Just like a battery’s power will eventually run out, humans can only keep up a go-go-go pace for so long. Stress and the daily grind of a busy life will catch up to you. If you’re not careful, this can lead to illness. This state can also make you irritable and not very fun to be around. You also probably won’t be all that productive, despite feeling like all you do is work. It’s important to take the time to recharge those internal batteries before you reach this point.
What Doesn’t Work
A lot of people turn to alcohol after a long, hard day. While drinking in moderation isn’t always a terrible thing, it’s not the best way to try to recharge. In fact, drinking too much will only compound the issue. A hangover is only going to make you feel worse.
You probably think that taking a vacation is the solution to all your problems. After all, what better way is there to recharge than taking some time off? It’s true that a vacation can be a good way to refuel, but to rely on vacations as the sole way to keep your internal battery running strong is not the best solution. Sometimes, vacations can actually leave you even more exhausted. Taking periodic vacations is generally a good idea, but it’s important to find little ways to boost your energy much more regularly. Instead of just holding on until your next vacation, you should consider taking mini-vacations. These are little things you can do every day. You should at least fit them in several times a week.
Little Ways to Recharge
Exercise — It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to boost your energy is to expend some in a workout. Exercise can also help clear your mind, minimizing the stressful effects of the daily grind.
Meditation — You don’t have to chant “om” while sitting on a cushion in the lotus position for an hour each day, but meditating can do wonders. Just sitting in silence for five minutes a day, mindfully focusing on your breath can refresh your mind and spirit. You can also try meditative activities, like knitting or even coloring.
Enjoy Nature — Try to spend time in nature. Breathe in the fresh air and pay attention to the beauty around you. Take a walk in the park. Enjoy your lunch on a bench outside. Plant a garden. Get away and spend the afternoon at the beach, or hiking in the woods.
Take a Technology Detox — The constant presence of technology in our lives is often compounding our stress. It’s obviously impossible to completely leave technology behind, but try stepping away from it periodically. A day off, with no computers or cell phones or televisions will be incredibly refreshing. Try to unplug at least once a month. You can also block out small chunks of tech-free time, perhaps an hour each afternoon. During your tech detox, try reading a book or writing in a journal.
Play — Act like a kid again. Try your hand at some of your favorite activities from childhood. Color, build a fort, make something with Playdough or try your hand at something new. The key is to let go and just enjoy the moment. Have fun! If you have kids, this is as easy as taking the time to really play with them. Or, you could host a game night with some friends.
Volunteer — Doing something for someone else is one of the best ways to step back from your stress. Work at a soup kitchen, read to the elderly, become a mentor to a child or help out at an animal shelter. Volunteering gets you out of your own head and can really recharge your batteries.
Take a Nap — Not getting enough sleep is probably a big part of your problem. Adding little power naps into your day can really help. Your body needs sleep for time to recover. After waking up, you’ll have a little extra oomph to make it through the rest of your day. Naps are great, but you should also make it a priority to get more sleep each night.
Daydream — It’s something you might tend to do inadvertently during a meeting, but you can also welcome daydreaming as a positive activity. Let yourself daydream at least a few times a day. You can imagine your next vacation, or think about your future. Just try not to ruminate on your past or think about any current stressors.
Make it a priority to fit some of these little actions into your days. You’ll be happier at work and at home. You’ll be more satisfied and more productive. You should still take vacations when you can, but adding mini-vacations to your days will help prevent total exhaustion and burnout. You’ll get much further with a full tank than you would running on empty, and you’ll also enjoy the ride.