Unplugging to Recharge

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how best to recharge my batteries, so to speak.  It’s not just a matter of getting enough rest or sleep, nutritious food and exercise, or even time away from work and the computer – though all that helps, of course.

There’s something about refilling my well that has been eluding me. What balances all the reading/writing/teaching/coaching/learning that I do?  It’s not just rest. And even some seemingly restorative activities – like reading fiction for fun – don’t really work because it’s just more words.

Aha. I need something engaging that doesn’t involve words. I need problems to solve that don’t use that linguistic part of my brain… hmmm…

Um. Hello. It’s me. Your studio. Remember me? All you have do is spin around in that new fancy new chair of yours and you’re in another world. Want to give it a try? Not in the mood right now? That’s okay. Get up and go to the garden. Or the kitchen. Just make something without words.

It’s not just enough to unplug from work activities. In order to recharge my batteries, I need to plug into something else.

• • • • •

Since unplugging from work and plugging into something else is a challenge for many of us, I thought it might be fun to start a little Monday tradition of reporting on how I recharged my batteries over the weekend. Maybe you’ll be inspired. Maybe you’ll have suggestions. Maybe this series will last, maybe it won’t. Let’s see what happens…

Highlights of June 19

  • Traditional Saturday morning jaunt (with special coffee treat) to the island to take Max for a swim. Minus unintentionally pissing off the fisher-people this week, it was the usual relaxing and pastoral outing (that’s why it’s a tradition).
  • Breakfast, including muffins made from strawberries and rhubarb that came in our CSA box. Mmm.
  • Cleaned kitchen afterwords – before things piled up.
  • Started laundry (two loads).
  • Sent Dad and FIL e-cards for Father’s Day.
  • A little light bookkeeping (but no checking email!).
  • Put away papers piled on top of printer (yes! that had been bugging me for a couple weeks).
  • Cleaned bathroom (hallelujah! if you had seen the tub, you’d understand).
  • Made my own air freshener and anti-scum-and-funkiness tub spray (aka: “fun with essential oils” and “why would you buy this stuff?”). Much debate with sweetheart over whether air freshener actually smelled good.
  • Lunch break: ate half of sandwich left over from lunch I made for sweetheart on Friday. Damn, I make a good sandwich!
  • And over in the craft corner (actually spread out on our living room floor since last weekend): finished making summer coverlet for the bed (a light blanket inside a light duvet held in place with buttons – white-on-white motif turned out a very cool retro-modern). Enjoyed listening to radio like Prairie Home Companion while I worked – which I love but hardly ever do. This took hours – of both flow and discipline. Made myself finish – which took until bedtime.
  • Indulged in mac’n’cheese from a box for dinner. Mmm. Childhood goodness.

Highlights of June 20

  • Slept in. Fabulous (minus very weird and anxious dream about work – obviously not fully unplugged – I blame it on being cold from using new summer blanket too early).
  • Lingered over Sunday paper with coffee.
  • Made us a very pretty breakfast (with garlic parsley jack cheese -oohlala- in our eggs) served on my favorite breakfast plates (cheery and sentimental).
  • Lingered over the paper some more; did a word game in the living section (can’t tell you when I last did that).
  • Flipped through the magazine I was using as a table for word game (hey look! it’s from 2002!  never noticed – I should just recycle old ones instead of buying new).
  • Cleaned kitchen again before things piled up (go me!).
  • Picked up paper and old papers that had been piling up and put in recycling.
  • Folded laundry and ironed shirts with window open so I could listen to neighbor quietly practicing his guitar playing (nice). Replaced a button missing from one of the shirts (like the filing, that’s been nagging at me for weeks).
  • We’re now ready for week ahead and it’s sunny, so onward to the garden! Tidied and pruned. Planted cucumber and bean starts purchased at farmer’s market, um, two weeks ago? Wow. Things are going to town out here! Yumminess is on it’s way…
  • Showered. Used all the really good, delicious smelling soaps and lotions. What am I saving them for?
  • Made another yummy meal for dinner which I enjoyed with my sweetheart.
  • Walked the dog.
  • Went to thrift store with sweetie and came away with some fashion goodness. $20 buys a lot of fun at Goodwill.
  • Checked on parents house (they are traveling) – their garden is busting out too! Abundance is everywhere…
  • Tired. But in a good way. New Hercules Poirot mystery on PBS (with popcorn) was the perfect end to a lovely day.

My idea is not to bore you with a play-by-play of my weekend. I just don’t know how else to get at telling you the story of what happened.

What happened was I allowed myself to slow down. Yes, there were things to be done, and I did them, but it’s been a while since I felt I had time to putter like that, to move from one thing to the next without looking at the clock or feeling pressured to hurry.

There seemed to be time for “extras.” Like making muffins or putting food on special plates. For e-cards. For essential oils. For crafting. For puzzles. For mending. For guitars. For sunshine. For my favorite lotion. For new skirts I don’t need, but like a lot. For finishing.

I won’t tell you I didn’t think about work. I did. But because I made a point of finishing what needed finishing Friday (this was key) – it was very background sort of thinking. And I had some really great ideas while gardening (I should garden more often – it definitely tops the shower for bringing on good ideas – ideas that I often later forget because I’m not in a place where I can easily write them down).

I must say that entering my weekend with the clear intent of play and enjoyment – and following through on that – has resulted in starting my week much more rested and recharged – excited even – than what’s been the norm lately.

It’s from all those new ideas.

If that’s what puttering about gets me, then that was some puttering worth repeating.


8 Responses to “Unplugging to Recharge”

  1. 1 Chris Elliott June 23, 2009 at 4:29 am

    I have had the feeling that I am running on empty as well and it is time for a recharge. With work, launching blogs, and maintaining old ones…you run out of energy fast.

    I am going to have to follow your lead and recharge this weekend.

    • 2 Cairene June 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm

      @Chris –
      Yep – you do run out of energy fast. My real aim here is to refill early and often – long before I reach empty. Not so fond of working from a dry well…
      Best to you in recharging this coming weekend!

  2. 3 Linda H June 23, 2009 at 5:45 am

    I so need to do this! I’m experimenting with ‘shifting’ the weekend so mine starts tonight. I’ll blog about how I get on.

  3. 5 Barbara Martin (@Reptitude) June 28, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    THis is really interesting. For creative people, it is essential to recharge by having regular time to apparently do nothing, and also by makin gtime for doing “fun and different” things that are NOT part of the usual routine. In fact, Julia Cameron recommends taking a weekly Artist Date just for this purpose of recharging and stimulating your inner artist. I actually think this is probably true for all kinds of people, not just the so-called creative ones. (Although I also think everyone is creative….)

  1. 1 Never on a Sunday « How THW Gets In Gear Trackback on July 11, 2009 at 11:21 am
  2. 2 This is me. This is my ego on stat crack. « How THW Gets In Gear Trackback on July 27, 2009 at 11:48 am
  3. 3 Relaxing with dirt of all kinds. « How THW Gets In Gear Trackback on August 3, 2009 at 8:34 am

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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



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