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How Do You Recharge Yourself?

I’ve been feeling pretty spent lately, for a number of reasons. I thought I’d be taking the month a bit lighter—light enough that I could start a project that I’ve been wanting to get underway for four years—but the energy wasn’t there.

I started playing Destiny a couple weeks ago, when I finished Dragon Age: Inquisition Trespasser DLC. I thought that maybe as a shooter, I could zone out a bit playing Destiny, as a restorative thing. Instead, while I really love Destiny (and need to write about that), it’s the opposite of recharging. I walk away from playing Destiny with knots in my neck and feeling amped and a little drained.

I used to unwind by drinking, which I do a lot less of these days. The whole @NightMacklin thing is as likely to be when I’m punch-drunk tired as is when I’ve had a couple. It’s certainly not like my Valhalla-esque drinking that people knew of me back in the day.

At one point, I had the ability to briefly have downtime and for that to be enough to dive back in. As I get older, my old methods of recuperating aren’t cutting it.

How do you recharge, when you desperately need to recover because deadlines don’t stop for you?

Nothing grand or cumbersome—I can’t take a weekend to the woods whenever I need to refocus, so much as I’d like to. I’m looking for how you freshen your mind over an evening, or what you might do for an hour once you find you’re blocked on a project.

—Ryan

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9 Responses to How Do You Recharge Yourself?

  1. Krzysztof says:

    There are a few thing I try to do, all of them having the benefit of bringing instant gratification, and requiring awareness without being too taxing on me personally.

    1) Physical exercise. If the weather doesn’t permit running it’s yoga. Having been doing that for 11 years now I feel comfortable practising at home, which I wouldn’t recommend for picking it up – there are too many things one can do wrong. But the endorphins involved even in a short, 15-25 minute workout session are helpful to pull through a rough patch, and if you focus your mind on your body (which you automatically start doing after exercising long enough to get your blood pumping) is just a great nature-given reset button.

    2) Cooking. While this is less spontaneous, the preparation of a meal is a combination of science, art, and pure delight – one can immediately judge the results, oh and what a lovely judgement that is! I like setting the bar higher each time, trying out new, unexpected things, which is why I have diverse cookbooks ranging from the classics, through oriental cuisine, and some odd ducks… and sometimes I return to the basics, trying to perfect what I already know. Again, organising the kitchen workplace, adjusting workflow, and being open to improvisation help me get myself back together. I know I’m in a slump if I’ve been ordering takeout for longer than two weeks (I live alone so no other options really).

    3) Reading. A good book is a perfect companion, outside a dog (inside a dog is too dark to read – G. Marx). Picking a book that’s not directly related to my work, RPG settings, or anything else I have to deal with. Sometimes I start books only to read one chapter and finish some other year, sometimes I reread classics. With a nice cup of tea, in bed, listening to welcome music that doesn’t distract from your interpretation of the author – ideal evening if no other companionship is there to take ones mind into a blissful place, or if one just prefers “me-time”.

  2. Kit Yona says:

    Exercise, read, or play a game with my kids. They drive me nuts at times but they make my damn heart smile. Plus, it’s easier to focus after your 7 year old has just schooled you in Ticket to Ride.

  3. John says:

    One game of Sentinels while a Spotify playlist rocks out, followed by time spent in a thick bathrobe and a good book. Works every night for me.

  4. Adam Knave says:

    The best thing I’ve found is simply forgiving myself and allowing myself to take a night off. Not taking a night off in desperation but knowing deeply that it is OK TO have a break. Then, read or watch a movie or hang out with friends, whatever that specific need is, but the nagging stops and that nagging is often what kills me most.

    all that said a night just sitting and enjoying friends is probably the best way to recharge I know.

  5. olybuzz says:

    sometimes, I just take a break and splash some cool water in my face
    a few minutes in the lav or loo, and a fresh splash of water on the nape can bolster your zing

  6. Tim says:

    I really love physical activity. From a simple walk to let things settle and the unconscious do its work, to going to the gym and lifting heavy things. Letting my mind only focus on my physical self for a while. That’s pretty much always great. I also like starting new projects. That one may be less helpful for people who are not-me.

  7. Lilith says:

    Work on a personal project for *me*. Too often, I get caught up in doing stuff for other people for freelance, and sooner or later, my free time is eaten up leaving nothing for myself. Also teaching myself a new skill, going through new art supplies and just free-from doodling, and deep cleaning and organizing my workspace all help me recharge.
    Also scheduling a 3-day weekend to disconnect from media, email, and Internet really really helps with my mental focus and outlook once I start to feel the mental pressure building.

  8. Kevin Richey says:

    I build a new Lego set. Following the instructions relieves my brain from having to function, finding and clicking pieces is satisfying, and I end up with a cool toy for my desk. The “Lego Ideas” and architecture series have some fantastic builds.

    I also sort my loose Lego pieces by size and shape. Yes, I sort them. Well, my collection is large enough that keeping them all jumbled in bins is impractical anyway. Like when you sort puzzle pieces by general color or pattern before you start a 1000 piece jigsaw.

    Speaking of jigsaw puzzles, that’s another good option.

    I know lots of people who do needlework for this reason..

  9. Honestly do something fun, somewhat insane and get your adrenaline going.

    Lifting heavy objects and ranting seem to be my way to get going. That and also drafting my friends and family into crazy schemes.

    Pet’s are also awesome if your down in the dumps. My cat has this bad habit of cheering me up by being awesome. :)