For the vast majority of people, life is hectic, stressful, and exhausting. With pressure at work, weekend obligations, household chores, kids and/or parents to care for, who has time to date? Or even if you have the time, do you have the energy to meet new people while feeling present and engaged in the process?
As one single woman put it, “I want to make finding a partner a top priority, but I have so many other ‘top priorities’ that I’m left with very little energy by the time the weekend rolls around.”
Sound familiar? If your emotional fuel gauge is reading “E,” consider these suggestions:
Create reserves. One of our society’s most irrational ideas is that we should always push the limits. Maximize your busyness, speed, and efficiency — then increase it another 10 percent! While this approach makes us feel productive, it is hard on our emotional lives. In every area of your life, seek to create reserves — a buffer against the things that deplete you. Allow extra time to complete a project. Spend less than you earn. Get rid of some possessions rather than acquiring more.
Identify your emotional energy boosters. Since all of us are created uniquely, we each have different ways to rejuvenate ourselves. Extroverts get recharged by being around other people. Introverts get recharged by walking quietly in the woods or curling up with a good book. Creative people may need to regularly attend the symphony or art gallery. Nature lovers need to go hiking or work in the garden. Identify your boosters and employ them often.
Dump the drainers. Life is full of people, obligations, and tasks that siphon off our energy. Some we can’t avoid — but some we can and should. Cut back on car trips that leave you stuck in traffic. Steer clear of people who soak up your energy.
Watch out for dating time-wasters. Dating can be incredibly time and energy-consuming. So many texts to return, emails to read, calls to answer, and dead-end coffee meet-ups. Yes, dating often means exploring all possibilities and maybe finding an unlikely partner. But for the sake of preserving your energy, focus on potential partners who offer, well, the most potential. If you’re pretty sure some individuals are not candidates for lasting love, move on.
Maximize optimism. Dozens of studies show that optimists fare better than pessimists in work, school, sports, family life, and literally every other area. Hopeful, positive people are likely to achieve more goals, handle stress more wisely, overcome depression more quickly, and manage problems with far greater effectiveness. It goes without saying that optimists have more enjoyable and successful love lives.
Slow your pace. Even though the posted speed limit on the freeway is 65 mph, everyone zooms along at 80 mph. But is this hurry healthy? A frenzied lifestyle is one of the most pervasive means of running down our emotional energy. Resist the urge to be swept along with our society’s addiction to speed.
Make rest a priority. You may protest, “I hardly have time to do the laundry — when am I going to rest?” But if you are not proactive and deliberate about taking time to rest, the consequences will catch up with you.
Seize every opportunity to laugh. Scientists have proved the cliché we’re all heard, “Laughter is the best medicine.” And if laughter has great benefits for our physical bodies, it is even more beneficial for our emotions. Laughter washes away tension and stress while replenishing your positive energy.
Say no so you can say yes. Most of us have agendas and schedules full to overflowing. One reason is because most of us are not good at saying no to new requests and opportunities. Learn the fine art of gracefully declining: “That sounds wonderful, but unfortunately I just can’t accept at this time.” There, you’ve just left yourself more time for finding your soul mate.