The more drained we are the harder it is to operate in our ideal state. We have a harder time being productive, our mental clarity goes down, we become less patient and flexible, and the harder it is to see things from the other people’s perspective. This means that both our professional and personal lives can be damaged by being chronically drained.

But how do you know when you’re getting drained? In Develop Your Element we advocate regenerating frequently and proactively – that means, as soon as you’re starting to get drained, and not only when you are completely worn out and unable to think.

General warning signs for everyone include reduced mental clarity and productivity, and once tension, stress, and anxiety start building up. However, each element has their own tendencies when drained, which could serve as little signals that it’s time to change up your routine.


  1. You are getting too easily distracted and not getting anything done.
  2. You are jumping from one idea to the next so fast that no one, not even you, can keep up.
  3. People might be getting unusually annoyed or overwhelmed by your pranks and jokes, or you might even be turning more negative, snappy, and conflictive.
  4. You are having an unusually hard time sitting still, focusing on individual tasks, or being serious during formal occasions.
  5. You feel like casting away your responsibilities in favour of more freedom, and you no longer want to work.


  1. You are becoming too pushy, and draining or overwhelming the people around you.
  2. Your intensity is dominating or burning other people. Think: am I letting others speak and share their own ideas and opinions?
  3. You are taking too many shortcuts and uncalculated risks, leaving holes or gaps in the foundation of your projects.
  4. Short-sightedness – you are seeking out short term benefits at the cost of long term results.
  5. You are starting to get defensive when you feel your authority is being challenged, or you are making an extra effort to look good or position yourself at the top, and forgetting to respect and lift others up in the process.



  1. You are feeling unloved and unsupported, even when you have family and friends who love and support you.
  2. You are holding on so tightly to your relationships that you end up pushing them away, or getting too emotionally attached to people you just met.
  3. You are reacting emotionally to things that do not normally upset or affect you.
  4. Everything feels like a personal attack, and you are getting defensive, angry, or in victim-mode very quickly.
  5. You are making and breaking personal connections very quickly, perhaps falling instantly in love and then breaking up over small things, or making new best friends and then turning them into enemies.



  1. You are feeling unheard and overlooked, or as if all the responsibilities always fall on you.
  2. You are slowing down progress in an attempt to reach consensus or harmony.
  3. You are worrying excessively about other people’s wellbeing, perhaps even losing sleep over it.
  4. You are neglecting your own needs – not sleeping well, eating well, or taking care of yourself in an attempt to help others first.
  5. You are abandoning or neglecting your own projects and personal interests in order to help others.


  1. You are getting extra controlling of your personal space – the mere thought of someone touching your stuff or entering your room is causing you anxiety, and you’re snapping at people who do touch or move your stuff.
  2. You are disappearing from social obligations for long periods of time, and the thought of seeing another person is enough to drain you for several hours or more.
  3. Speaking or getting out of the house requires excessive energy, even in low-pressure situations.
  4. Your “observant and analytical mind” are taking a pessimistic turn, and you can easily think of everything that is wrong – or could go wrong – in your life and in the world.
  5. Everything seems more high-pressure than usual, and you’re imagining everyone’s expectations of you that you’re not living up to.


  1. Your direct comments are hurting other people more than usual, and they are coming across more aggressive than you mean for them to be.
  2. You are setting standards (for yourself and others) that not even you can reach.
  3. You are getting frustrated and stressed to the point that it is making you snap at others very easily.
  4. Challenges seem insurmountable, and it seems impossible to fix the problems at hand, making you feel helpless.
  5. You are having trouble thinking clearly, and making silly mistakes in your work.

If any of these are resonating with you, it is probably time to invest a bit more time and energy on yourself! Even if you’re a busy person, you can find ways to regenerate on the go – such as in transit and in the shower (Time to sing and dance in the shower? Listen to audiobooks in the car?) – and make small adjustments to how you work (Can you make your work more social and collaborative? Can you hide out in the bathroom more often, or work from home sometimes?).

If you have no clue how to regenerate, check out out the post WHAT ARE REGENERATIVE SPACES? for a beginners guide on regenerative spaces and how to maximize their benefits.

How do you know when you’re getting drained? Let us know in the comments!

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