Recharge Your Batteries

Take a Walk in the Woods - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

Take a Walk in the Woods - Photo by Susan L. Davenport

Over the last year, we’ve discussed many ways to take care our ourselves: eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, drinking water, laughing, getting out in the sunshine, and more. We’ve even discussed how our personality type determines which methods are most effective for us. But, despite all that information, it is still difficult to do.

“Most truly successful entrepreneurs share a common belief that no amount of success is ever enough. But even with an insatiable drive to be the best, successful entrepreneurs know that they too must take breaks and recharge their batteries to continue to grow their businesses.

Voluminous studies show that people are more productive at work when they don't eat at their desks but take a lunch break and then return refreshed for the afternoon haul. The same logic applies to larger times away from the office as well. Every so often even the most driven of us need to step away to relax. In turn, when we come back we are more focused and ready to tend to the tasks at hand.” (Swyers, 2013)

I remember what it was like when I worked for someone else. I always looked forward to taking a vacation and getting away. When I became a full-time caregiver, getting away was no longer easy. It is just simpler for my husband to manage at our home where he knows his way around. Of course, we don’t have to go someplace to relax and recharge, but it is much easier to forget your to-do list when you do.

“Do you ever feel guilty just picking up a book and sitting on the couch in the middle of the day? I most certainly do. Why is it that we always feel we have to be doing something? Probably because there is always something that could be done. Despite this reality, sometimes we have to just push aside our type A voice for the betterment of our mental, physical and emotional selves. Recharging our batteries can lead to improvements in all aspects of our lives.” (Sara Taylor, 2014)

Yes, I feel guilty when I stop working. I’m always working. Even when I’m walking down the road trying to give Toby some exercise my brain is twisting plot ideas around or trying to figure out what to blog about that week. I work from the moment I get out of the bed until late at night because there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything I want or need to get done finished.

 “I have often thought that we should be able to bottle the feeling you have at the end of a vacation - before you travel home. If you have ever spent more than a week on a tropical holiday, you may find you start to become accustomed to not rushing around, having a decluttered mind and feeling detached from your usual worries. Unfortunately, the travel home alone often depletes these feelings so by the time you go back to work, the benefits of your vacation are hard to conjure in your mind.

“What we need to really start focusing on in our progressive society is slowing down. The medical culture doesn't support this concept, which is why burnout is becoming an epidemic. Our European counterparts seem to be more relaxed living by the mantra 'work to live' not 'live to work.' In fact, indulging in a culture where work and life are balanced will improve productivity through enhanced happiness and peace. The benefits will spill over into your relationships with other people, and most of all, yourself.” (Sara Taylor, 2014)

I know this is true. I find myself more able to handle the day to day frustrations of my life when I’m rested, and my brain isn’t frazzled. I know I need to set time aside to rest and recharge, but sometimes it seems that setting aside time to take care of myself is just adding more tasks to my to-do list.

“It is very important for the battery of our cell phone to be recharged so that it does not run down otherwise we will not be able to make a call. Same goes for our computer, laptop or car. If your car-battery is down, the car will not start, and you will have to recharge it before it does.

“Living creatures operate in a similar manner. Each of them has an internal battery and an internal charging mechanism. The creature has to reinforce it. If it is allowed to run down and it is not recharged, the living creature will stop functioning meaning it will die.

“In the game of life, call it the game of successful living, we need to constantly recharge our batteries otherwise we burn out and end or lose the race.” (Recharge Your Personal Batteries, 2017)

I have a dream. I want to learn to write fiction well. I want to finish my novel and get it published. I want my book to give others enjoyment when they read it. In September, after struggling two years trying to learn how to write, I set myself a goal and hired a writing coach. I want to finish the first draft of my novel by March-April of 2018. So far, I’m doing well – I’m almost 30% through the book. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s equivalent to 30,000 words. Words that I’ve written over and over as I learned more about writing well. This is something I love to do more than any other activity I’ve tried, but it isn’t easy. Several hours of intense writing is exhausting – my brain literally gets tired.

Today, many book publishers will not even consider buying an author’s book unless they have a readership. Which for many new writers means a blog. So, it is important for me to continue writing my blog and hopefully enticing more people to subscribe.

But I also have an important responsibility, I am a full-time caregiver for my husband. He isn’t bedridden, or unable to walk to the bathroom on his own, but he stills needs me close by most of the time. In addition to taking care of him, I do all the cleaning, bookkeeping, errand running, cooking, decision making, etc. Life is busy around here, but my husband is important to me, so doing this for him is important as well.

Many of you out there are very practical, and you’re probably saying, “Why don’t you give up the writing for a while and just take care of your husband and your home. That way you’ll have time to rest.” But I’m an idealist who hates spending time on repetitive, tedious tasks, like housework. If that’s all I did every day, I would shrivel up and die from the inside out. I think a person needs something to be passionate about, something that makes them happy, to be healthy.

“An individual’s natural state of being is to be vibrant and fully alive. Yet many of us live out our daily lives feeling run down and constantly experiencing low energy.

“If you are feeling worn out on a regular basis, my suggestion to you is to take a look at your thinking style. As you examine that key component, also consider how you are currently feeling and acting.

“While doing so, it’s likely you will uncover a behavior pattern that is not aligned with your beliefs. Alternatively, you may find you are in a relationship that is out of alignment with who you really are.

“Ask yourself: What am I thinking? Are my thoughts positive or negative? Who am I spending time with? Is my energy enhanced or diminished? What projects am I involved in? Do they take me towards my goals or away from them? Finally, are the things that I do what I want to do, and are the relationships I am in where I want to be?” (Samakow, 2014)

I’ve been struggling for a few weeks now, working even harder to get everything done, but this week everything came to a head. I got so tired, I had to stop. I stopped working at 3:30 in the afternoon, rather than working until evening. But sitting there watching mindless TV wasn’t helping. I was worried about my husband, creating possible problems in my mind. I was worried about what my writing coach was going to say about my latest chapter. I was worried about finding a topic to write about for the blog this week. By nine pm I was approaching a full-blown panic attack, and I realized I had burned my candle down way too low.

I am fine now. I managed to avoid that panic attack because my warm, sweet Toby curled up beside me in the big chair while I journaled and prayed. I spent time counting my blessings and reviewing how I’d ended up in that situation. And believe it or not, I added bright, positive stickers to my journal – happy birds, smiley faces, and quotes – evidently, I’m a sucker for bright, positive stickers.

By the time I went to bed, my attitude was much better. But, I know that if I keep working at the same pace I’ve been working for the last few months it will just get bad again, so I’m going to make some changes. Starting this month, November 2017, I’m going to blog on the first and third weeks of the month, rather than every week. Hopefully, this will give me more time to think of interesting topics to share with you. 

Every one of us has dreams and responsibilities. We all have busy lives that make it hard to get things done. Society has made it the norm to run constantly and think we need to strive to work even harder. But perhaps that mindset is one of the problems in our world today. Perhaps we are all so self-focused and tired from running so fast and hard, we don’t have the tolerance for each other we once had. Perhaps being that tired and burned out makes it easier to think it’s acceptable to blast someone else because they don’t share our viewpoint on politics, religion, or even sports.

So, as we head into the busy holiday season of this year, ask yourself how you’re doing. Are you tired all the time? Is your head full of negative thoughts? If your answer is yes, then maybe it’s time to recharge your own batteries and slow down a little. Life can be full of blessings if we will just slow down long enough to notice them. Good luck my friends. Have a wonderful week.