At this point in the year, many people are feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally depleted. Maybe you’ve attended gatherings with loved ones you haven’t connected with in some time. Or perhaps you’re navigating the stress and anxiety of another wave of what feels like a never-ending pandemic. Whatever your situation, it’s likely that your energy is zapped and you’re needing time to rest and recharge.
As the New Year approaches, now’s the perfect time to take stock of how you’re feeling and spend time replenishing your energy stores. Here are three gentle steps to help you recharge your energy and begin 2022 with more motivation than ever.
Step #1. Bring yourself into the present moment
After stressful times like the holidays, it’s easy for your brain to ruminate on the past or focus its attention on the next big thing (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?). Bringing yourself into the present moment is the first (and most important) step in calming your nervous system and recharging your energy. You might want to begin by asking yourself a question like, “What’s one thing in this moment that can help me feel connected to myself and my environment?” While might look like breathing mindfully or meditating, there are many other tools that you can use to ground yourself in the here and now. Here are some examples of things that you can do to help you feel connected to the present moment:
- Acknowledge each of your senses. What do you see? What do you feel? What can you smell? What do you taste? What can you hear?
- Take a walk in nature without any distractions
- Drink a warm cup of tea in silence
- Do a body scan
- Stretch, practice yoga, or do another activity that connects your body and mind
- Dance to your favorite song
Taking this moment for yourself will calm your nervous system and remind you of the importance of creating space for yourself during a time where you’ve likely been prioritizing others’ needs.
Step #2. Welcome and name your emotions
When we’re busy, we don’t often process our experiences in real-time. Whatever your experience was, it’s important to acknowledge and welcome your thoughts and feelings. Fortunately, grounding yourself in the present moment is a great first step in being able to see your thoughts and feelings more clearly. Identify the specific emotions you’ve felt or are feeling, and focus on exploring one emotion at a time—this will make the process feel less overwhelming and more manageable.
For example, you may start by exploring the anger you felt when your sibling commented on how big the slice of pie you cut for yourself was. When you get curious about why the comment upset you so much, you might realize that the part of you that grew up feeling inadequate was triggered, and in that moment, you were telling yourself that “you’re a failure” or “you’ll never be good enough.” Once you’ve acknowledged this experience, thank it for what it taught you, and move on to the next emotion you identified.
Holding on to unprocessed thoughts and feelings can deplete your energy. By giving your thoughts and feelings a microphone and a stage, you’re allowing yourself to process and move through them and replenish your energy.
Step #3. Make intentional choices
As the New Year approaches, it’s common to want to rev up your engine and get a head start on your goals or resolutions. Unfortunately, you can’t run on empty. The time between the holidays and the New Year is a great opportunity to focus on making more intentional choices so that you can build your energy reserves back up.
We understand that this can be difficult to put into practice, so we suggest starting with one question: “Will this recharge my energy or deplete it?” Maybe saying yes to plans with an old coworker will feel energy-giving, but volunteering (yet again) to coordinate your book club gathering will take your energy away. Saying yes to opportunities that are rejuvenating and turning down opportunities that are draining is a life-changing practice. This will help preserve any energy that remains while refilling your stores.
We know that it can feel exhausting to start the process of refilling your cup when you’re running on empty. We hope that these three gentle steps make the process feel a little less daunting and maybe even exciting. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to take on the New Year and the new goals you set for yourself, feeling more motivated than ever.