The Little Things Count: Don't Let Your Emotional Well Run Dry

Reviewed Mar 16, 2017

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Summary

  • Identify what's hurting your mood.
  • Learn to recognize signs of trouble.
  • Nurture yourself.

Imagine your emotions as a well. Sometimes the water level practically overflows, finding you in contentment and healthy psychological functioning. At other times, there might be a drop in the water level, leaving you feeling edgy and out of sorts. Times when the well is parched hurt the most—the times of unhealthy psychological functioning such as burnout, exhaustion, or depression.

You should expect changing water levels, moods that shift and emotions that aren’t perfect—that’s part of the human experience. But don’t let your well run dry. Make little changes in your daily life to help you monitor the level of your emotional well and to replenish it.

Why little changes?

Wells don’t dry up overnight, nor are you likely to go to bed feeling fine and wake up deeply immersed in clinical depression. Little by little, without restoring rains, water levels decline. Barring sudden tragedies and catastrophic circumstances, this is true of your emotions. Little daily nuisances and frustrations evaporate your healthy emotional level, one drop at a time. It makes sense, then, to focus on:

  • Small daily stressors under your control, or at least subject to your attitude
  • Small daily changes that can restore you emotionally

Learn what’s drying up your well

Take a close look at your normal routine. Must you jolt out of bed in the morning in a panic after hitting the snooze button several times? One adjustment you could make is to go to bed a little earlier, allowing you to rise a bit earlier and giving you more time for the demands of your morning.

What else drains your energy throughout the day? Perhaps it is:

  • Helping grumpy children prepare for school. Solution: Set out clothes and make lunches the night before. Try humor to crack smiles on their sleepy faces.
  • Scrambling to get out the door yourself. Solution: Set out your clothes, briefcase, etc. the night before, and make sure you know where your car keys are!
  • Traffic. Solution: Stock up on soothing music or podcasts and relish the time to yourself; try to leave early enough that you don’t have to drive in a panic.
  • Misplacing things. Solution: Try to get organized so you’ll have a place for your keys, glasses, papers, etc.
  • Too much stimulation. Solution: Turn off the TV, computer, phone, etc. and steal away to a quiet place like a park, your bathtub, a cozy reading nook, or wherever you can nurture yourself.
  • People. Solution: Avoid negative, complaining people as much as you can. If you live with them, breathe deeply, practice forgiveness, and refer to the nurturing tips mentioned in the “too much stimulation” section.
  • Excessive workload. Solution: Fulfill your obligations to your boss and family, but put off extra work or things that can wait until your energy returns. If possible, stop bringing work home! You may need to ask for more help at home, or talk with your manager about prioritizing your work so that it is more manageable.

Replenish the well

Investigate which daily “pests” threaten your emotional well-being. You’ll probably discover that something really bugs you one day, and then is no problem the next. Such is the human mood—subject to change! Even so, if you practice a new attitude or remedy to anything that irritates you, you might be better equipped to cope when your mood is low. The bottom line: Seek ways to nurture yourself in spite of life’s frustrations. To start, make sure you are eating nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Take 10 slow, deep breaths whenever you feel tense.
  • Ask yourself if whatever is bothering you will still be important a month from now.
  • Write a list of what you are thankful for.
  • Take a few minutes to enjoy the sunset, clouds, birds, or anything that soothes you.
  • Keep a collection of inspirational or humorous quotes handy.
  • See a funny movie.
  • Go out to dinner.
  • Call a friend.
  • Play with your children, pet, partner … just play!
  • Get a massage.
  • Take a day off.
  • Explore a new hobby.
  • Develop your spirituality.

Signs of drought

Before total exhaustion or burnout occurs, learn to recognize the signs. Here are a few to consider, but you know best how stress affects you:

  • Increased tension, irritability, anxiety, or anger
  • Feeling tired or overwhelmed
  • Frequent tension headaches or stomach complaints
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite

Catching some of these signs early and choosing right away to do a few things to restore peace might prevent a serious drought. If you do feel depressed and hopeless, be sure to seek the help of a doctor or mental health professional. 

Resource

The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time by Cheryl Richardson. Hay House, 2012.

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: “Emotional Well-being,” University of Minnesota Duluth Health Services; “Ways to Create Extra Time for Yourself” Straight from the Heart; Nurturing Yourself and Others by Lee Schnebly. Perseus Publishing, 2000; Stress Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Wellness by Edward A. Charlesworth. Ballantine Books Inc., 1985; 365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan. Conari Press, 1999.

Summary

  • Identify what's hurting your mood.
  • Learn to recognize signs of trouble.
  • Nurture yourself.

Imagine your emotions as a well. Sometimes the water level practically overflows, finding you in contentment and healthy psychological functioning. At other times, there might be a drop in the water level, leaving you feeling edgy and out of sorts. Times when the well is parched hurt the most—the times of unhealthy psychological functioning such as burnout, exhaustion, or depression.

You should expect changing water levels, moods that shift and emotions that aren’t perfect—that’s part of the human experience. But don’t let your well run dry. Make little changes in your daily life to help you monitor the level of your emotional well and to replenish it.

Why little changes?

Wells don’t dry up overnight, nor are you likely to go to bed feeling fine and wake up deeply immersed in clinical depression. Little by little, without restoring rains, water levels decline. Barring sudden tragedies and catastrophic circumstances, this is true of your emotions. Little daily nuisances and frustrations evaporate your healthy emotional level, one drop at a time. It makes sense, then, to focus on:

  • Small daily stressors under your control, or at least subject to your attitude
  • Small daily changes that can restore you emotionally

Learn what’s drying up your well

Take a close look at your normal routine. Must you jolt out of bed in the morning in a panic after hitting the snooze button several times? One adjustment you could make is to go to bed a little earlier, allowing you to rise a bit earlier and giving you more time for the demands of your morning.

What else drains your energy throughout the day? Perhaps it is:

  • Helping grumpy children prepare for school. Solution: Set out clothes and make lunches the night before. Try humor to crack smiles on their sleepy faces.
  • Scrambling to get out the door yourself. Solution: Set out your clothes, briefcase, etc. the night before, and make sure you know where your car keys are!
  • Traffic. Solution: Stock up on soothing music or podcasts and relish the time to yourself; try to leave early enough that you don’t have to drive in a panic.
  • Misplacing things. Solution: Try to get organized so you’ll have a place for your keys, glasses, papers, etc.
  • Too much stimulation. Solution: Turn off the TV, computer, phone, etc. and steal away to a quiet place like a park, your bathtub, a cozy reading nook, or wherever you can nurture yourself.
  • People. Solution: Avoid negative, complaining people as much as you can. If you live with them, breathe deeply, practice forgiveness, and refer to the nurturing tips mentioned in the “too much stimulation” section.
  • Excessive workload. Solution: Fulfill your obligations to your boss and family, but put off extra work or things that can wait until your energy returns. If possible, stop bringing work home! You may need to ask for more help at home, or talk with your manager about prioritizing your work so that it is more manageable.

Replenish the well

Investigate which daily “pests” threaten your emotional well-being. You’ll probably discover that something really bugs you one day, and then is no problem the next. Such is the human mood—subject to change! Even so, if you practice a new attitude or remedy to anything that irritates you, you might be better equipped to cope when your mood is low. The bottom line: Seek ways to nurture yourself in spite of life’s frustrations. To start, make sure you are eating nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Take 10 slow, deep breaths whenever you feel tense.
  • Ask yourself if whatever is bothering you will still be important a month from now.
  • Write a list of what you are thankful for.
  • Take a few minutes to enjoy the sunset, clouds, birds, or anything that soothes you.
  • Keep a collection of inspirational or humorous quotes handy.
  • See a funny movie.
  • Go out to dinner.
  • Call a friend.
  • Play with your children, pet, partner … just play!
  • Get a massage.
  • Take a day off.
  • Explore a new hobby.
  • Develop your spirituality.

Signs of drought

Before total exhaustion or burnout occurs, learn to recognize the signs. Here are a few to consider, but you know best how stress affects you:

  • Increased tension, irritability, anxiety, or anger
  • Feeling tired or overwhelmed
  • Frequent tension headaches or stomach complaints
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite

Catching some of these signs early and choosing right away to do a few things to restore peace might prevent a serious drought. If you do feel depressed and hopeless, be sure to seek the help of a doctor or mental health professional. 

Resource

The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time by Cheryl Richardson. Hay House, 2012.

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: “Emotional Well-being,” University of Minnesota Duluth Health Services; “Ways to Create Extra Time for Yourself” Straight from the Heart; Nurturing Yourself and Others by Lee Schnebly. Perseus Publishing, 2000; Stress Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Wellness by Edward A. Charlesworth. Ballantine Books Inc., 1985; 365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan. Conari Press, 1999.

Summary

  • Identify what's hurting your mood.
  • Learn to recognize signs of trouble.
  • Nurture yourself.

Imagine your emotions as a well. Sometimes the water level practically overflows, finding you in contentment and healthy psychological functioning. At other times, there might be a drop in the water level, leaving you feeling edgy and out of sorts. Times when the well is parched hurt the most—the times of unhealthy psychological functioning such as burnout, exhaustion, or depression.

You should expect changing water levels, moods that shift and emotions that aren’t perfect—that’s part of the human experience. But don’t let your well run dry. Make little changes in your daily life to help you monitor the level of your emotional well and to replenish it.

Why little changes?

Wells don’t dry up overnight, nor are you likely to go to bed feeling fine and wake up deeply immersed in clinical depression. Little by little, without restoring rains, water levels decline. Barring sudden tragedies and catastrophic circumstances, this is true of your emotions. Little daily nuisances and frustrations evaporate your healthy emotional level, one drop at a time. It makes sense, then, to focus on:

  • Small daily stressors under your control, or at least subject to your attitude
  • Small daily changes that can restore you emotionally

Learn what’s drying up your well

Take a close look at your normal routine. Must you jolt out of bed in the morning in a panic after hitting the snooze button several times? One adjustment you could make is to go to bed a little earlier, allowing you to rise a bit earlier and giving you more time for the demands of your morning.

What else drains your energy throughout the day? Perhaps it is:

  • Helping grumpy children prepare for school. Solution: Set out clothes and make lunches the night before. Try humor to crack smiles on their sleepy faces.
  • Scrambling to get out the door yourself. Solution: Set out your clothes, briefcase, etc. the night before, and make sure you know where your car keys are!
  • Traffic. Solution: Stock up on soothing music or podcasts and relish the time to yourself; try to leave early enough that you don’t have to drive in a panic.
  • Misplacing things. Solution: Try to get organized so you’ll have a place for your keys, glasses, papers, etc.
  • Too much stimulation. Solution: Turn off the TV, computer, phone, etc. and steal away to a quiet place like a park, your bathtub, a cozy reading nook, or wherever you can nurture yourself.
  • People. Solution: Avoid negative, complaining people as much as you can. If you live with them, breathe deeply, practice forgiveness, and refer to the nurturing tips mentioned in the “too much stimulation” section.
  • Excessive workload. Solution: Fulfill your obligations to your boss and family, but put off extra work or things that can wait until your energy returns. If possible, stop bringing work home! You may need to ask for more help at home, or talk with your manager about prioritizing your work so that it is more manageable.

Replenish the well

Investigate which daily “pests” threaten your emotional well-being. You’ll probably discover that something really bugs you one day, and then is no problem the next. Such is the human mood—subject to change! Even so, if you practice a new attitude or remedy to anything that irritates you, you might be better equipped to cope when your mood is low. The bottom line: Seek ways to nurture yourself in spite of life’s frustrations. To start, make sure you are eating nutritious meals, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. Here are a few other suggestions:

  • Take 10 slow, deep breaths whenever you feel tense.
  • Ask yourself if whatever is bothering you will still be important a month from now.
  • Write a list of what you are thankful for.
  • Take a few minutes to enjoy the sunset, clouds, birds, or anything that soothes you.
  • Keep a collection of inspirational or humorous quotes handy.
  • See a funny movie.
  • Go out to dinner.
  • Call a friend.
  • Play with your children, pet, partner … just play!
  • Get a massage.
  • Take a day off.
  • Explore a new hobby.
  • Develop your spirituality.

Signs of drought

Before total exhaustion or burnout occurs, learn to recognize the signs. Here are a few to consider, but you know best how stress affects you:

  • Increased tension, irritability, anxiety, or anger
  • Feeling tired or overwhelmed
  • Frequent tension headaches or stomach complaints
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite

Catching some of these signs early and choosing right away to do a few things to restore peace might prevent a serious drought. If you do feel depressed and hopeless, be sure to seek the help of a doctor or mental health professional. 

Resource

The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time by Cheryl Richardson. Hay House, 2012.

By Laurie M. Stewart
Source: “Emotional Well-being,” University of Minnesota Duluth Health Services; “Ways to Create Extra Time for Yourself” Straight from the Heart; Nurturing Yourself and Others by Lee Schnebly. Perseus Publishing, 2000; Stress Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Wellness by Edward A. Charlesworth. Ballantine Books Inc., 1985; 365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan. Conari Press, 1999.

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