When You Just Don't Feel Like Recharging

how to find the energy for life-giving rest

There’s an interesting paradox around resting and recharging… sometimes we’re simply too tired to do it well.

The very life-giving rest and refueling we need takes more energy than we have! So we resort to unhealthy downtime that does not give life or fuel us. We’re caught in a cycle where we’re “too tired to rest,” and life feels exhausting much of the time.

is your battery drained


As a metaphor, if you think of your life as having a certain amount of battery power, like your phone, sometimes you’re down to 1%, you know you need to recharge, but you’re just too tired to get up from your chair and walk across the room to get the recharging cord. So… battery dead. Or maybe you just turn it off altogether. No more battery drain, but no more usefulness, either.

Even when we know we need to recharge well, those activities seems too hard, so we do the crashing, mind-numbing things, or perhaps just “neutral” things that still don’t give life. The idea of journaling or processing our thoughts or reviewing where we are in our Dream feels like it would take too much energy (even though we know the reality is that it would probably give energy). The refueling activities that we know will recharge us, like expressing our creativity, getting outdoors, etc., feel like they’d take too much effort (even though we know they’d fuel us).

So what do we do when we’re at 1% but too tired to make even a small effort to recharge in a healthy way?

### A few tips

There are a number of things you can do to keep yourself from falling into a work-crash-work-crash cycle. These tips can help when you need downtime so badly that you can’t lift a finger to make it healthy!


First, do all you can to prevent this situation in the first place. Why are you letting your battery drain to 1%? Switch to Recharging long before that! Try for 20%. Don’t let yourself get to the point where you are so burned out, drained, and exhausted that you have absolutely no energy left to make good choices. Just like it’s never a good idea to walk up to a dessert buffet ravenously hungry, getting to the point of complete exhaustion is going to make junk-rest much too tempting!

### Make it easy

Figure out how to make the initial effort needed for healthy recharging really, really easy. You have to think this through right now, when you have the interest and energy to do it!

Think of activities that are easy to “fall into,” things that are no harder than the crashing activities you would normally gravitate toward, but will still have a recharging effect.

As an example, what about some personal “spa time”? A hot bath, candles, essential oils, relaxing music… If you’ve got it all on hand, it’s not much effort. Once there, you’ll have some healthy downtime that allows you to think and process and refuel -- activities that might have seemed too hard if you tried to just “sit and think” or write in your journal.

### What’s your go-to way to crash?

How can you tweak the activity you'd normally fall into, even slightly, to make it something that will refuel you?

  • If you’d normally head for the TV when you’re too tired for anything else, how about a home improvement show that will inspire you to do something later? Maybe a documentary that will at least leave you a bit more informed when it’s over? A TED talk, perhaps? A podcast? If creativity is part of your Dream, what’s something you could watch that would inspire more creativity - like a movie about a writer or artist?
  • If you’re a reader, choose books that inspire action or creativity, or even emotion -- books that fuel your mind rather than put it on pause.
  • If social media is your go-to, make a point to connect rather than simply consume. And when you’re consuming, go for the posts that will inspire action - a new recipe, a DIY decorating idea, a new organizational or productivity tip for your home or for your work.
  • If your downtime usually includes listening, put together a playlist of music that energizes you and/or improves your mood. Maybe the music itself will add a few percentage points of battery power to your energy, getting you to the place where you have enough energy to start an activity that recharges you even better.

### Make sure you’re ready

Think about the activities that recharge you, and then make sure you have whatever you need on hand, ahead of time. Shop for the ingredients, buy the supplies, get the gear - whatever you need to make it super-simple to step into your recharging activity. Reduce as many barriers as possible between you and the recharging activity.

Remember that all of our recharging efforts are so efficient (much more efficient than the ways we typically crash). You can recharge your energy very easily and quickly, if you simply get intentional about the way in which you rest, and tweak your unhealthy go-to activities, even when you’re too tired for anything.

your best next step

Dig Deeper

go more in-depth with this topic

20 super-easy ways to recharge in a healthy way, instead of crashing

See the Recharge Jar instructions

Go Further

move forward on your adventure

Get great ideas on ways to find a supportive group to share your Dream.

See the Connecting guide