Feeling “depleted” is generally not just one thing. It’s usually both emotional and physical and tweezing the two things apart can be complicated.
For me, feeling depleted is almost always connected to at least two or three other things. The first and usually biggest issue is stress. A lot of us feel depleted. We’ve just been through four years of political insanity followed by a final year (or more) of plague running amok. Whether or not you were financially impacted, that’s some serious stress. Now that it is “technically” over, we are supposed to pop back up like a jack-in-the box clown, ready to move on as if nothing happened.
Except everything happened. Some of us — many of us — saw the gains and efforts of our lifetime gurgle down the drain. Aside from being stressful, it was also demoralizing. If that doesn’t leave you feeling depleted, I don’t know what would.
For this, I have several “hooks” that help. Writing is the first. Photography is the second. Reading is the third. These three things are my “fire wall” when everything feels hopeless. It doesn’t fix anything but it takes me out of my own head. It helps me breathe and sometimes, makes me feel as if I might be accomplishing something, although a lot less so than I felt five years ago. These last horrible years killed some spark I had before and I don’t think it’s coming back.
The other thing is sleep. I’m not a good sleeper and haven’t been in a really long time. At first I didn’t sleep because I had a newborn baby and I was always listening, even when I was asleep. I slept very lightly lest I miss something. Then I was working and I had long commutes and had to be up really early. I never trusted alarms, so I would start waking up as early as four in the morning — and keep waking up every half hour until finally, sleeping was as exhausting as going to work. So I went to work. Everyone thought I was very dedicated, but really, I was a hardcore insomniac. I sure did get a lot done, though.
I may be in a coma all day, but my second wind arrives around 11pm. I get downright lively by midnight. Going to bed earlier may help — or not. Sleeping later depends entirely on how often the telephone rings. It’s not that we have a big social life and it’s friends wanting to get together. It’s recorded phone calls from spammers, scammers, insurance companies, and doctor’s offices reminding me of an appointment a week in the future. Since Garry takes out all his hearing equipment at night, nothing short of being poked wakes him. Modern phones don’t have a “ringer off” button — nor does the cell. I can turn the cell off, but I forget and anyway, it’s the other phone that wakes me. The cell isn’t on as many “lists” as the other phone.
Finally, being sick will keep me awake as will worrying. I’ve gotten much better at turning off the worries and I haven’t been ill at all this year. Not only did I not get COVID. I didn’t get anything. Not a cold, not a sore throat. Nothing. What I did get was a massive allergy attack that started in late March and is just beginning to ease up now. The autumn allergies will pop up in late August but meanwhile, we get a few months off.
When all else fails, watching something gripping on TV or reading (listening, really) to a good book always helps. Audiobooks relax me. I can close my eyes and “see” the book in my head.
Feeding, watching, and photographing birds is a huge help. Taking care of my plants is good. Playing dumb video games can provide a nice mindless few hours. There’s no single thing that does it. Most of all, it’s getting ones head away from stress and doing something proactive — writing (in my case) — or photography. I know a lot of people for whom gardening, knitting, sewing, carpentry, or any other creative or physical activity works. For some, it’s exercise. For Garry, it’s exercise, baseball, and old movies. There is no single solution.
I really don’t know what people who have no hobbies or avocations do to escape — unless, of course, they own a boat and it’s summertime. Or there’s a great local bar.