Nowhere in my list of 45 things did the phrase “recharge my batteries” appear. But I think it is important to talk about. I work in a job where I always have to be “on”. Throughout the day I welcome students and parents and teachers into my office, where I listen to their struggles and offer them a space to unload their worries. I spend time in classrooms, in hallways, in the office, in meetings – all with people. I love working with people. I love knowing that the work I do makes a difference in others’ lives. I love my family, and having them around. There is nothing about any of the interactions I have with people that I find particularly unpleasant.
But I have also recently accepted that I am an introvert. I need down-time. I need alone time. I absolutely require having time to sit and think and read and reflect. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy spending time being social. But, like many introverts, at a certain point, I have to leave and get back to my safe space, my home.
One of the items on my list was to read a book just for fun every month. This has been a great opportunity for me to intentionally spend time alone, not engaged in conversation. I have read about families and traditions and courage. I have enjoyed getting into the minds of writers, teachers, athletes and bakers, the hurt and the healing. I am also enjoying listening to audio-books on my way to work – biographies and personal development books that I listen to and relate to. I know I will surpass my goal in this area.
Why is this so important? For a long time I believed that keeping busy was a sign of productivity. I thought that not taking the time to rest and recharge was a sign of strength. I learned very quickly over the past months that not taking that time to care for myself, to acknowledge my need for some solitude and peace leads to my feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and burned out. To address this need, I now make time to be silent, to read, to play guitar. I would love to make time to walk in nature more, to listen to the wind in the trees, to look up at the stars and ponder.
How do you recharge your batteries? Do you read? Write? Work out? Go out with friends? Sit by the shore of a lake or an ocean? I would love to hear how you restore your energy. And if you are feeling overwhelmed, I challenge you to take a little time, find something that brings you joy and peace and a renewed sense of self-empowerment, and do that thing. We all need a boost sometimes.