Refill & Recharge

Have you ever driven all week in your car, rushing through all the To Dos on your schedule, only to have your car stop on Friday, right in the middle of the road?

Out of gas.

Sometimes our bodies and minds are like that. We go and do, because our family needs us, friends need us, employers demand us, and the muse is running on high. Before we know it, our tank is on empty and we want to do nothing more than collapse.

Because the car can’t keep going if we don’t fuel it up.

Commonly called “refilling the well”, the idea is to replenish your energy and Can Do spirit by giving back to yourself in a way that energizes your mind and body.


Add One Drop at a Time

Unfortunately, I don’t read my energy meter very well, so I often find myself on E. I’m trying to be more mindful of this. As a mother… as a writer… as a wife… I need to reward my body and mind for all the hard work it does for me. And be gentle with myself.

So how do we refill the well? Some ideas:

1. Artist’s Date — Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way recommends Artists Dates. This is the chance to go somewhere new and different – a museum, antique store, model home – anything that you’ve wanted to do but put off because its silly, unnecessary, or no one else wants to go. It is supposed to be done alone, and I can see why. If I take someone else with me, then I worry about whether they are having a good time, ready to leave, etc. Instead, immerse yourself in YOUR enjoyment of the experience.

2. Reward Day – My sister and I came up with this concept. Before I get so overwhelmed that I crash, I schedule a day to do only what I want to do. I read all day if I want. Eat (or order out) what I want to eat. Claim the big screen TV for myself. What defines your Ideal Day? Do it! No excuses! (and I don’t want to hear how you don’t have time. I REALLY don’t have time. If I can do this once a month, so can you!)


Drops Become Trickles

3. Go to the movies – There’s nothing like vegging out with a great movie and popcorn. Check the local theaters and make seeing something YOU want to see a priority. Low on cash? See if you have a Dollar Theater in your area. I can go see a movie I missed in the regular theater at our local discount theater for about $5, including snacks.

4. Girls Night Out – Actually, it doesn’t have to be at night. Try lunch, coffee, shopping. You could even meet at Walmart – you have to get groceries sometime. I have a friend that I have “tea” with occasionally. Any girl time is refreshing and rewarding.

5. Share a movie or game night with  your family or some friends once every couple of weeks. This helps you reconnect with those around you and remember what living is all about – laughter, companionship, and fun! Not just work, work, work.

6. I know we don’t all have large chunks of time to rejuvenate our spirits, so here are a few Minute Saviors – ideas that can take as little as 1 minute, or as much as 60.

  • Put on headphones and listen to a few songs with your eyes closed.
  • Utilize a personalized meditation app on your smart phone or iPod. I use a Simply Being meditation app that allows me to personalize the time and background music. It works great for me, and even my teenage daughter will use it sometimes.
  • Lock the door and watch “your” show, even if you have to turn out the lights and pretend you aren’t home when your family knocks.
  • Take a 30 minute reading break to help transition between “work” time and “home” time (if you can limit yourself – I can’t).
  • Let yourself nap, even if its only laying in a dark room with your eyes closed for a mere 20 minutes.

But none of these things will ever become more than ideas if you don’t make them a priority and actually DO them. Don’t just think about refilling your well, make it a regular part of your life.

Trickle Becomes a Stream
So tell me, what do you do (or want to do) to refill your well?



**Next week we’ll talk about the ultimate way to refill your well:  Retreat!



6 thoughts on “Refill & Recharge

  1. I totally agree that we need to renew. I LOVE your ideas about scheduling a day once a month and also taking an Artist’s day by myself. I am definitely working that into my schedule. My daily fill up is to sit on my back porch with a chai latte and the crossword puzzle. I don’t have to finish the puzzle and rarely do, but thinking about words gets my mind working to write later (or so I justify). I also listen and watch the birds eating at my feeders. There’s nothing more rejuvenating to me than watching hummingbirds battle and chase each other.


  2. This is something I struggle with, taking time for myself when there is so much that demands my time and attention. There’s always another project to work on, another scene to write, housework to do…well, okay, I can ditch the housework. 😉 But I think the Reward Day has been the most significant way for me to refill my well. That block of time while the kids are at school and the hubby’s at work doesn’t always have to be filled with the demands of life!

  3. My guilty pleasure is reading late at night or well, any time these days! I love to sit still at my house and read for hours at a chunk. That is a real reward right now!

  4. Heather, You might find that its hard to schedule those dates in. I know each time I go to write it in my calendar, I think, “But I could be (insert chore looming over me here).” I just try to block it out or get it done beforehand so I don’t feel so pushed the day of. The reward day works best for me too.

  5. Ella, Letting those things go is really hard! It seems like things that need to be done in my house call to me the minute I walk in the door (which is why I sometimes stay in town and write — so I can do it guilt free!). Turning all that off is a trick I haven’t mastered, but I’m working on it. 🙂 When those thoughts start to creep in, counteract them with, “I’ll get to that afterwards.”

  6. Ah, reading! I love to read, Stephanie! I don’t do it very often right now because I have so much on me, and once I start reading a good book, I have a very difficult time putting it down. I’ll often use reward days to read, because I can finish the book in a day if I have no interruptions. I’ll read craft books or magazines (which I do enjoy) at night because its easy for me to put them down and they don’t haunt me, calling me to come read them until 2 am when I have to be up at 6am for work! Hmmm… I know this scenario too well.

    But I do think reading is very important for writers, so I try to schedule it in.

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