In a world with endless demands on your time, a growing to-do list, and the pressures created by social media to be nearly perfect, exhaustion is more the norm than not. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by the National Safety Council, 97 percent of working Americans have at least one of the leading risk factors for fatigue. How does this impact your relationships? In more ways than you might think.
In Denver, Colorado, our team of therapists regularly observe the impact of fatigue on relationships. Being spread too thin, having too much pressure (from work or otherwise), and emotional imbalances related to depletion are far too common. Here’s what to look for and how to prevent this reality from negatively impacting your relationships.
How depletion happens
Work is demanding, no matter what you do. If you are interested in excelling in your role, likely you’ll have to put in more than a handful of hours a week. Not to mention, even when away from your office, you are likely thinking through a work challenge or brainstorming a solution during your evenings and weekends.
On top of work, social pressures are always present, and fear of missing out (FOMO) creates an environment in which you likely don’t want to say “no” to a social invitation. It might feel “important” to be tagged in a social media post at the latest restaurant opening or concert. The pressure to portray a certain image, say “yes” to invitations due to the fear of offending others, and keeping up on the latest happenings in your area can be a full-time job.
Managing the demands of work and an active social life is challenging enough. Throw children, aging parents, an exercise regime, and/or necessary weekly chores into the mix, and depletion happens fairly quickly.
The role of social media
While it might appear on the surface that social media results in positive connections with others, it can also contribute to feelings of exhaustion and inadequacy. Because social media is simply a highlight real of one’s life, it might make you question whether you are good enough, and even create anxiety due to the tendency to compare yourself to others. Not to mention, social media can be addictive, as most Americans check their timelines multiple times a day, a habit that detracts them from what’s important. The expectation in this digital age is instantaneously engagement, which can be draining. All the time spent on Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, and LinkedIn could be replaced by something more nurturing and fulfilling. Furthermore, social media can impact sleep. Many people scroll through their social media channels before bed, become distracted by what they are viewing, and cut into the few hours a day they have set aside for both self-care and rest.
The impact on your relationships
When life gets busy and time is limited, some of the first things that people sacrifice are sleep, exercise, and healthy eating. These things eat into a lot of one’s time and are not always viewed as “necessary”. Yet, when these foundational needs aren’t being met, higher level functioning, that is required for a successful relationship, goes to the wayside. Evaluate whether you have dismissed any primary needs due to restraints on your time, and determine how this shift in your priorities might be impacting the energy you have available for your romantic partnership.
It’s impossible to give to someone else if you are too empty, emotionally or physically. Since the time in each day is fixed, when you sense that depletion is negatively impacting your relationships, it’s time to evaluate your priorities based on your values, and determine what should rise to the top of your commitment list, and what must be a secondary priority. Start by having an honest look at your own life, determine what is fueling you and what is draining your energy, and respond accordingly by saying “yes” and “no” to the right type of invitations moving forward. Start to understand where healthy boundaries can contribute to more balance in your life.
If you feel checked out in your partnership, too busy to connect with your partner in a meaningful way daily, or too fatigued for physical intimacy, it’s time to understand whether fatigue and depletion is the culprit of your disconnection. Our team of therapists in Denver, Colorado helps individuals understand how to overcome depletion and free up more time and energy for the important relationships in their life. We start with a free consultation to learn more about your unique challenges. Contact us to schedule yours today.