A drawing of a female character next to a drained battery symbol illustrates the concept of things that drain our energy.

From food, to frenemies, to overpacked schedules, to mountains of stress, there are so many variables in our lives that are depleting our energy. We can call these energy drainers. After 15 years of coaching clients to better health and well-being, I’ve noticed patterns in energetic drains. When life gets the most hectic, we neglect our self-care when we need it most. Many of us are relying on the same vices to get us through the most stressful times in life.

As obvious as the following list may seem to you, I’m always surprised by [people] who know better, but still allow these habits to drain their energy. In moderation, they’re harmless. But over time, if not checked, these power drains leave us zapped of our energy, happiness, and sometimes, our health.

1. Coffee Crazed

That first cup of delicious brew in the morning tastes so good and can help wake you up. I sometimes even start looking forward to it before I go to sleep the night before. However, I see too many women relying on too many lattes to get them through their day.

Too much caffeine overstimulates the adrenal glands, which are responsible for secreting those stress hormones I mentioned back in orange belt. When you’re stressed out your body needs the opposite. It needs to recover and recalibrate from the stress induced by your packed schedule and on-the-go lifestyle.

Slugging Venti cold brew all day may feel like it’s giving you the energy you need to hit your deadlines, but it’s slowly causing wear and tear to your mind and body, overloading it with cortisol and other stress hormones.

2. Wine Time

Have you ever lied to your doctor about how many alcoholic drinks you have per week? Been there! Look, a glass or two of wine at dinner with friends or a margarita at happy hour that amplifies your happiness and adds to the celebratory vibe can outweigh the inflammatory effects alcohol has on the body or the energy slump you may feel the next day.

You may feel like a drink or two after work helps take the edge off, but for some people, alcohol can make it more difficult to process stress and worsen feelings of depression and anxiety. Alcohol can disrupt sleep cycles, not allowing your body to feel fully recharged in the morning, which sets you up to compensate with copious amounts of caffeine.

Alcohol can also lead to more mindless food choices. It’s harder to say no to the side of fries after a glass of rosé.

Check in with yourself and ask how you feel while drinking, and the day after drinking? If you’re experiencing “hangxiety” more often than you’d like, if you’re relying on alcohol to numb out or to escape reality, then it’s a bigger problem than it’s worth. When it starts to disrupt your life, your health, or your relationships it’s time to hit the pause button.

3. Sweet Tooth

Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows that sugar is not their friend, but have you considered how it affects your energy and mental health? When sugar, in all its processed forms, is eaten, it lights up the pleasure center of the brain and releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine. This feeling makes you crave even more.

Just one more spoonful of ice cream, I swear!

And the next thing you know you’ve finished the pint. Over time your body needs more and more to get that same great feeling, aka a sugar high. Sugar sends our bodies on a blood sugar roller coaster, which can make feelings of depression and anxiety worse.

The food industry knows our weakness for sugar so they add it to everything from bread to vitamins, as well as all the obvious foods like your morning cereal and chocolate bars. Large food corporations care about their bottom line, not your bottom and not your brain. They want to sell more food, so they prey on your brain’s ability to become addicted to sugar.

Breaking the addiction of sugary foods can be tricky, but it’s completely possible. And when you do, you take that power back from sugar and big food corporations. Back into your own hands so you can feel great naturally, without mood swings, blood sugar spikes, or a fatty liver.

This excerpt is from Jennifer Cassetta’s new book, “The Art of Badassery: Unleash Your Mojo with Wisdom of the Dojo.” Reprinted with permission from Health Communications, Inc.

Jennifer Cassetta

About the Author

Jennifer Cassetta is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and health and empowerment coach with a third degree black belt in Hapkido and a master’s degree in nutrition. Over the past two decades, she has helped people to feel strong, safe, and powerful from the streets to the boardroom. Her keynotes and trainings have helped tens of thousands of women tap into their innate power, speak up against predatory behavior, and level up their mind, body, and spiritual well-being.