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There are a lot of things in life that can leave us feeling zapped. Out of gas. Wind completely out of our sails. Tired. A big pile of mush. Whether it’s in our everyday lives at home, at work, or maybe the weight of the world feels like it’s on our shoulders – sometimes, it’s easy to lose inspiration and the drive to keep going.
In this episode, we’re talking about how to get that inspiration and drive BACK - how to recharge your spirit so you can stay true to your mission at your nonprofit and serve people who need your help.
Yes! There are people out there who need you at your best – they need YOUR help! Think about it like this – if your friend was stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere because her car broke down, and she called you for help. Even though you only have a little gas in your car, you start down the road to help her because she needs you – but what happens? You run out of gas, and now you’re stranded on the side of the road too. Now YOU and YOUR friend are in a pickle. You have to keep your own tank filled up so you can be there for others. You have to recharge your battery so you can be a light for someone else.
Here are 5 tips to recharge and re-inspire your spirit:
1. Rest – Rest is EVERYTHING! I know – you have a lot to do. Your days are full and busy. Finding time to rest will help you work more efficiently and help you cope with stress. Rest helps you find peace and avoid agitation. If you give your brain time to just “be” and not think about work – you’ll find an easier path to peace in your mind and in your heart. And then you can do more and better work.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that my husband is a wildland firefighter. He is the ultimate giver. Sacrifice is as natural to him as breathing. He gives up months of his life to lead a crew of firefighters to try to put out wildfires and protect the homes of complete strangers all over the country. He gives up summer vacations, time with family, weekends, holidays, time he could be fishing. In the summer, he lives a go-go-go lifestyle where he’s gone at dawn and doesn’t sit down and take his boots off at home until 8 o’clock at night – except for the nights he’s fighting a fire and then he sleeps on the ground outside or if he’s feeling really luxurious, he’ll put up a tent.
Rest is ALWAYS part of the conversation in our house. This is where I think God really knew what he was doing when he put us together, because I am a HUGE advocate for rest! When my husband is off the clock, he still has a hard time resting – so we do things like take a walk or some nice easy fishing on the river a few minutes from our house one night a week. We schedule our Saturdays (or whatever day he has off from work), so nothing happens before noon and there’s lots of breathing room to drink coffee, eat a big breakfast and watch a little HGTV together. Even though I have to remind him to rest sometimes, do you know what happens when he does? He feels good! He feels ready to lead his crew. He feels ready to go save people’s homes. He feels ready to do his job and he’s less stressed.
You probably have a different scenario at your house, but rest still makes a big difference. So, here’s my rest challenge to you:
Get one extra hour of sleep. That doesn’t mean you have to go to bed at 8:30 p.m., but what if you went to bed at 10 and woke up at 6? That's EIGHT FULL HOURS of beautiful glorious sleep! Or sleep 9:30 to 5:30! Maybe eight hours isn’t realistic for you – but whatever your life is like, try to get more sleep. You’ll reap the benefits of it and see a difference in how you feel every day.
The second thing in this rest challenge…
Fast. Not from food but fast from social media and email. Try going for 24 hours without social media and email. Why? THIS is how you can supercharge your way back to peace. Think about it – how many pictures do you see in a day? How many things do you read? How many thoughts do those things produce in your head? And of those thoughts, how many make you feel less than awesome? Maybe you find scrolling through Facebook relaxing, but here’s the thing – when you scroll through Facebook for hours, you’re not present in the moment that you’re living in. Not only are you missing out on enjoying the moment, you’re also introducing stress. How many times has your peaceful mood been agitated by an inflammatory Facebook post or comment that you read? How many times have you been carefree, until you peeked at your email on your phone on a Saturday and saw you had an email that had to do with something you’re anxious about at work?
Admittedly, I fail at fasting from social media and email A LOT, but in the past few months, on Friday nights I've been shutting down all the apps on my phone and then leaving it in another room. The break from all the noise of the world helps me get back to peace and I feel ready to take on the world Monday morning.
That’s your rest challenge – get one extra hour of sleep and fast from social media and email for 24 hours.
2. Exercise. Moving your body every day is so important when it comes to your mental health. Not only does it feel nice to move and stretch and feel alive, it’s also so healthy for your mind! Try taking a walk every day before or after work or at lunch. Pay attention to how you feel before, and more importantly afterwards.
3. Plan. Sunday night is perhaps the most important night of the week for me. If I don’t stick to my Sunday night plan, the whole week is likely to go off the rails. My Sunday night plan consists of eating dinner at 6:30 or 7, then doing something relaxing and low key before I put on my pajamas and brush my teeth at 9:30 and get in bed. If I don’t do this, Monday morning is a disaster. I don’t sleep well when I go to bed late, then I’m tired, then I skip exercising, then I’m cranky, productivity is low, and I just feel crummy. The day is a wash, and then I spend my entire Tuesday playing catch up. If I’m lucky, by Wednesday I’ve taken the reins on the week. All of that fallout from a lack of sticking to a Sunday night plan that has proven to work for me!
So – look at yourself. What can you plan to do to set yourself up for success? Is there something you can do the night before you get up and go to work that can help you? Can you lay out your outfit? Can you make your lunch? Can you cut up vegetables and make yourself a little Tupperware of hummus to eat for a snack, so you’ll eat that instead of Cheetos? What can you do at night that will help you tomorrow?
4. Pray and think. I remember once our former pastor asked in a sermon – “How many things do you click on in a day? How many times do you click on something that has to do with God?”
I think about that when I look at my whole day. I have 24 hours, and I devote most of them to working or sleeping. What piece of that time can I devote to God? In the grand scheme of things, taking 30 minutes out of my day to pray, think, read something that’s calming and going to fill my mind with worthwhile thoughts seems like something worth prioritizing.
What has worked for me is incorporating this small block of time for God into my morning routine. I read a short daily devotional, pack a page full of chicken scratch in a prayer journal, and take time to pray and digest what I’ve read. It’s like putting armor on for the day – and I never skip it!
5. Remember. Take some time and let the dust settle in your mind. Take a step back and remember what your mission is… What is the mission of your organization? Why did you start helping people this way? Remember why you started. Remember the beginning. Focus on it.
Did you get distracted, or are you still on course? If you’ve drifted a little, it’s okay – just take this time to get back on track. We all get distracted. Remember why you got started and reconnect with the decisions that led you to start helping others.
Remember - you are making a difference. People still need you. Remember how amazing you are and the gifts you bring to the table!
Recharge and re-inspire your spirit so you can be your best for you and for others. You need to have a “full tank of gas” to be able to help people who are looking to you, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself – fill your tank!
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