ADVICE

Why it’s crucial to recharge your battery

Why it’s crucial to recharge your battery

When we choose to recharge our batteries regularly, we are consciously building something called adaptive resilience. But just what is resilience?

When you are resilient, it means you are able to adapt well in the face of life’s inevitable plot-twists, both big and small, and the more you engage in activities that boost your wellbeing, the more resilient you become. Conversely, when you’re super busy, if you let go of your wellbeing routines then it’s likely your battery will begin to go flat.

There will, of course, always be big things that happen in our lives that drain our battery almost entirely (many of which will be out of our control). But if we can stay as fully charged as possible, most of the time, then we’re more likely to be equipped to handle whatever life throws our way.

Your challenge:  Commit to three simple things from the 10-Minute Recharge Challenge every day to recharge your personal battery.  Choose from the list below, or personalise your own ideas.

What is the resilience battery?

Let’s start by acknowledging that wellbeing and resilience is both complicated and personal.

It’s linked to factors like nature, nurture, and the environment you live and work in, but there is a growing body of evidence that shows us how we can make everyday decisions to cultivate our wellbeing which, in turn, builds strength and resilience.

Understanding how to build resilience can be as simple as this:

Imagine your personal resilience is like a battery. 

If you plug in and recharge your battery regularly during the day, by making science-based wellbeing choices (not just collapsing at the end of the day with wine, chocolate and TV) then you will cultivate your natural levels of resilience.

This is what helps you to adapt well during times of significant or unexpected stress.

If you don’t recharge your battery, it’s unlikely you will feel good or function well and you might find it hard to stay strong and resilient in our ever-challenging workplaces.

The ways to recharge your battery include emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and intellectual wellbeing elements.

How does it work?

Savour and enjoy

If your battery is fully charged (100 per cent) then you’re likely to be mostly feeling good, functioning well and connecting with your friends. This is what it’s like to be you with a green battery. You’ll still have all the positive and negative emotions of a normal human being (please don’t expect to be happy all the time), but you’ll mostly be the best version of yourself.

Choosing to do something every single day to keep your battery green will help you to stay fully charged.

The ideas shared in this challenge will help you to do this.

During the day, week or month, things will happen to drain your battery (both big things and little things).  These plot twists might include stressors from your workplace or home life.

Notice it and nudge

If your battery goes yellow, then you’re losing power.

The ’yellow canaries’ (clues that your battery is fading) tell you to plug in and recharge as soon as possible. For example, your breathing might become shallow, you might find it harder to focus, or notice that you’re off your usual game.

Instead of just ploughing on, if you notice your battery has gone yellow, try a quick 10-minute recharge (longer if you are able to).

Emergency repair

If you don’t recharge (maybe you forgot, you didn’t have time, or you’ve had an extra hectic week) then you might find yourself in the ‘poo brown’ part of your battery.

Some signs this might have happened include your sleep patterns changing, starting to feel overwhelmed, withdrawing from friends, or having big emotional reactions to what should be minor plot twists in your day.

This is a clear signal from your body that you need an emergency battery recharge.

It’s going to take longer than 10 minutes and you’ll need to be even more intentional about doing it.

You could also consider reaching out for support from somebody who can help you – perhaps a trusted friend or your manager.

Remember that you can call 1737 in New Zealand, or 13 11 14 from Australia, any time of the day or night if you want to talk to somebody about a wellbeing emergency like this. Alternatively, your company’s Employee Assistance Programme can provide this service.

Seek help!

Of course, there are times in everyone’s life when you hit ‘rock bottom red’ and your battery simply goes flat.

This might be because of the big, yukky stuff that happens to us all in life and work, or because you forgot to recharge and simply ran out of power.

It’s a reality of being human and can be harder to come back from with a simple recharge.

You won’t feel like the ‘normal you’ and will likely have more unpleasant emotions compared with pleasant ones. You might also feel stuck in negative thoughts. You should definitely consider extra support from a health professional to help you get back on track and ensure you have everything that you need to help you.

It can take a lot longer, and be hard work, but most of us can still find our way back to a green battery again, over time, even if we’ve started with a red battery.

Why this matters

Have you noticed that when you’ve got a flat battery, it can be harder to think straight or make good choices and it’s easier to overreact to the little things that go wrong? These are examples of why it’s important to try to stay fully charged, as much as possible.

In fact, as well as navigating the plot twists of life more smoothly there’s a chance you’ll enjoy some of these additional benefits, if your battery stays more fully charged during the day:

  • Greater job satisfaction
  • More creative thinking
  • Increased ability to cope with stress
  • Lower levels of burnout
  • Greater immunity from sickness
  • Improved ability to make decisions
  • Stronger relationships

How to make it happen

Everyone loses power, at times, but what drains or recharges each of us is highly personal.

Start by noticing which activities help to make you feel good, function well and stay connected with others.  Often, we find there are things we used to do that we’ve neglected as life gets busy, so reminding ourselves of those things and choosing them again can be helpful.

No single recharge works for everyone and your solutions may vary from day to day. Try out some of the 10-minute recharge challenge ideas below, and adapt any to suit you personally.

NOTE: Pay attention to the things that help you feel good and recharge your battery, then add them to your tool kit of everyday choices so you can stay stronger in a world that won’t stop changing.

10-minute recharge challenge ideas

  1. Phone a friend who makes you smile (phone, don’t text)
  2. Walk around the block (even if it’s raining – wrap up warm)
  3. Do a 10-minute online yoga workout
  4. Stand or sit in the sunshine and savour the feeling of warmth
  5. Stroke a pet
  6. Draw a picture of something special to you
  7. Use a breathing app to help you relax
  8. Count the flowers in the garden outside
  9. Watch an inspiring TED talk
  10. Start a Sudoku puzzle or crossword
  11. Read your favourite book for 10 minutes
  12. Take a power nap
  13. Breathe deeply
  14. Watch a short video that makes you belly laugh
  15. Find something from every colour of the rainbow in your office
  16. Do something that energises you
  17. Make a list of reasons you love your life
  18. Write your own prayer of thanks
  19. Write a thank you letter to somebody you care about
  20. Stand outside and listen to the sounds around you
  21. Call a friend who encourages you
  22. Meet a friend or your partner for a coffee break
  23. Watch a bird outside your window
  24. Look at photos from times you’ve enjoyed
  25. Write a list of lovely things in your life
  26. Listen to uplifting music
  27. Find somewhere green – plants, trees and grass – then stay there awhile
  28. Plan a special meal that you will share with friends
  29. Read some nice feedback about something you did at work
  30. Research and book a holiday (or dream about one)
  31. Write a card for a loved one, just because…
  32. Nourish your plants
  33. Explore where you might do some local volunteering
  34. Stretch your body
  35. Take a break from all technology
  36. Check out your strengths (www.viacharacter.org)
  37. Listen to an enriching podcast
  38. Order a random gift for a friend
  39. Snuggle in warm clothes and listen to the rain
  40. Write down three good things that happened to you today

This challenge was developed in partnership with the resilience specialist Kathryn Jackson at Career Balance

First published: Aug 2021

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