What tells you that your inner batteries are running low?
Being introverted and/or sensitive, we get drained by external stimulation. People, busy environments, events. This is different from extroverts, who need to seek out and plug into the external world when their energy levels are low.
There is no better or worse way of creating energy. These are just our natural orientation. But understanding our temperamental preferences is a keystone if we want to learn how to function at an optimum level as an individual.
Whether we are introverted or extroverted, one of the things we can do is learn to recognise the signs that we need to recharge the batteries. Because when we’re running on low we put ourselves at risk of overwhelm, increased stress, and ultimately, burnout.
At a surface level we might know when we’re drained. We feel tired, hungry, or unable to concentrate. But it’s not always obvious, especially to ourselves, when we are attempting to run on empty.
We might not realise that certain behaviours, thought processes, or attitudes, have crept in. It can be insidious. And ways of seeing and feeling the world can feel like the truth. When they are really just a reflection of the state our batteries are in.
Recharge The Collective Battery
This doesn’t just impact us as individuals. It is contagious. Low batteries are catching. And before you know it you can end up with a whole family, community, or society, who are showing signs of low batteries. And I would say this feels truer today than I’ve ever known it before.
Change, as ever starts with us. Self-awareness. Stopping. Listening. Observing. Reflecting. What is happening that tells me I need to recharge my batteries right now?
This stuff is vital. The creation of energy lies at the heart of our positive drive. If we are constantly acting from a place of energetic debt, we will lose our sense of meaning, fun, and curiosity. We will lose perspective, and live in a state of fatalism, irritability, and hostility towards others. Ultimately, overtime, we will lose ourselves and our natural ways of showing up.
We just become a collection of empty vessels, rattling around, and bumping into one another.
When society appears like this, it’s not a reflection of how things are. It’s a reflection of how poorly we are managing ourselves and our energy. How poorly we are at nurturing and cultivating the stuff that matters most. It’s a sign that we have our priorities completely out of whack.
Batteries Are There To Be Used (and charged)
Devices have batteries so that we can use them unplugged. They are built to be used with their own self-contained power generator, away from a more abundant source of energy. They don’t need to be plugged in all the time (doing so de-conditions the battery and renders it ineffective and ultimately useless), but they can’t stay unplugged all the time (eventually the battery will deplete and the thing will stop working).
We can use take this metaphor and run with it. Humans are the same. We have compelling personal projects, relationships, jobs etc, for which we need and want to unplug. We show up and step in, knowing that we will require energy to complete them. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s where we find those moments of meaning and purpose for our lives, and generate passion for stuff that matters to us.
But even the most fulfilling, life-affirming activities and relationships, will cause our batteries to drain. We need to recharge, and we need to pre-charge. Just like you do with your phone when you’re taking it out and about. You take it to use it. But you would do so with the battery level in mind, charging it before you leave. And if needs be working out a plan to keep it charged if you’re going to be away for a while.
The Thing That Drains The Battery Isn’t Innately Bad
It’s a sign that you’re alive.
Ultimately how we invest the energy in our batteries is up to us. And it is helpful to run diagnostics in order to recognise anything that is disproportionately sucking energy from the battery.
But this all starts with recognising what it looks like when our batteries are low. And sometimes, as we explore in the podcast, these signs are not always obvious.
Serenity in the Trenches
“What I’ve discovered is that I can treat myself like a very small child. How would I treat a small child that I loved, if I noticed they were tired or grumpy, or just sort of losing their shit? I would be asking, “what do you need right now?”
– Jacob Nordby
In this part of the Serenity in the Trenches series we are looking at the signs that we need to recharge out batteries.
We are joined by:
Alice Southern, Beth Buelow, Boom Shikha, Cameron Airen, Carina Nickerson, Cat Rose, Jacob Nordby, Jacquelyn Strickland, Jim Woods, Jennifer Kahnweiler, Josie George, Lauren Sapala, Leah Burkhart, Mark Pierce, Michaela Chung, Nancy Ancowitz, Neil Hughes, Sarah Kuhn, Sarah Santacroce, Thea Orozco, Tracy Cooper, Tracy Guillet, Tuula Ahde
The Screaming Child
I love this analogy of the small child, because it represents the state we can get into. We get irritable, frustrated, angry. But these are emotions of communication, telling us about ourselves and our own state of being. Not necessarily about the object of our frustration or anger.
Right now, the world is full of signs that tell me we need to take our batteries seriously. We’ve worn them down, and de-conditioned them to a point where we have shorter fuses, take everything personally, work too hard, throw blame around, and get outraged, angry, and divisive.
These aren’t signs of ‘just the way things are’ in some cosmically natural sense. They are symptoms, communicating something to us, if only we take a moment to listen. They are pointing towards a chronic fatigue that is violently rattling our collective conscious.
We’ve forgotten how to breathe, let go, rest, recharge. We expect too much, and give no grace. To ourselves or to each other. We impatiently and unyieldingly assume the worst in others, while at the same time feeling victimised by the lack of grace shown to us when we act with good faith and the best of intentions.
We engage in dances of hostility and fear. Spiralling around, getting lost and confused. Entitled yet alone.
This is not the end of the story. This is just the beginning. And it starts when we begin to recognise our own symptoms.
This episode gives some fascinating insights from the 23 gentle rebel guests. They share their own warning lights and red flags.
There were a few big “aha!” moments for me here. I have always tended to withdraw and ‘double down’ when my batteries are low. If I’m exhausted and distracted, my natural tendency is to force myself to extract myself from people, and work harder.
I dance with the story inside my head that I need to earn my chance to rest. So I chip away, chiselling the stone, until there’s nothing left. The thing I was supposedly sculpting is replaced by rubble and despair.
If that voice is saying ‘work harder, there’s no time for exercise, friends, or reading’, then I know my batteries are in the red zone. But identifying this is only half the battle. The other part is doing something with the information and actually intervening. In the next part we will be looking at this area of follow up…How CAN you recharge (and pre-charge) your batteries so that you never need to run on empty?
Watch the Episode on YouTube:
Over to You
How do YOU know when it’s time to recharge your batteries? I’d love to hear your own response to this question in the comments below.
Listen to The Gentle Rebel (Extended Play) Private Podcast:
How Do You Know When You Need More Fuel?
If you like this topic and want to hear more of my (more personal) thoughts and reflections, plus me singing a few songs and talking about my music, you can subscribe to the bonus podcast right now, through Patreon