Monday, February 24, 2014

how to recharge your life

My phone is a metaphor for my life. At least I'd like to think it is.


photo: Kelly Sikkema, Creative Commons


I keep it pretty simple, only the necessary apps, and no pointless games. And I make sure that it's always charged up.

Until that one day when I really need it and realize that I forgot to plug it in the night before. I treat my life like a properly ordered electronic device; I usually take time to recharge and I typically only stick to the basics. I guess it's a good way to order one's life. But people are not tiny computers and life tends to relish in throwing curveballs your way.

We have had a few curveballs come our way lately, things I'd love to process out by writing and sharing but things I'm not able to share out loud. And all of those things have made me mentally constipated. I've got a lot to wade through, and my brain seems to be very close to overload status.

So how does a quiet introvert type like me recharge?

This is my plan this week:

Make a schedule. I realize that when I'm close to overloaded I usually begin slipping on things, I forget the important things and neglect the things that really need to get my attention. So I (loosely) write out the week. Having it on paper gets it out of my head, and that leaves a bit more room for processing and decompressing.

Play. Often creative play is just the ticket I need to free up my brain, blow the cobwebs out and allow me to get things in order. By play I don't mean write, although that is something that helps me, but it's not always the creative outlet I need. For me playing means sitting down at the sewing machine, or dragging out the paints, or even moving furniture around. Decorating therapy is often just what I need to decompress.

Rest. Naps are good. And when our brains are overworked and our lives begin to feel overwhelming, there's nothing like a good old fashioned nap to ease things.

Move. Exercise is a good kick starter. When all those happy endorphins are pumping I can't help but feel good about things, and feel more prepared to take on those challenges.

Family. Being with my people builds me up in so many ways. It's very therapeutic to spend time with family and my community of friends who know and love me, and support me during the tricky parts of life.

Prayer. For me prayer is mostly about quiet and listening. Sitting still before God helps me to get the right perspective on so many things. If I am unable to do anything else to recharge, I will always pray first. And then I often pray second, and if all else fails, I pray some more. Because prayer is the only thing that won't fail.

Laugh. Sometimes I just need a little bit of Michael Scott or Leslie Knope. Or both. Didn't someone say laughter is the best medicine? They were right.

So in this week that feels full before we even begin, I'm going to give myself permission to create a bit of mental space. I need to be gracious to myself, and allow time for what fills me back up. Perhaps you need to do the same?

What about you, how do you recharge when you're feeling overwhelmed and drained?

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