The Sources of Energy Deficit (That Go Beyond Your Physical Health)

Consider this scenario: you’ve just finished a day at work and have been thinking all afternoon about how you want to approach a goal that’s been on your mind all week.

As the day progresses and you make your way home, you tell yourself, like a broken record, that you need to put your head down and finally get around to completing that one thing you’ve been putting off.

You arrive at your house, drop your stuff, and… fast forward a few hours. It’ll be bedtime before you know it.

What went wrong?

Well, you’ve expended all of your energy; your mind has effectively given up before you’ve even begun.

A lack of energy can manifest itself in ways other than physical exhaustion. It can lead to a condition known as “mental exhaustion.” And it’s a serious problem that affects practically everyone for different reasons.

What if I told you that it’s quite feasible to overcome it? It only needs identifying some of the causes of your lack of energy and devising strategies to deal with them.

Let’s look at the causes of energy deficiency and how to address them.

1. An Unfulfilling Job

Everyone is aware that they work for at least eight hours each day, five days per week. However, if you think about it, 40 hours a week corresponds to about 88 full days per year at work.

In a year, we’re talking about 88 consecutive 24-hour days of work. That means you spend about a quarter of your life at work, not including sleep. That’s a significant amount of time.

So, if your employment is unfulfilling, it’s no surprise that your mental fortitude suffers the most.

Unfulfilling can also refer to one of the following:

  • You hate your job.
  • You’re not learning anything.
  • You dislike the job but get paid well.
  • You’re bored at work.

There are numerous other scenarios, therefore the question arises: How do I know if my employment is unsatisfactory?

Do you have a feeling of exhaustion? Do you look forward to going to work every day? When you’re at work, do you ever consider what you’d rather be doing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should probably rethink your job path.

Why? According to a recent study, job happiness and mental health are inextricably linked[1]. Those who were dissatisfied with their occupations were more likely to suffer from depression and sleep problems.

How to Fix the Problem

Unfulfilling work is a very prevalent problem that people experience all over the world. Some people have no idea what their dream career is, while others lack the necessary abilities to land it when they want it. The first step would be to identify professions that are satisfying.

Make a list of your skills and the subjects you want to learn more about. What kind of jobs would those things be useful for? Take little measures to get where you need to be if you already know what you want to do but lack the necessary skills.

Take an online course, seek out a mentor, or return to school (if you have the time and the means). Is there a job you could do that would help you develop the necessary skills? 

2. Overwhelming Task List

Have a to-do list? Everyone else thinks so, too.

Do you have a lot on your plate? You’re not the only one who feels this way.

Consider the following scenario:

You open your to-do list, eager to start crossing things off. You take a drink of coffee, sit down, and almost fall out of your chair as you realize you have roughly 18 tasks to complete in the next five hours.

And it’s possible that this is contributing to your lack of energy. Overwhelming feelings can quickly lead to burnout. We tend to freeze (or have what’s known as workload paralysis[2]) when we have too many things to do since we don’t know what to do first.

His feeling persists, and before you realize it, the entire day has passed you by, and you’ve spent it doing everything but what you need to do; in other words, you’ve accomplished nothing significant.

Then, as the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, you come to the hard conclusion that you haven’t accomplished all of your goals. When you don’t believe you’re capable of much, it’s a demoralizing feeling.

The discouraging attitude is also a vicious cycle – you start off feeling overwhelmed, don’t do anything about it, then squander time before feeling disappointed — and a surefire way to burn out mentally.

How to Fix the Problem

Divide your to-do list into sections. Move items to your “tomorrow” list, or even a “weekend” list, if you have too many things to do in one day.

Make your list more manageable by putting a time limit next to each item so you can estimate how long it will take to complete the entire list.

3. Saying “Yes” Too Often

“Would you like to see a movie?”

“Would you like to come over?”

“Would you be able to pick me up from the airport?”

“Would you like to grab a bite to eat?”

If you’re a yes person, the word “no” isn’t in your vocabulary. The issue is that it should.

You won’t get anything done in your life if you spend all of your time doing what everyone else wants and none of your time doing what you want.

When you realize months later that you didn’t get very far, you tend to feel defeated, which leads to mental exhaustion, just as in the previous scenario.

The good news is that you can become a “no” person whenever you want and, as a result, start achieving your goals. It’s not easy to switch gears when you’re used to saying yes.

It’s OK to put yourself first. Being able to focus on yourself offers you a tremendous sense of success and, as a result, improves your mental condition.

How to Fix the Problem

If you’re used to always saying yes, saying no will be difficult at first. Begin by saying no to one thing every week.

If you’re scared that saying no would make the other person think less of you, it’s more likely that you’re dealing with a self-esteem issue. It might be time to focus on why you feel compelled to please everyone by refusing to say no.

4. Lack of Hobbies or Passions

Hobbies and passions are what motivate us to achieve greatness. They can guide you to your life’s purpose in many circumstances. In the worst-case scenario, they provide you with a tremendous sense of fulfillment and contentment.

When things at work get rough, it’s crucial to have something to focus on. It’s especially crucial to have an outlet to apply your abilities and energy to when your employment isn’t aligned with your passions or purpose

. Indeed, having something to focus your attention on can help give your life direction and meaning.

Focusing on hobbies or passions can, in a roundabout way, help your professional or family life. [3

] All of this is to argue that applying yourself to things that interest you makes you a much better person, especially mentally.

You get tired of dealing with the ordinary things that life throws at you when you don’t have anything to work towards. Then you grow irritated, and you feel defeated once more. If this irritation persists, it might lead to mental weariness.

How to Fix the Problem

If you haven’t done so in the past, now is the time to schedule some “you” time each day. Give yourself an hour in the morning or evening to do something you enjoy.

Start attempting new things if you don’t have a preferred interest. Accept the invitation to play tennis with a friend or sign up for a free pottery class in town. You never know what you’re going to like.

The Bottom Line

It’s one thing to be exhausted from a lack of sleep. Another factor is feeling exhausted because your work isn’t rewarding, you don’t have any hobbies or passions, you’ve stretched yourself too thin, or you’re overloaded.

It’s critical to understand the differences and work toward overcoming any energy deficits you may be experiencing.

The four resources listed above are a good place to start your search. There are plenty of others, but these are the most prevalent. You can get back on track and feel more energetic in your daily life once you’ve identified the exact problem in your life.


1. Monster: Hating your job is bad for more than just your career

2. Productivity: How to Beat Task Paralysis

3. Psychology Today: Six Reasons to Get a Hobby

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