Last year was exhausting and draining for us all, but with 2021 upon us, it’s time to reboot and recharge.
Carina Lawson, time management coach and founder of Ponderlily planners and journals, says the key to recharging our batteries is making the decision that it’s a priority.
“We’re conditioned to think putting ourselves first is selfish,” she notes, “but this leads to us constantly and almost instinctively tuning ourselves out: our inner voices, needs, and wants. Without their guidance, how will we find a path to happiness?”
Psychologist and wellbeing expert Suzy Reading suggests we use this time to reaffirm our commitment to nourishing ourselves and taking good care of each other, setting some loose intentions to give shape to the new year.
And we can take part in recharging activities, too. “These essential energy-generating activities include meditation, reading a book, calling a dear friend, taking care of your body, and giving yourself the space you need to recharge,” says Lawson.
“It’s imperative that you restore your energy often. As the cliche saying goes, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’. If you aren’t taking care of your health, your mind and your body, then you might find yourself struggling to take care of your goals.”
It can be difficult to switch on the positivity in the darker, colder months, though. Change is afoot, but a lot will remain the same. “Go gently,” advises Reading. “Be compassionate, and pace yourself. We’re still in hibernation mode, so prioritise rest and replenishing practices.” Good food, hydration, sleep and exercise are all essential, she notes, as well as connecting with others and spending time in nature. “All of these things help us heal and restore in the wake of 2020, and feel a sense of calm purpose for the fresh new year ahead.”
Lawson recommends these three sustainable recharging practices…
1. End your work day well
“Let’s start with the end in mind. How do you want to end your work day, so you know it’s done and you’re ready for the rest of your day? Set an alarm to signal the end of work, so you can start shifting your energy to your evening routine. Turn your computer off, tidy away, leave one motivational thing on your desk (so it’s the first thing you look at in the morning) and set a reminder for something you’re looking forward to before the end of the day.”
2. Start your day smart
“You don’t need to have a morning routine that involves fresh kale juice, a 5k run, and meditation in your home sauna. Your plans and restorative practices should be realistic and sustainable. I recommend creating a work-day ritual, so if you skipped your morning routine or you don’t have one yet, this is something you can do in five minutes and really sets you up for success. Before turning your computer on, what do you do to welcome your day? Set an intention for the day and then journal for the duration of a song. A simple prompt, like, ‘How am I doing today?’ will do.”
3. Create healthy boundaries without having to ‘say’ no
“As an introvert, I have the hardest time saying ‘no’,” says Lawson. “However, it’s a skill that I needed to acquire, because as a recovering people-pleaser, I know first-hand the cost of saying ‘yes’ to all the things and to all the people.
“Instead of thinking about what you say ‘no’ to, flip the switch to determine what you say ‘yes’ to, and stick to it.”