Tag Archives: recharge

3 Steps to Reload When You’re Filled to Capacity

capacityOur lives are filled to capacity. Technology has encouraged us to stay connected in every moment. We rarely allow ourselves time to think, to be, to experience, to dream. We can’t make any space to allow for new things in life because we have filled every moment with something.

A solution is to learn to intentionally NOT fill the daily schedule. Having time and making space creates the opportunity for spontaneity, wonder, new perspectives and an expanded view of life. Our best ideas come from the space we allow ourselves, not from the hurried, harried, filled-to-capacity day.

Everyone in my house will raise their eyebrows when they read this because I am the master of filling each moment. My life moves from checklist to to-do lists. I think it is this way partly because I run my own business (hear the rationalization?) and partly because I like being busy (more rationalization). But I am aware and do now make the commitment to be more intentional about how I use each moment.

It is truly our choice how we fill the moments of our lives. What if we were to intentionally build time into our currently filled-to-capacity day to step away from the busy-ness? What if we were more intentional about putting time into our day to breath, dream, invent, connect, consider, imagine and relate? To consistently do this, I know I will have to make some changes – here is what I commit to doing (perhaps they will inspire you to do the same or something similar):

  1. Rethink how I start the day. I commit to starting each day with what the great writer/speaker Robin Sharma calls the “holy hour” – 20 minutes of reading, 20 minutes of meditation/stillness, 20 minutes of exercise. Get up an hour earlier (this of course adds a few more moments to the day) and use that hour wisely to set the tone, direction and pace of the day. This time reminds me to create moments to connect with my world – to be inspired by reading, to get clarity through mediation and to feel healthy though exercise. I commit to starting my day with a “holy hour.”
  2. Add “exist time” to my to-do list. I’ll admit I am just working around my incessant need to have a to-do list, but since that is the way I manage my days, I’ll add an urgent-and-important topic of “exist time” to my to-do list. “Exist time” is time allocated to wander through the yard and see what is blooming (in FL there is always something blooming), time to chat with a neighbor, time for hobbies (for me it is more time cooking), or time for just being with the people who matter in my life. I know I’ll need to set the alarm; not to remind me to get back to work, but to remind me the “exist time” isn’t over yet – to stay in the moment – to enjoy it. I commit to creating “exist time” each day.
  3. Take mini NOW (mini memory vacation) breaks. Because much of my work, when not out with clients, is at my desk, I have great mementos of life all around my workspace – the hand carved Buddha statue that was a gift from my partner, the pictures of the kids and my new sons-in-laws, the mascot bobble head of the college I teach at, the watercolor paintings by my mother, the artwork and things we collected on our travels – all things that encourage (and even beg) me to take mini NOW breaks – mini memory vacations. These help me step out of the rush to be part of a thought, feeling or emotion. This encourages me to dream, reminisce and change the pace of the day. I commit to taking mini NOW moments.

Make space – this is the antidote to a life filled to capacity. Living out loud and living full out doesn’t mean running through life at breakneck speed. Instead, living boldly includes time to get focused, have some chill time and be part of mini mental breaks or NOW moments. Each is like a deep exhaled breath – the opportunity to allow new things in, connect to what is important and feel part of your amazing life.

Recharge Yourself Daily for Optimal Use

iStock_000002911722XSmallBy Jan Bruce

I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge—ever. No matter what phase of my life or career. I hold ambition, drive, and resilience high on my list of values, without question. But I’ve also experienced first hand what it is to drive too hard, demand too much from myself and others. There is a sweet spot between ambition and anxiety, the point at which you operate optimally. You know what that feels like: the adrenalizing challenge of being spurred on, but not so much so that you’re weighed down by exhaustion.

This is an ongoing challenge for me, and for you, I presume: Knowing when and how to push harder—and to back off. The key isn’t to just get bigger, tougher, stronger, nor is to eradicate stress (good luck with that!). It’s to recalibrate and recharge, which are often overlooked or postponed, until it’s too late. In fact that is why I’m so passionate about the work I do at meQuilibrium—because I believe there is a formula for managing your response to the world out there and the thoughts in here.

Given how connected and driven people are (or feel they need to be) these days, making time to rest can feel like slamming on the breaks when you’re going 70 miles an hour. Moreover, as we “work” longer and longer hours, the idea of taking time off to rest and recharge can become increasingly daunting, especially if this time off serves as a total contrast to our normal routines.

I love vacation, and I make sure to take them—but I, too, know the dread of walking away from your email, your desk, knowing it’s all going to pile up in your absence. If you’ve ever needed a vacation from your vacation, then you know what I mean.

It’s tempting to think that a day spent lounging in sweatpants, eating whatever you want and watching back-to-back episodes of your favorite TV series is the perfect antidote to six days of non-stop business. But instead of following the “feast or famine” framework of rest and effort, I challenge you to think about one little thing you can do every day to ground and renew yourself.

Case in point: My brother regularly pulls 12- to 15-hour days at his work, and I can’t remember the last time he took more than two consecutive days off, let alone the last time he had a vacation. I was always baffled by this. How did he keep it going without an escape?

I finally understood his secret when I visited him one weekday and observed his daily routine: He’s fortunate to live in a beautiful rural area and makes a point of spending a few hours outside each morning, swimming, running or just enjoying the solitude. In those few hours, he gets the benefits that most of us associate with a vacation: time unplugged, outdoors, away from the demands of the day.

Here’s the kicker, though: He does this every day, and that’s why the rest of his busy, high-pressure life is sustainable. For him, normal life and vacation cease to function as the two binary options for how he spends his time. Because he has found a way to get the benefits of a little vacation every day, he’s not caught between the competing pressures of rest and effort.

Stop thinking about rest as the opposite of effort and start thinking about it as the foundation of effort. What can you do every day to build in a little more relaxation or pleasure, to draw you out of the moments that wind you up and leave you so tight you feel like you might snap? It could be as simple as indulging in a really good latte every morning or a walk with your dog. Find something energizing to come back to every day or every week to help you to recharge without forcing you to disengage. You’ll be well on your way to finding a more sustainable balance.

Like this article? Follow these similar intents on Intent.com

Intent- private and recharge

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Jan Bruce is the CEO and founder of meQuilibrium.com 

Recharging Your Batteries: Getting Run Down

If you are feeling run down you may find a belief or behavior pattern that is out of sync with who you really are.

Our natural state of being is vibrant, happy to be alive. Yet, there can be times when we feel run down and worn out. This does not mean that we are lazy or unfit for the tasks in our lives; it means that we need to recharge our batteries and find a way of keeping them charged. Vitamins and extra rest can be very helpful in restoring our physical bodies. And if we are willing to delve deeper, we may discover that there is an underlying cause for our exhaustion.

Whenever you are feeling run down, take an honest look at how you have been thinking, feeling and acting. You will likely find a belief, behavior pattern or even a relationship that is out of alignment with who you really are. Perhaps you believe you have to be perfect at everything or you have been bending over backwards to get people to like you. Maybe you are dealing with mild depression or simply have too much on your plate right now. There may also be people or situations in your life which are draining your energy. Once you get clear on the root cause, you can weed it out and better direct your flow of energy in the future.

In time, you might notice that the reasons you feel run down have less to do with how much you are doing and more to do with the fact that in your heart, you would rather be doing something else entirely. From now on, try and listen to what your heart really wants. It may take meditation, or just a moment of silent tuning in to gain the clarity you need, but it is well worth the effort. When you know what you truly want to do, and honor that in all situations, you will find that getting run down is a thing of the past.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / BrittneyBush

Unplug and Recharge: When Burnout Fries Your Motivation

Life really does have an uncanny way of imitating art.

It was Labor Day of 2010. I’d just finished penning the final revisions to my latest book "Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive." My husband Gordon and I returned from an early-morning hike and spotted smoke in the gulch below the house. Within minutes there were flames. Hastily packing what we could, we loaded the dogs into our cars and prepared to flee.

A hundred-foot wall of flames raced up the gulch as we said goodbye to our home. The roar of the conflagration was terrifying as we witnessed the worst wildfire in Colorado history. It burned for almost a week and incinerated 169 homes and more than 7,500 acres of pristine beauty.

"Fried" was suddenly more than a book title. Five days into the evacuation we were told that our home had, against all odds, survived. Twelve neighboring homes were reduced to ash. The once-magnificent view had been replaced by a charred, lunar landscape. Clouds of soot and toxic dust settled over everything inside and out.

Staying on top of the insurance claim, hiring and overseeing contractors to clean and repair the house, canceling checking accounts and credit cards that might have been compromised — all the while traveling, working and living in a hotel — started to burn me out.

Berkeley psychologist Christina Maslach created a scale that measures the three basic components of the syndrome: emotional exhaustion and physical depletion; loss of empathy; and decrease in self-confidence and competence. Burnout starts innocently enough with working harder but slowly and surely culminates in physical and mental collapse.

As work expands and threatens to eat life whole, values get turned upside down. Exercise, play and time with loved ones may get short shrift. The result is snarkiness and impatience, a tendency to feel edgy and judgmental — a closing of the heart. In an attempt to feel better you might overeat, drink to excess, turn to prescription or illicit drugs, get lost in porn or find yourself staring mindlessly at the television. It’s like a film of plastic wrap has been stretched over the world, and you can’t connect with life.

Motivation gets replaced by a "why bother?" attitude. Headaches, trouble sleeping, stomach problems, muscle aches, high blood pressure and the whole panoply of stress-related ills increase. The end result looks a lot like depression. The cure is not in a pill but in making choices that allow you to make a living while having a life.

Tips for Revival:

  1. Unplug and take stock. Go away for a few days to a quiet place where you can get some perspective. What’s burning you out? Are you a square peg in a round hole? Customer service, for example, is a bad choice for the conflict-averse. Are you a caregiver who needs respite? Are you a people-pleaser who needs to say "no" to others and "yes" to yourself? Is your lifestyle so expensive that working enough to fund it is killing you?
  2. Purge what’s not necessary. Pareto’s Law states that 20 percent of one’s actions result in 80 percent of hoped-for results. Identify leverage points and energy drains. What serves you, and what wastes your time? When I cut down on radio interviews, reviewing people’s manuscripts and doing favors for just about anyone who asked, I had much more time for what really matters. The fire gave me permission to say "no" without feeling guilty. But you don’t need to wait for an excuse to live your own life.
  3. Play both for the sake of fun itself and because play changes your brain state and supports creative thinking. Work smarter by exercising or playing when you feel stale.
  4. Pay yourself first. Schedule time for self-care, family and friends before filling up your calendar with work demands. Waiting for free time to materialize is the same as deciding to save the money that’s left at the end of the month.
  5. Take a weekly Sabbath. Do absolutely nothing related to work on that day. This is a time-honored strategy for staying sane and enjoying life.
  6. Cultivate beginner’s mind. The late Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi wrote, "In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few."

As a result of the fire I’ve had to give up expert status. After months spent grieving the destruction of the land, I’m constantly surprised by new life revealing itself. Charred trees are host to flocks of magpies and woodpeckers. Some of the browned-out trees are showing signs of life. The pleasure of seeing the landscape with fresh eyes is not in the end-product of what all the cutting, pruning and planting might create, but in the act of creativity itself.

Pay yourself first. We humans are born artists, and when burnout wipes the canvas clean, it is an invitation to pick through the ashes and make life new again.

5 Ways to Recharge During the Holidays Before Going Back to School

For us students, the winter holidays proves as a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of school. Many of us have finished our finals before returning home, and the last thing we want is to be reminded of the chaos of papers, essays, and problem sets.

So some tips for to get the most out of your holiday break, regardless of where you are, who you are with, and what you might be doing.

1.) UNPLUG – We immerse ourselves in technology at school; home should be where we unplug. Promise to only check your email twice a day. Unless you really have a need to use the computer, turn it off and tuck it away. Stop texting your friends. And take those earphones out and place your iPod next to your computer. Good bye technology, hello fresh air!

2.) Have a Conversation – How often do we get to see our relatives? How often do we get to see our neighbors? Teachers? Siblings and friends? Take the time to sit down and have a conversation with them. Not over instant messaging or an email. Here’s your chance to talk to that person face to face. Grab some eggnog, apple cider, or whatever you wish. Ask your grandparents about their memories of when they were children. You might be surprised with what new things you learn.

3.) Read a Book, For Fun – This goes along with unplugging. With text books and required readings, we forget the take the time to read just for fun. Also, there’s a clear difference between magazines and books. I’m not saying go get US Weekly or People Magazine (I mean, please do if you’d like), but here’s a chance to really read that book you’ve been wanting to read. So get warm by the fire, or bring it out to the beach. Here’s your chance!

For some good reads:
Cane River; by Lalita Tademy
Tuesdays with Morrieby Mitch Albom
The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra
– Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Check out this list from goodreads for more.

4.) Use Your Hands – Build, write, knit, sew, weld, press, film, drill, stack, paint, sketch, scrapbook, create something! Use those hands and fingers NOT for typing or texting! Make little Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Bodhi, Eid, Matariki, Yalda, etc, gifts to friends and family. Why not say ‘I love you’ or ‘Thank you’ with a home made gift with a personal twist 🙂

5.) Just Be – Take the time to sit, breathe, and be silent. I don’t know about you, but living in a dorm, I have very little time and space for myself. Forget about being silent, I’d be lucky if I could get to sleep by 2 am without running feet and a banging bass. So take the time early in the morning, late at night, or during the day and find a quiet place in your house or outside and take a moment just to sit still, breathe the air, and be present. Recenter your energy.

Do it! Take advantage of your break and time off from school. 🙂 Happy holidays and have a wonderful break!!!

For more, visit http://hippieinbloom.wordpress.com!

winter snowflake Pictures, Images and Photos

Best of the Week: Unplug and Recharge

The weekend is almost here. How much of your limited weekend time is going to be spent in the offline world? 

Life is not meant to be experienced in a monitor, in pixelation or in less than 140 characters. Give your brain a change of scenery, preferably somewhere outdoors–and don’t forget to leave your digital camera at home. The world is not going to fall apart if you forget to dutifully upload and tag your weekend photos in a Facebook album this one time. We promise.

Before you shut down your computer and hide your iPhone for the next 24 hours, don’t forget to also check out some insightful responses from our community members on Monday’s Call for Content post here.

Can a URL Make You Smile? Yes, If It’s Contemplation.Com By Lori Hope

Unplug and Reboot By Alexia Parks

A Vacation From Speed and Noise: Be Here Now, Enjoy Yourself By Asha Praver

Unplug and Empty Your Mental Junk Drawer By Janice Taylor

How to Reclaim Spare Time By Kari Henley

How to Overcome Technology Overload By Debbie Mandel

Now Mandatory: Unplug and Recharge By Paul Puckett

5 Ways to Unplug and Recharge in College By Cassaundra Vergel

Unplugging By Danielle Lum

Recharging From the Inside-Out By Teal Thompson

Have a great unplugged weekend!

Unplug and Reboot

I have two friends who are in the midst of *rebooting* their lives. The first, Kim, joined me for lunch the other day, wearing a Bose headphone and dark sunglasses. I hadn’t seen her for two years and so the answer to why she was wearing the headphone and sunglasses surprised me.

"I was in an auto accident two years ago," she began. "My car was rear-ended by a truck and I suffered serious head trauma." For the first year, Kim worked to reintegrate herself back into society. "I couldn’t count to five, I had trouble expressing my needs," she said.

In Year Two, her Will began to step forward. "I realized that I had all these dreams and desires that I wanted to pursue, and several negative habits that I wanted to let go." So Kim worked with a therapist to develop a whole new set of habits that kept her focused on her positive goals. She reduced attention she gave to the negative behavior, and let her mind rebuild itself on "higher" ground.

While I don’t recommend "the whack on the side of the head" as a way to unplug and reboot, it seems that sometimes we do attract events, people, and "accidents" into our lives that force us to pay attention to what we really want in life.

Which brings me to my second friend. I have been told by my well meaning family that I am too fast. I think too fast, move too fast, and sometimes make decisions that would have benefited if I had slept on them overnight. I’d like to think that we all do this, however, I recently attracted a new friend into my life who is absolutely my opposite. Where I am spontaneous, he is a perfectionist. Where I refresh myself in a crowd of people, he withdraws.

My "ready, FIRE, aim…" lifestyle has a powerful counterpoint in his slow, deliberate, decision-making. It is as if every decision in his life will rest upon the single decision he is making at that very moment. And in reality, it does.

Though frustrating, I am finding that I am able to break out of my "impatient, straining at the leash" style of living, by using these moments when my mind wants to judge his pace or position on an issue, to stay VERY focused on the present moment.

On our morning hikes, for example, I sometimes focus my attention on the ground in front of me. I study each small pebble on the mountain path … noting its light and shadow sides. I pay attention to my breath. In my mind, I compose pictures of the trees we pass and native grasses  that are now bleached of summer’s wild green. In this shift to the very present moment, I am able to move away from judgement – my way vs his way – and surrender to the beauty that surrounds me.

He reaches out to hold my hand and suddenly, we’re in synch. Life works, it seems, when you take the time to let it work on you.

 

Recharging from the Inside Out

I love this week’s topic of unplugging and recharging. Have you ever had the experience of trying to “get away”, going on vacation and while sitting on a secluded beach in paradise in the middle of nowhere, you’re still “plugged in”? We can turn our iPhones off, power our computers down, watch a gorgeous sunset and still be running a million miles a minute internally. So how do we truly recharge in today’s busy world?

I believe that our ability to relax and gain a fresh perspective on our lives comes from the inside out. As a first step we can quiet the mind; but once our mind is still, let’s deepen our appreciation for life as it’s happening around us.

I recently decided to take a bike ride on the hike and bike trail overlooking the ocean near my home. If I had been in a hurry to just get a “ride” in, I would’ve missed the events that unfolded. As I was riding, taking in the scenery and soaking in the ocean air, I stumbled upon a wedding in the park. This was not an ordinary wedding, but a wedding where everyone was dressed in period costumes. The wedding party and guests had all ridden their beach cruisers to the park, which were decorated with big, bright, colorful paper flowers perched on their baskets. I stopped and took a moment to appreciate this magical scene unfolding before me. If I had been in a hurry, I would have missed this moment. I felt completely energized by taking the time out of my day to stop, be present and fully appreciate this incredible scene occurring right before my eyes.

Do you remember those magical moments as a kid, where you experienced everything in life with such amazement? Would you like to regain that perspective? I teach a course in awakening consciousness called The Avatar® Course that gives you the ability to not only quiet the mind, but to feel and perceive life with that child-like wonder again. When you turn back on the ability to perceive at this level (to experience anything in your life without judgment), your life will start to flow again and you will feel recharged in ways you can’t even imagine. Interested? If yes, please contact me for a complimentary, 3-Hour Mini Course.

Teal Thompson
Wellspring Avatar, CEO
(310) 699-7077

www.WellspringAvatar.com
www.AvatarEPC.com
www.TheAvatarCourse.com

Avatar® and ReSurfacing® are registered trademarks of Star’s Edge, Inc. EPCsm is a service mark of Star’s Edge, Inc. All rights reserved.

We Know You’re Busy. Now Shut Up About It.

So sorry, I’ve been busy."
"I’m just so busy with…"
"I’ve been too busy too…"

Busy? Get in line.

If I ever tell you that, “I’m so sorry that I’ve been too busy to…” then I’ll pay $500 bucks to your favourite charity and get you a year supply of Haagen Dazs bars. Of course I’m busy. That’s life. That’s my life. That’s most people’s lives. Grown up humans tend to be…busy. Add kids, or business start ups, or illness into the mix and you have…much more of life to be busy about.

"I’m just so busy," is the typically gasping, rushed, whiny refrain that’s become a contemporary anthem. It doesn’t make us look more important, it makes us look just-this-side-of-frazzled. It’s typically used as a lite apology, an excuse, a duck-out, as if your Life Master is making you do stuff that you don’t want to do. Even as a well-intended social pleasantry, "Sorry, I’ve been busy," has a little victim ring to it.

Whatever is on your plate got there because you said yes to it – in the fullness of ambition and desire and wanting to eat life whole. Sometimes we take on to-do’s and commit to climb mountains because our soul demands it. Sometimes life throttles us with unforeseen and unrelenting demands. Sometimes busyness is the result of keeping up with the Joneses. Busy can be good. Busy can be bad. Busy is most often a choice.

The "busier than our predecessors…age of technology…workaholic culture," argument. I don’t buy it. Yes, we appear to be more compulsive, less nuclear, and surviving on less sleep than the pioneers, but their lives were just as packed. They were extremely busy planting potatoes and raising barns, and surviving from sunup to sundown (they got more sleep than we average because, a) they didn’t have the luxuries that light bulbs afford, and b) they did physically exhausting work.) The fifties housewife was just as busy. Before eco-evil but ever-so-handy tools like disposable diapers, the Swifer and microwaves, June Cleaver had to work it.

"Sorry, I’ve been busy," is often used to appease busy-bodies. – the kind of people who email you to double check if you got their email from yesterday, or their thank you note.

So what do you tell ’em when you’re late? When you can’t fit another moment into your daytimer, when you have to send regrets, or pass on a sweet opportunity? Tell them the truth. Report on life, rather than whining about it. Deliver it with ease or with pride if you’re inclined. "Been in five cities in four weeks. The kid’s all had the flu. It’s tax season, you know.” Let people meet you in your clear truth rather than your apologetic panic.

And sometimes, many times, you don’t need to excuse yourself at all. Just show up. Present and accountable, full of life and it’s demands. We all understand.

When You Need a Vacation

I have an overwhelming need to take a break from life in an exotic place, where all my cares melt away…pina colada in hand…surf lapping up on the sand…sun beating down on my worn out body.  Mmmm…I can imagine it now.  This isn’t the normal ‘I need a vacation’ feeling, this is exponentially stronger and has been building up over time. 

Normally, my husband and I take a yearly one to two week vacation around our anniversary in September.  This year, however, we put off our trip until the New Year.  What’s more, I haven’t taken any time off in a LONG time…no break…no boondoggles…NADA.

I’m sure you too have had your moments where life just seems to be a bit overwhelming.  Everything is just a bit too much.  Everything converges into this one moment in time where your days aren’t long enough and your ‘to do’ list isn’t short enough.  It gets so crazy that even the idea of a vacation is more of a hassle than a pleasure, because g_d forbid you take time off, you’ll have MORE to do when you get back!  Right now, this is me. 

Over the last month and a half, I have once again managed to not ’say no’ to two more things put on my plate.  And with those two new things, the ‘have to do it all’ mentality that I can’t seem to lose, hasn’t enabled me to eliminate, sacrifice or side-bar anything to make time for those two new things.  And as predictable as the earth’s rotation, the pressure has officially gotten to me, leaving me feeling tapped out and desperately needing a vacation.  New Year’s just can’t come soon enough.

For whatever reason, taking time off seems to be a real challenge.  Taking even a ‘mental health’ day is difficult.  We don’t want to waste precious, so hard to accrue, vacation time by using up a random day to decompress (Remember A. Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall getaway?).  As a result, vacations become this mega-kahuna-built-up expectation of a great escape from…life.

Even though some of us manage to find ways every day to release stress in small ways (E.g., exercise, a bath, yoga, deep breathing, reading a book, etc.), it isn’t always enough…is it?  For me, exercise is a huge stress releaser, but every day worries never completely leave my mind.  When I go on vacation, however, I find that all of the nagging little thoughts and relentless have-tos somehow subside and I gain a new perspective on life.  And THAT is what is so wonderful about vacations.  NEW PERSPECTIVE. 

So, my question to you is how do YOU get new perspective?  Do you have to go on a trip or on an extended vacation to do so?  Or have you found a miraculous Total Recall escape?

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