When the Battery is Dying
I don’t know about you, but I can only sustain high energy and laser pinpoint focus toward a project for so long. Between my day job, and keeping a house running, and squeezing in some down time, I get tired. I get so tired, in fact, that when I actually have a day off, I can’t seem to do anything but nap! (read here and here for examples) 🙂
I have come to understand that this is not a bad thing. Even the most driven of us need time to recharge their batteries. This may mean you nap the day away with a cat on your chest, or you have a pajama day and watch old movies all day. Maybe you read a book and do absolutely nothing else. These are all good healthy things. And we need to stop feeling guilty about it!
Too often, I try to cram all my creative work into my recharge time. I get a day off and think, okay, now I have to write the next five chapters, or edit that story I wrote last month, or read that book on dialogue. This doesn’t do me or my creativity any good. Recharging time applies to our creative work as well as our day jobs!
Some ways to recharge:
- Read a book. Now if you are a writer, you know that reading and writing go hand in hand. I find that my to-read pile is so full of books on craft and self-publishing that I have very little time to wallow in a book simply because it is a good story. This is the best way to spend the day in my opinion. There is nothing like reading purely for the pleasure of it.
- Take a class. Now I know that it may sound like more work, but taking a class that is completely unrelated to your day job or your creative dream is a wonderful way to stimulate your brain in all new ways. Take a photography class. Learn Italian, or how to make artisan bread. Sign up for an art class. Even a one-night lecture on a topic that has always interested you is a great escape!
- Get out the crayons. These days it seems you can’t go anywhere without seeing adult coloring books for sale. Dig out your crayons or finger paints and go for it. Make a mess and splash some color on the page.
- Take a walk. I do not mean to get out there and walk ten miles at a fast pace. Go slow. Breathe deep. Take in the world around you.
- Make some noise. Playing a musical instrument, even poorly, is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and rejuvenate your brain. Reading music and playing an instrument utilizes areas of your brain that often get neglected in the hustle and bustle of life. If you don’t have an instrument, crank up some tunes. Think Mozart Effect!
- Go some place new. Many times you may only have a day or a few hours to recharge. Go somewhere you have never been. Is there a tiny town within an hour’s drive that you have always wanted to explore? A nearby park that you keep meaning to visit? A local museum that you drive by and overlook?
- Have a lunch date. Meet a friend for lunch and promise each other that you will not talk about work. It’s tougher than you think! Try something a bit eclectic that you would never make at home. Indulge the senses. Laugh. A lot!
- Make something. If you normally work with words, play with fabric. If you are a number cruncher, bake some cookies. If you have a physical job, pick up a paint brush. Make something that you don’t get to make in your day to day job. Make something unrelated to the creative dream you are pursuing.
- Do something you haven’t done since you were a kid. Go horseback riding. Play hopscotch. Catch fireflies. Draw on the driveway with chalk. Rollerskate on your street. Get out the hula hoop. Build a fort. Play in the sprinkler.
- Allow yourself to nap. There I said it. 🙂
How do you recharge??