be painful, cause bunions, and alter the anatomy of your calf muscles. That’s plenty to get stressed about.
10. Isolating yourself
Humans are social creatures and need others for their emotional well-being. Even introverts need time around others to feel happy. Too much isolation can lead to excessive worrying, negative thinking, and even depression.
11. Being a perfectionist
When you need everything to be just so all the time, it causes a lot of anxiety and stress. Perfectionists have a hard time relaxing or letting down their guard. This stress can lead to a host of physical symptoms and emotional disorders.
12. Watching too much TV
Every hour you watch TV is an hour you aren’t doing something more interesting or productive. You lose time with family and friends, program yourself with negativity, and subject yourself to subliminal messages from advertisers. The stress from TV shows may show up in dreams, worries, or self-expectations.
13. Overthinking and worry
We get in the habit of allowing looping negative thoughts to invade our minds. We allow worry thoughts to take up residence and create internal havoc. Overthinking and worry are bad habits that can be replaced by positive thoughts and productive behavior.
14. Over-scheduling your life
We over-schedule our lives with tasks, obligations, and events that force us to rush from one thing to the next in a frenzy. With little down time to relax and recharge, we’re constantly in a heightened state of activity that leaves us depleted.
15. Cluttering your work space
Physical clutter often reflects your mental state. When you remove clutter, you can improve your mental state. Clutter is distracting and demoralizing and makes us feel out of sorts. Get out of the clutter habit, and your productivity and energy will improve.
16. Tolerating negative people
Certain people can be the biggest energy drains in our lives. We get so used to their bad behavior or negativity that we simply allow it to continue and put up with the annoyances. Tolerating this slowly drags you down and keeps you on constant alert.
17. People pleasing
We think pleasing others will keep everyone happy and prevent the discomfort of letting someone down or making them angry. But when we do this at the expense of our own self-respect and happiness, we deplete our emotional energy.
18. Over-checking your appearance
When you feel overly conscious of how you look, you get in the habit of looking in the mirror over and over to make sure things are OK. The mental energy expended to remind yourself of this only compounds the energy expended to constantly worry about your appearance.
19. Over-checking a bothersome symptom
When you have an unexplained symptom and get in the habit of checking it incessantly, you’re sapping your energy through unnecessary worry and distress. Avoid this tiresome habit by going to the doctor if a symptom lasts more than a week or so.
20. Asking others opinion
When we don’t feel confident in our own judgment, we get in the habit of seeking reinforcement by asking others what they think. This habit alone takes a lot of energy, and add to that the stress of feeling insecure about your inability to make a decision. Practice making small decisions on your own so you can drop the validation habit.
21. Staying up too late
Staying up late throws off your sleep cycle and makes you tired the next day. Getting too little sleep not only sucks your energy, but also it can create a host of physical ailments. Lack of sleep exacts a toll on perception and judgment.
22. Snacking late at night
Late night snacking can cause poor sleep and indigestion. It can unnecessarily add to your daily calorie intake and lead to weight gain by throwing off the body’s metabolic cycles
23. Working too many hours
You may think working long hours makes you more productive. However, too much of anything isn’t good. Working too much can impact your sleep, creativity, relationships, and health. Create a new habit of life balance by leaving work at a reasonable time.
24. Remaining sedentary
Being over-scheduled, stressed, and tired as a result of other bad habits leads to a sedentary life. Because we feel bad, we lose motivation and get in the habit of a being a couch potato rather than exercising. There are so many health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
25. Saying yes when you mean no (or vice versa)
This habit can be a part of people pleasing or simply a result of laziness. It’s more expedient to give the answer with the least resistance. But later we regret it and feel stressed as a result.
26. Assuming the worst
Constantly fearing the worst possible outcome is a dreadful habit. We’re in a state of fight or flight anxiety 24/7. This wrecks havoc on our health and mental well-being.
27. Picking fights with your spouse
When we feel stressed or out-of-sorts, it’s easy to lash out at those close to us. This may temporarily bring relief, but in the long-run, it causes even more stress, depleting our emotional energy.
28. Eating junk food
Junk food has little or no nutritional value. Most of it is empty calories that make you fat and create addictions to more of the same. Junk food doesn’t energize — it depletes you.
29. Buying too many lattes at Starbucks
Not only are you over-caffeinated, but you’re spending too much — not an energy promoting combination.
It might feel good for a few minutes to dish the dirt about someone, but it eventually catches up with you in the form of guilt, mistrust from others, or retribution. Gossip is simply negative, and negative things deplete your energy.
31. Giving up too soon
When things get tough, the tough don’t give up. If you’re in the habit of quitting too soon, you lose self-respect and confidence.
32. Having knee-jerk reactions
Our first reactions aren’t always the best, especially in an emotionally-charged situation. An immediate reaction of anger or defensiveness might be regretted later, causing embarrassment or more problems.
33. Avoiding confrontation
It might feel like you’re saving energy by avoiding conflict, but you’re really just prolonging the problem. It takes energy to hold yourself back from facing a situation and dealing with it.
Lying goes against your integrity. It makes you feel shame, guilt, and anxiety. All of these feelings deplete your energy. A habit of lying undermines the trust others have in you.
When you spend more than you can afford to spend, you create low level anxiety, embarrassment, and guilt. You feel out-of-control and undisciplined. For a while, stop the spending habit cold turkey until you manage the problem.
36. Accepting unacceptable behavior
Family members, children, and work associates can treat you with disrespect. If you allow it to continue, you give away your power and dismantle your boundaries. The pain of the behavior and your habitual acceptance of it is depleting.
37. Leaving your bed unmade
It’s a small thing, but an unmade bed sucks the energy from a room. It looks messy and disorganized. Make your bed daily and get started on an orderly foot.
38. Working on vacation
Vacation is a time to replenish your energy and restore balance in life. Even if you love your work, give yourself a break from it so you can completely refill your tank.
39. Pretending things are Ok when they aren’t
This goes beyond just avoiding confrontation. It’s an active choice to shove down your feelings and act as though you don’t have them. Denying your feelings causes deep emotional turmoil that sucks your energy and joy.
40. Taking things personally
Sometimes our sensitivities get the best of us, but if you’re in a habit of getting your feelings hurt, you might need to examine a deeper cause. Perhaps you’re a highly sensitive person, but you need to adapt to a less sensitive world so others don’t cause you constant pain and stress.
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41. Wearing uncomfortable clothes
A shirt with an itchy tag. Pants that are too tight. A jacket that makes us overheat. We might look amazing and professional, but our clothes are making us crazy. Why put up with that and allow it to distract you? Get in the habit of wearing comfortable clothes that still look great.
42. Focusing on the past or future
Focusing on the past can create feelings of regret and remorse. Dwelling in the future fosters longing and agitation. Put your energy in the present moment, the task at hand. Right now is where you’ll find all your happiness and energy.
What bad habits do you have that deplete you of energy and drag you down? Have you overcome them? If so, please share how you did it in the comments below.