“Tomas, you need to learn to relax,” is a sentence I’ve heard more than once. I’m one of those individuals who are afraid to “waste” time and who need to keep doing stuff. Curiously enough, I consider myself also a rather lazy individual. I know that I need discipline and routine. Otherwise, I would sleep through life and feel miserable about it. I’m an introvert who has his energy drained when interacting with too many other people. I’m also a leader whose work consists entirely of interacting with others. I love what I do, but at the end of the day, I’m drained. I’m tired but happy.
Yes, I’m not particularly good at relaxing, but over the years, I became pretty good at recharging. And there is a difference. Relaxing doesn’t necessarily help with recharging your energy. You can spend the whole day relaxing in front of the TV and be more tired in the evening than before you started the day. Whether you want to relax is a personal choice. If you like to relax, great, if you don’t, also great. Recharging, by its definition, is about activities that fill you with energy. At the end of your recharging, you are in a better place than when you started. Being able to recharge is not a choice. You have to learn to do it. If you don’t recharge, you won’t be able to keep up the pace and achieve your goals and your life’s mission. Being constantly without energy will influence your ability to get things done, destroy your mood and adversely impact your happiness. Therefore, finding the right way to recharge is crucial for having a successful, meaningful, and happy life.
So what are some of the great ways for introverts to recharge? Just consider these examples of using the arts to recharge and to free your inner introvert.
- Writing – Any writing will do. Writing is a great way to have a deep conversation with yourself. It is a great way to get out of your system all the treasures, bits of wisdom, or fears without the need to worry about what others may think about you. It is also a great way to collect your thoughts and discover something about your needs and wants. Write a diary, write a blog, write about your favorite subjects, about what is close to your heart. You will discover that not only will you improve your writing with time, but you also get the energy and feeling of accomplishing something when you put your thoughts on a piece of paper.
- Painting – I’m really bad at drawing pictures. In fact, I’m even sort of proud of it and often joke about my drawings that no five-year-old would be ashamed of. I also realize how liberating drawing and painting can be. As long as you are not trying to be the next Picasso, you can truly enjoy this activity. The use of colors, various shapes, and techniques all stimulate your creativity. You can put your everyday worries behind you and focus on the canvas in front of you. I like to paint landscapes, made-up landscapes, to be exact. I don’t consider myself particularly good at it, but sometimes I surprise even myself.
- Playing a musical instrument – Many introverts love music. It speaks to us at a different level than spoken words. Some of us are into it just for the sounds, some for the lyrics. I love music that has lyrics with some meaning. It makes me think about life in new ways. I try to find hidden thoughts and apply them to my life. There are songs I would identify with and that make me feel something. I also like just simple sounds and basic rhythms. And I’m proud of myself if I can produce these on my own. During my school days, I played the guitar in a school band, and even though I lost the skills since then, I still like to pick up a guitar or, more recently, a ukulele and play a couple of chords. It’s not at the level I would want to go public with, but it is a combination of physical movement and auditory experience that fills me with energy and gives me a positive charge.
- Photography – It is a sort of painting for lazy people. I love it. You can use your creativity. You don’t need much expertise to produce a decent output. You can do it alone. If focused on landscape or animal pictures, you can spend a lot of time in nature. Walking through the fields, thinking deeply about the meaning of life stuff, observing the nature around you, and taking pictures is a great way to remove stress, enjoy the gift of life, and have a good feeling from nice pictures you managed to take.
- Making models – It is a very similar endeavor to the painting though you move to 3D. It doesn’t matter whether you make a cup from a piece of clay, a model house from paper, a functional model airplane from plastic, or some electronics system using Arduino. All these activities provide an opportunity to be creative, build something with your own hands, have meaningful alone time, and have a good feeling that you achieved something. They are incredibly refreshing and reenergizing, as long as you find the one close to your heart.
- Playing with Lego – I have to add this one even though it is probably more suited for baby introverts. The same benefits apply as to the previous item. It can still be a very creative way to recharge for those who don’t have the manual dexterity or are a bit too lazy or even afraid to do something that doesn’t come naturally to them.
All of these activities have something in common. They help you to unleash creativity, build focus and grit, remove stress, give small wins, rebuild energy reserve by limiting sensory input and by being alone, and even learning about your strengths. So what steps to take to find what helps you specifically to recharge?
- Turn off technology – Technology, especially the one designed to make us constantly reachable and in touch with others, is the arch-enemy of alone time. True recharging won’t happen while you are constantly checking your smartphone. Switch off your phone, disconnect from the internet, turn off the TV. If you don’t do these things first, then nothing else will matter. Technology is a constant distraction, a constant reminder that you might be missing out. It feeds on your energy as well as on electricity. I turn off data on my mobile the moment I step out of the office. I try to disconnect every day as much as possible, and my vacations are completely offline as a rule. And it works.
- Get close to nature – Each of us is a bit different, but I find activities that get you out of your apartment and closer to nature are particularly effective ways to recharge. Especially if you spend your days in an office job. Aside from the actual benefit of creativity and alone time, you get the health benefits as well. Get some oxygen into your lungs, get a bit of exercise by walking through forests, get the office out of your head. If the hobby you picked must be done indoors, try to find something you can call “a third place.” Not the office. Not the home. Reading at home is ok, but for some of the more active recharging activities, it may be challenging to focus on them when at home. Even the disconnect from technology might be tricky. There is wifi, a fridge, a bed, and tons of other things to do. Finding the right place to limit distractions and the right time in the day is key to be able to truly recharge.
- Be very purposeful – You need to learn enough so you can enjoy the activity. Tenacity or grit is essential even for recharging. For many activities I mentioned above, you need a certain level of skill to enjoy them fully. Your first painting probably won’t look the best, and you may even get discouraged. Don’t. Give it time and focus it requires. You will see that the fifth painting will be much better, and the tenth will bring you joy and the energy you seek. Don’t give up too early. Do you remember the time when you were learning to drive? It was hard work to know what to do with each leg, how to shift gears, check how fast you are going while observing what’s going on around you on the road. However, after a while, it became second nature. Your legs and hands are doing what they are supposed to without much conscious effort, and you can truly enjoy the driving experience.
Finally, I would advise against pushing yourself to share the outcome with others too much. It is your hobby, your alone time, your way to recharge. Don’t create pressure on yourself by trying to be perfect immediately and by the ridiculous need to share everything you create instantly on social media. That invites stress. Take your time to get comfortable with sharing the results of your activities. When the time is right, sharing the results of your effort with a close friend or family who might be surprised and delighted by your achievement and are supportive can give you even more energy. And what better gifts to those you love than something that you created with your own hands using your creativity, efforts and that holds a piece of your soul.
Are you an introvert? How do you recharge? Are there some ways you use arts to rebuild the energy reservoir so you can tackle the day to day hassle of modern society?
Photo: 4144132 / Pixabay.com
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