Written by: Jennifer Wren Tolo, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
High-achieving professional women often juggle numerous responsibilities, from demanding careers to family and personal commitments. With so much on your plate, it's essential to maintain energy balance to meet the demands and goals in every aspect of your life. However, certain habits can drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted and even overwhelmed. After years of coaching overextended and overwhelmed women, I have uncovered the top seven habits that can deplete our energy as well as top strategies to overcome them.
Are you aware of the different demands on your time as well as the perceived expectations you have of yourself and of society to consistently meet these demands?
So many high-achieving women have the intention and the desire to be successful in every aspect of their lives: work, family, friendship, and community. But the expectation to do it all, have it all, and show up 100% for all is an unrealistic expectation. You cannot give all of your effort and attention to multiple things at once… something has to give.
What Are Some Of The Habits High-Achieving Professional Women Fall Into On The Quest For Success?
1. Neglecting self-care
High-achieving professional women frequently put others' needs before their own, neglecting self-care in the process. Failing to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being can be a major energy drain. To combat this, make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine, even if it is for five or ten minutes at a time. Schedule regular exercise, set aside time for relaxation, and practice mindfulness or even mindful moments. You can reset your nervous system in just two minutes of deep, conscious breathing. We can all find two minutes to take care of ourselves. Taking care of yourself enables you to be calm, present and focused so you can perform at your best in all areas of life.
2. Overcommitting and overextending
Saying "yes" to every opportunity, project, or favor asked of you can lead to overcommitment. Overcommitting not only increases stress but also drains your energy. Women often do this for fear of missing out (FOMO) or wanting to please others and make them happy – at their own expense. Learn to set clear boundaries and evaluate your availability realistically. It's okay to decline certain commitments when they exceed what you can handle or do not fit your passion or priorities. Prioritizing your time and energy on tasks that truly matter will help you maintain your vitality.
3. Lack of sleep
Sleep is a precious resource, and neglecting it is a surefire way to deplete your energy. High-achieving professional women often sacrifice sleep to meet work or family demands. Often, the stress and overburdened mind inhibits sleep and rob you of the restorative, deep sleep your mind and body require. Quality sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, journal before bed or meditate to clear your mind and make your sleeping environment conducive to rest. Another key is keeping the phone and screen away as the blue light negatively impacts sleep. Adequate sleep will not only increase your energy levels but also enhance your cognitive abilities and decision-making skills.
4. Chasing perfection
Striving for perfection in every aspect of your life can be a double-edged sword. While it drives you to excel, it can also be a major energy drain. Perfectionism often leads to overthinking, self-doubt, and anxiety. To combat this, practice setting realistic goals and focus on progress rather than perfection. Embrace the concept of "good enough" to reduce the mental and emotional toll of perfectionism. Practice self-compassion as you are doing the best you can in the moment and that is enough. Become aware of the tasks or areas you seek perfection in as well as the importance of the task. As yourself, “What if it's not perfect… what will happen?” Then, work on letting go of the things you realize are not important and not worth the time and energy to chase perfection. It is not a realistic goal for anyone.
Many high-achieving women are heart-centered, wanting to help others and be viewed as capable, reliable and effective in what they do. This is one of the reasons we become overcommitted because we have a hard time saying no and setting boundaries. Many women do not want to let others down or disappoint, which is the curse of the people pleaser. The ability and desire to be reliable, and effective and help others is a wonderful virtue, but the drain on your energy occurs when you show up for others at the expense of showing up for yourselves. To preserve your energy and time, it is essential to prioritize and discern what you give your precious energy and time to, when you have enough to give. I have an entire eBook guide dedicated to this very thing, entitled “The Power of NO: Strategies to Reclaim your Time and Energy.”
6. Tight grip of control
To be able to do all you can do, you have to be fairly organized and in control of your world. Many high achievers are planners and like to be in control of their lives to avoid uncertainty and chaos. It is like a juggler managing multiple objects in the air at one time; they are aware of what they can handle, and how many objects before they begin to drop one. This takes control, focus, and energy. However, life is full of uncertainty and unexpected events you cannot control. The energy drain comes when you have a tight grip on control, resisting change to avoid chaos. This is what becomes exhausting as you are meant to adapt to change. The lack of adaptation, and the rigidity is what takes away energy. As I discuss in a recent YouTube video, it is only when you consciously let go, that you even realize the energy leach trying to control things not within your realm of control truly is. You can control yourself, your thoughts, actions, and reactions in the moment, and that is all. You cannot control other people, the future, traffic, or the weather. Once you realize this, you will be able to slowly relax the tight grip you have on control, recognizing, that whatever happens, you’ve got this!
7. Multitasking madness and distraction
High-achievers often pride themselves on their ability to multitask, but this habit can sap your energy, create distraction, and decrease productivity. Constantly switching between tasks can reduce your focus and increase stress levels. So many women pride themselves on multitasking, as we often do it more than men. But, there is a price we pay for it when it’s routinely done. Instead of multitasking, practice single-tasking. Prioritize your most important tasks, complete them one at a time, and maintain your focus and energy levels throughout the day. This approach allows you to accomplish more with less effort.
One of the first steps in reclaiming your time and energy is to become aware of the unconscious and even conscious habits that require energy and time and may take away from your ability to show up as your best selves. Isn’t that what we all want; to be the best that we can be in all aspects of our lives? There are times when you have more energy and time and can do more, be more, and manage more. However, if you do not take the time to reset and refuel your energy with self-care and sleep as well as with activities that bring you joy, you have less energy and time to give. This is why so many women are feeling depleted and are headed towards burnout.
High-achieving professional women face unique challenges in maintaining their energy levels, but by identifying and addressing these energy-draining habits, you can regain control over your lives. Prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, getting adequate sleep, embracing imperfection, balancing pleasing others with pleasing self, letting go more, and adopting single-tasking techniques can significantly boost your energy, allowing you to continue excelling in your career and personal life while taking care of your well-being. Remember, maintaining high energy is not a luxury; it's a necessity for long-term success and happiness.
If you would like support and strategies to help you reclaim your time and energy, manage the stress in your life and begin to take back your power over your own health and happiness, I would love to connect! I invite you to a free connection call where we can begin to understand what may be getting in the way of you living your best life.
Jennifer Wren Tolo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Jennifer Wren Tolo, RN, is a whole health educator, a leading transformation coach and mind, body, spirit connector for high achieving women and mothers who are so busy showing up for others that they "don't have time" to show up for themselves. She has coached women in cultivating calm and peace within themself by finding their inner strength and resilience so they can take back their power over their own health and happiness one thought, one action, one conscious choice, one moment at a time. Jennifer is a stress and resiliency educator and adjunct professor at Endicott College School of Nursing where she teaches "Holistic and Complementary Approaches to Health and Healing."