The other night I went to an acoustic guitar event at KGB in NYC and realized it was my meditation time. I was completely in the moment—free from to do lists, networking events, and schedules. I was completely present, doing nothing other than connecting to the beautiful music pouring out from the guitar and the smiles, laughs, and body movements of the musician against the red velvet curtain. This was a time that definitely re-energized me.
Moments of unplugging are so important in life; especially in our day and age when technology continually interrupts our life and focus. We need to take the time to refuel ourselves from the constant interruption of Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, texts, and emails, and instead give a little self care and thought to refueling ourselves rather than our electronic devices.
We have to take the time, thought, and care to recharge ourselves in order to best serve ourselves and others. We are all human batteries. Every interaction we have either re-energizes us or sucks some of our energy away.
It could be a person, task, activity, situation, or space that is either refueling or de-fueling our energy. You may feel this sensation already. Maybe there’s a friend that always leaves you drained after seeing them, but maybe there’s another friend that leaves you feeling 100% and like your best version of yourself after seeing them? Recognizing this refueling and de-fueling is your first step to true vitality and understanding how to better look for the situations that re-energize you and try to avoid those that drain you.
Why is refueling ourselves and feeling vitality important? Well, how well do you think you can serve others if you aren’t serving yourself?
Caring for your own vitality will help you be your best self, both for yourself and others.
When we’re drained, we feel tired, downtrodden, and let down. When people approach us while we’re in this state, it can lead us to feeling anxious or panicked, because we feel we have such limited energy with which to respond to their requests that we can easily become overwhelmed.
Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities for us to recharge ourselves:
1. Take time for yourself in the morning rather than rushing out the door straight away in the morning. When we give ourselves a little self care in the morning, whether that’s a few minutes of breathing, meditating, yoga, or reading our favorite book, it allows us to better serve those we encounter along our day because we feel some of our own needs have already been met, which allows us to more freely and more easily give of ourselves to others.
2. Rather than picking up a phone call right away, take 2-3 deep breaths before answering. Phones are an incredible technology, but you’re probably in the middle of something when someone calls, so take a few breaths and a few seconds to center yourself and take your focus from what you were doing to reorient that focus to your call so you can give your full attention to the call and the person on the other end of the line.
3. Take time to smell the roses. It’s a cliche, but it’s a good one. Taking time to appreciate the little things in life will recharge you and help give you more energy for facing the challenges you encounter throughout the day.
I love stomping on crisp leaves that cover the sidewalks of NYC in the fall, feeling the sun on my skin when the atmosphere is right so that you can actually see the sunbeams coming through the trees, and watching cherry blossoms fall like snow flakes onto the ground. Those are some of my favorite moments in life that can bring a smile to my face for the whole rest of the day. Taking a moment to appreciate them can help give you that energy boost you need for the rest of the day.
4. Take a breather every two hours during work. I’ve found every 90-150 minutes is the the ideal time to take a quick little break from demanding work. Take a walk around the block or get up from your desk to make a coffee and look out the window a few moments. These miniature breaks give our mind a little rest, allow it to reset, and repair itself for its next couple hours of work.
5. Exercise. Studies have found bouts of ten minutes of exercise spread throughout the day can be just as beneficial as one longer workout, so get in your exercise however you can. Take the stairs up to the office. Take a walk at lunch. Hit the gym after work. Pick up a game of tennis on the weekend. However you can get your exercise in, having a fitter body will help better prepare you, both mentally and physically, for the challenges of the day.
6. Reflect on the people in your life and identify those who make you feel refueled after communicating with them, versus those who leave you feeling drained. Consciously make a decision to see those who refuel you more often, while phasing out those who drain you.
7. Carve out time in your schedule each week just for you. Maybe you paint your nails during this time, take a long bath, or hit the gym. Whatever you decide to do, consider this time sacred just for you and do not accept any work, meetings, or calls during this time. This time is just for you to show yourself a little self care and self love.
8. Start a gratitude journal. At the end of a work day we can feel drained, so the end of the day is a great time to take a few moments to reflect on everything that went well throughout the day or that you’re grateful for.
9. Get a pet! Petting a furry animal for just 10 seconds or more starts to release the hormones serotonin and oxytocin — two calming chemicals that make us feel more relaxed and at peace.
10. Track your accomplishments. Sometimes we can be accomplishing a great deal but fail to truly see or feel that accomplishment. Instead we’re hard on ourselves and try to push forward to the next big thing without taking a moment to celebrate what we’ve already done. Acknowledge your accomplishments and take a moment to relish in them and allow that celebration to refuel you towards your next great accomplishment.
To reiterate, we can best serve others when we have already best served ourselves. Which makes self care and self love some of the most important things we can do in life. Both for ourselves and for others we want to support and engage with.
I challenge you this week to implement just three of the tips from the list each day this week to help recharge yourself daily throughout the week. Hopefully at the end of the week, you’ll feel more recharged and decide to implement another 1-2 of the tips the following week to help refuel you towards your dreams, goals, and best version of yourself.