Our Inner Batteries?
And what if up until now the internal system worked. We somehow knew what to do and did all the things that helped us feel charged; sleeping well, connecting with others, eating nutritious food, doing things that provide pleasure (e.g. days out, trips, concerts holidays, meals walks) or achievement (e.g. work, with known and predictable work roles, undertaking projects and meeting challenges).
Perhaps we feel that we are still doing all of the above, but things are not quite the same. It’s not possible to hug our friends or family members (when they do not live with us). Our work may have changed, we may now be working in a different setting or team or maybe the things we loved about our jobs (human contact, being on the go) have suddenly disappeared.
We may worry more, not even about specifics. It can be harder to get to sleep at night, when we usually are able to let go and relax, we may start questioning ourselves “what’s wrong with me?”, “I should be able to cope?” or “will be able to cope with what might come?”.
We all can feel like that
It is important to remember that we all can feel like that, more now that ever. That we all worry and criticize ourselves from time to time.
What if the feeling of being overwhelmed, tense, agitated or questioning oneself, which can sometimes come out as angry outbursts or tears, may be a mere indication of our battery needing to be recharged? Consider this is not a time to question yourself. We wouldn’t get angry with our phone running out of battery? (ok if you are anything like me; you could get annoyed at yourself for letting your phone go flat…) However, this never works; what works best for a phone out of charge is simply connecting it to the power source.
What keeps us alive?
What are the sources that keep humans truly alive? There are the basic ones that we all need: nourishing food, sleep/rest, shelter/sense of safety. There is also the sense of connection – with others, with nature – and now more than ever we need to rely on our inner capacity to plug into these sources, in order to charge.
Tools that can help your batteries recharged
Modern psychology has taught us that planning and balancing daily activities those associated with either achievement, pleasure or connection can help restore our inner battery.
How this could look in practice: maybe considering your daily activities and reflecting on what brings you a sense of pleasure (having a bath, going for a walk, watching favourite show etc.) what brings you a sense of achievement (cleaning worktops, doing laundry, finishing a piece of a project, making a meal etc.) and bring you a sense of connection (phoning a friend, playing with your child/pet, planning an online meeting etc.). It is important to plan in the morning or a day ahead not waiting for the motivation to come, and reflecting on after how doing something influenced your inner batteries.
You can surprise yourself discovering how simple activities can bring nourishment.
Gratitude, savouring and serving can help bring a magnifying glass to everyday moments that can also recharge and replenish our inner battery. Taking the time to consider the things we are grateful for can significantly increase our sense of wellbeing, as shown in studies by the pioneer of Positive Psychology Dr Martin Seligman. And there are lots we can be grateful for, small things like a cloudless sky, warm coffee, comfortable bed and for things that we still have today; loved ones, food on the table, spring blossoming, kids getting along (even if only for short periods of time) or the Wi-Fi working.
Connecting in the present moment and savouring any good moments is another powerful tool. It may be at work we experienced a really stressful period but we came out the other end (maybe not perfect but good enough!). Savouring a moment means letting yourself feel it, acknowledging the sense of achievement and tiredness that comes with it, whilst also cultivating an inner voice recognising a “job well done” and allowing yourself to savour the sense of satisfaction.
Or savouring the pleasant moments during the day – a warm cup of tea, the yellow daffodils or freshly washed bed linen when you allow yourself to be fully present and engage at the moment using all our senses. It may also be possible perhaps to allow our thinking mind to rest at this moment – letting our mind take a break from needing to sort, plan or deal with all the things on our to do list!
Serving means allowing ourselves to do something for others. Reaching out and connecting with the world with a question “how can I help?”, it could be calling somebody and asking “how are you?” or doing something that may benefit someone else. This could include cooking a special meal, writing an email, chatting to a neighbour over the fence, spending time with your family member and really being interested in them. This may mean playing Lego with your child or listening to someone tell a detailed description of their gardening experience or smiling to the person that passes us in the street when we are out. We can do all these things absent-minded, already on to the next task and what is next on our list. However, if we try to bring deliberate attention to these activities, whilst considering each one as a gift from us to the other, our experience might shift. We might notice feeling more energised and fulfilled by contributing to the better world.
And last but not least sometimes we all need a bit of a helping hand. Space where you can be reminded that we are all human, that it is ok not feel ok, that we all need rest and that our batteries need to be recharged.