Do you feel emotionally drained after your work day? There is a way to get your energy back!

Confession:  I slept a good part of the day away yesterday.


I’m battling my usual seasonal allergies plus I didn’t sleep well the night before. I thought “It’s understandable – I’ll take an allergy pill, a long nap and I’ll be fine.”  And I was – for the most part – I wasn’t 100% – but I was able to pull myself together, shower and enjoy a family dinner and birthday party later that afternoon.


This feeling reminded of how I would often feel this way when I worked in corporate earlier in my career.  The truth was, I felt this way pretty much every day AND I did not have confidence that anything could help me to rally and get productive or feel energetic.  Can you relate?


  • Do you feel tired before you go to work (even if you slept well the night before)?
  • Do you anticipate that you will be drained physically and emotionally by events that will surely come up at work each day?
  • Do you doubt you will have the energy to deal effectively with your work each day (no less accomplish a few goals)?
  • Even if you had the energy, do you doubt that your energy and efforts would make a difference?
  • Do you feel emotionally drained after your work day?


There is a way to get your energy back!

If you answered YES to most of these questions, you may have (or on the brink of) emotional work exhaustion.  This type of exhaustion is characterized by feeling, tired, weak, a general lack of energy, lethargy, depression or a general inability to take action.


Did you know?:  Exhaustion is a key aspect of job burnout and the factor most relevant for health affects.  


Prolonged exposure to any of these factors (or giving too much focus to these factors) without remedial action may leave you at greater risk for emotional work exhaustion – mind you, these are just some of the factors that can drain you:


  • abusive leadership – we all know what it feels like to work for a jerk boss – but here are some specifics:  verbal abuse, breaking promises, placing blame especially when it isn’t your fault, displaced anger, rudeness and sharing negative emotions.  Charming isn’t it?
  • low physical activity – a regular fitness routine can work wonders – even just 15 minutes a day.
  • obesity – is it time to seriously consider salad?
  • diminished resources – are you chronically expected to perform amazing feats of accomplishment without adequate people, technology, time, knowledge, etc. ?
  • withdrawal tendencies – using avoidance as a method for dealing with unresolved issues, low job involvement (i.e. doing the absolute least amount you have to do to get the job done or avoiding socializing with your co’s), or the care and feeding of a desire to quit are a few common examples.


So you can see from this partial list of causes – it’s not all your jerk boss’s fault – some of it is directly in your control AND THAT IS GOOD NEWS!  Anything in our control is always good news.


Here’s some more good news…


You can remedy the stuff that is out of your control too!


It’s all about balancing out vigor-sucking conditions with vigor-giving conditions.  I always tell my clients (and my kids) to follow a simple formula…


The magnitude of the “I don’t wanna” task/experience (must be less than or equal to) the magnitude of the “unreasonable self-care” task/experience.


That means for every vigor-sucking condition you must endure – counterbalance it with vigor-giving experience.  It looks like this:


The Daily Energy Spectrum


_                                                                                  +

Exhaustion                                                                            Vigor


Here are a few vigor-giving remedies to combat periods of work-related vigor-sucking experiences:


  • Practicing positivity – This means practicing joy, interest/curiosity and exploring things that ignite passion and excitement within you.  There’s a reason the most popular course of all time is the Positive Psychology course at Harvard University.  People want to know if they can experience happiness despite their conditions – you can!  A great resource here is Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff or anything written by Shawn Achor.
  • Practicing ingratiation – I once had a co-worker who always seemed in a good mood and she handled our sometimes jerk boss flawlessly.  One day I asked her how she stayed so positive in his presence – she said “I kill ‘em with kindness”.  It made no sense to me at the time – but now I get it.  This is the southern belle strategy – “Kill ‘em with kindness”.  Using flattery or doing favors for others (even if they don’t deserve it).   This puts you in control – don’t let what you will do or how you will feel be dependent on how others are treating you.  Have a simple “plan of attack” for bad moods that come your way – simply listen to understand the source of another’s problem and assure your help or support.  A simple “I feel so badly for you that you are dealing with this – I’m going to help you – what would you like me to do first?”  That kind of comeback is going to seriously change the situation – even for the worst kind of jerk.  TRY IT!!!
  • Concentrate on nurturing your emotions vs. solving problems – vent how you are feeling (not what happened) if you need to when you are stressed to a trusted person WHO DOES NOT WORK WITH YOU (i.e. your partner, sibling, friend, etc.).
  • Detach from work during non-work time – this means turn off your cell, don’t look at email or social media related to work and do something either social or relaxing – don’t “do nothing” (i.e. avoid anything that involves sitting on a couch).
  • Laugh your ass off – According to Psychology Today there are a four types of humor – you want Affiliative humor ONLY.  Affiliative humor is “G-rated” humor – i.e. jokes about everyday life.  It’s humor that creates “fellowship, happiness and well-being”.  Think about things you can laugh at with your kids. I love to watch Kid Snippetts – short, funny – check it out!  The other types of humor:  aggressive humor, self-enhancing humor, or self-defeating humor should be avoided.  These types of humor involve insults, put-downs, making yourself or others the target of the joke, or joking about bad things that have happened.  It can be a totally funny kind of humor at times – but it’s best to avoid it while you are recovering from work-related exhaustion.
  • Social time after work – be sure you are talking about positive things such as positive emotions, teamwork, and nurturing others at work.  This isn’t the time to rehash what your jerky boss did or said to you or anyone else.  Whether you are talking to your partner over dinner or out for drinks with co-workers – keep the chatter on the positive end of the daily energy spectrum.


In summary, periods of daily exhaustion can be healed by daily doses of the right medicine.  Try to remember this simple daily formula for recovery:


  1. Detach
  2. Socialize
  3. Relax
About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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