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When You Feel Depleted

dining room office, december 2015

Lately, I’ve been doing more writing than usual. I’ve been editing and proofreading my forthcoming book, Make a Mess. I’ve been creating content for the book’s website and for my updated personal site. I’ve been creating an e-book and answering written questions about the book.

All of this is incredibly exciting.

But it also depletes me. To make time for the extra work, I’ve been scaling back on my workouts, which are a huge part of my self-care routine. I’ve been sitting for long hours. I’ve been getting less sleep. I’ve rarely been cooking or just lounging around. I haven’t had much space — space to waste time and let ideas percolate. I’ve felt as though I have to be productive, useful and efficient most minutes of the day.

Last night I could feel the frustration mounting. The exhaustion. The emotional fatigue.

I was worried about taking a break because I thought I’d never return to my work if I did. But I just couldn’t will myself to type another word. I just couldn’t do it.

So after writing out an outline for an article, I got up, and settled into our big, puffy couch and wrapped myself up in my parents’ wool blanket. I turned on some reality TV, shut out the world and vegged out for a few hours.

It was glorious.

Then I got up, walked over to the dining room table, and wrote my article — much faster than if I’d tried to will myself to write it.

We know the importance of breaks. This isn’t new or revolutionary. But we hesitate to take them, because we think to ourselves: “I could be doing laundry right now. I could be washing the dishes. I could be starting my presentation.”

But if we’re depleted physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, none of those things matter. Simply, you’re worth more than those tasks. Your sanity, health and well-being are worth more than those tasks.

The dishes, laundry, project, article can wait. Of course, sometimes, you have a deadline. A deadline of yesterday. But taking the smallest, sweetest break can help you to restart and reboot.

If you can relate to feeling exhausted right now, what is the smallest action you can take to replenish yourself? To feel better? To feel alive and re-energized? To feel soothed?

This might be vegging out on the couch and watching Christmas movies or ridiculous reality TV. It might be taking a nap. It might be listening to a guided meditation or repeating a comforting mantra. It might be taking a 30-minute break to run outside or popping in a yoga DVD. It might be sitting for five minutes with a cup of coffee or eating breakfast, lunch or dinner not in front of the computer.

Whatever it is, I hope it brings you whatever you need.

I’ll be back with a few pieces this weekend. For everyone who’s celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful, very merry Christmas. And if you’re not celebrating Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful, very merry day! I’ll be celebrating with my in-laws, watching favorites like “Holiday Inn” and eating a whole lot of yummy food. 🙂

When You Feel Depleted

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2015). When You Feel Depleted. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Dec 2015
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