How to refuel, recharge + refresh your ‘joy tank’

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Photo source: conniemcleod.files.wordpress.com/

An important lesson I’ve learned since hiring a writing coach and living my best life—while embarking on a journey toward my future self—is that I must affix my own oxygen mask before attempting to care for those around me. In fact, the more I fill my “joy tank”—aka bucket—the happier and healthier I feel. And, with increased energy and enthusiasm to do what I love, including serving others. Because when we consistently function on half empty at best, we risk becoming run down, and/or possibly resentful. If you’re interested in ways to refuel, recharge and refresh your joy tank, check out these ideas to start:

  1. Indulge in a yummy treat
  2. Schedule a DIY “spa” date
  3. Spend time in nature
  4. Take an online class
  5. Play a game or assemble a puzzle
  6. Create something artsy
  7. Embark on a new adventure; e.g., road trip or scavenger hunt
  8. Binge watch your favorite show

How does your joy tank get filled?

(Re)writing your story: happily-ever-now

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If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
~ Mo Willems

Everything we might’ve been taught says running away isn’t the solution. That we should look adversity in the face and show it we’re stronger. But what about when quitting means leaving a situation where we’ve tried over and over yet nothing changes? In her post, “You’re Allowed to Leave,” Rania Naim invites us to let toxic friends go, to surround ourselves with love—people who encourage and nurture us—and to pick the kind of energy we need in our lives. “You’re allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes and you’re allowed to be kind to yourself, you’re allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see.” Leaving might not mean physically. Letting go could simply mean releasing ourselves from the expectations of others and those expectations we’ve adopted as our own. Don’t wait for Someday to be happy. Be happy now.

What does your happily-ever-now look like?

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Cumulative [micro]adjustments are a good thing

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Cumulative micro change

[Image credit: Ambro}

 

So far I’ve learned a few things on my quest to change my life in 14 days: 1) my list of things that drain my energy is too long, 2) my expectations are too high and 3) I can only work on one area of my life at a time. So before I take one more step (forward or backward), I need to re-evaluate where I want to go, how I want to get there, make adjustments and get back on track. This all came to me during a couple of yoga practices this past week: It took me over four decades to get where I am, so it makes sense cumulative micro-adjustments are necessary for healing and change to take place whether it’s inside—or outside—of the hot room. Sometimes that does look like taking a step backward; however, going forward from this place of “starting over” seems to foster a greater sense of self-realization. And slow, lasting change.

How do you feel when starting over?

Step 3 toward a happier me (and you)

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Step 3

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

If you need to catch up with my ramblings and rhetoric to understand my recent fixation, read my posts Two weeks to a new, improved you and Step 2 toward making a positive change in your life in only 14 days. Once you’ve listed everyone and everything that zaps you of energy (step 2), it’s time to focus on the third step: develop your energy-renewal program; i.e., what you need to change in order to be happier and get you on the right path. If you’re not satisfied with your body image, for example, make a plan (keep it real!) to eat healthier (e.g., reduce refined sugar and flour, eat more greens, limit those chips and salsa), log in more Zzzzzs each night (which takes care of a myriad health concerns) and/or make an appointment to address those migraine headaches plaguing you on a semi-regular basis. If your career is stalled, start networking—or consider an entirely new employment focus.

What one thing will renew your energy today?

Step 2 toward making a positive change

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step 2

[Image credit: imagerymajestic]

In my post, Two weeks to a new, improved you, I shared the first step of five to help you change your life in 14 days. I also included a sample from my notebook on how to complete the first step. This post reviews step two: List everyone and everything that drain your energy. Examples can be work life, home life, your relationship with a significant other, your health or body image. If it helps, begin with broader categories and be as detailed and focused as possible. What are the things bringing you down at work—is it lack of communication or a particular colleague? Is your home cluttered, are projects left unfinished or do you spend the majority of your free time picking up after others? Do you need to confront someone about unresolved feelings? Are there certain health issues that cause you frustration? Use this checklist to explore any negative energy in your life to prepare you for step three.

Were you surprised with your list?

A second wind

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As I wrote this post, all I could think about was taking a cat nap.  While I hadn’t done anything particularly strenuous yesterday (a few household chores, tax preparations and a trip to the gym), I felt an afternoon lethargy coming on as soon as I sat down at my computer.  Despite my eight hours of sleep the previous night, I knew I would be no good to anyone later on if I didn’t take 30 minutes to recharge my battery.  Not only would I be better company after a few Zzzs, but I also hoped I’d find my second wind and finish the day’s tasks, as well as tackle some things planned for today … because the I’ll do it tomorrows easily pile up and run into next week or next month.  This can make it hard to do what you really want to do — write, watch The Sports Channel (for some of you), go out for drinks or simply read a good book — when you know your list of to-dos is as long as the hallway between your office and your bed.  Which for me is about 13 1/2 yards.  And since I did find my second wind yesterday, today looks a bit more manageable.

Do naps recharge your battery, or make you feel more groggy?