As summer turns to fall, many of us move from the slower days of vacation to renewed interest in productivity. A few weeks ago, I was content to laze around with a cool drink and a hat to ward off the hot sun. Now I am energized, inspired by potential, and looking forward to the days ahead. I am optimistically planning projects for the future. Where is all this energy coming from?
I started thinking about energy – how do we get it? My energy bucket is filled. Here are the ways I have refueled:
1. Spend time outdoors
I had a friend who said the sun was like a personal battery charger. When he was drained he went out and got some sun. As children, we played outside all day long and we had plenty of energy. Like many of us, in my adult life, I spend far more time indoors than outdoors. An hour outside with my laptop on the patio or pulling a few weeds does seem to give me energy. An evening walk to enjoy the fresh, crisp air can fuel me for days.
2. Accomplish a few little things
We all have lists of small projects that we need to accomplish. Just looking at my work and home To- Do lists drained my energy. One Saturday, I decided to wipe as many things off my home list as possible. I touched up paint, filled some nail holes in a wall, and cleared dead flowers out of vases. I paid bills, filled out some insurance papers and ran some errands. Many of the tasks didn’t take nearly as much time as I thought they would. I felt accomplished and energized to have so many little jobs done.
3. Do something big you have been putting off
When we moved, we downsized drastically. I got rid of a lot of my oversized furniture but we kept the sofa. It was fairly new and really expensive. It was also huge and designed for a great room, not the little living room in our new cottage. I finally bought a new couch- a much smaller one in a lively apple green color. Having accomplished the most daunting task first, I found myself excited to finish other projects. I bought curtains, and started looking for a couple of smaller chairs. The transformation is energizing.
4. Clear out some space
Clutter is an energy drainer. I cleared my desk of the endless piles of sticky notes. I deleted old items in my In-box. I took a bag of clothes to a thrift shop. I gathered up some books we had recently finished and took them to our Little Free Library. Each of these tasks took only a few minutes, but it inspired me to tackle even more space clearing projects. Space feels good and empty space leaves room for energy.
5. Plan something fun
This one may seem obvious, put planning something fun is good for the soul- and your energy level. Make it something big like a vacation or something small like a dinner out with friends. It isn’t the size of the event, but the anticipation that gives you energy. As the old proverb reminds us, all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. I have planned several small events in the next month, and just thinking about them makes me happy.
Energy is sometimes elusive, but it is filled with great potential. Journalist Nellie Bly once said, “Energy, rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.” No wonder we crave energy, it makes us happy, productive and optimistic. It is worth seeking and finding.
What about you? What do you to refuel your energy bucket?
Michele Meier Vosberg, Ph.D. is an educator, freelance writer and speaker. She is redesigning her life to live more simply, happily and well, and working to help others do the same. She lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.