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Opinion: Learning to recharge myself

People never let their devices get depleted, yet let themselves get that way all the time.

Letting myself get depleted due to not slowing down was a significant challenge for me to overcome.

Learning to slow down and take some time for myself was difficult because of my “helper” mentality; I was pushing to be there for everyone else. Unfortunately, it was usually at my own detriment.

The mentality that made me good at my job was hell on everything else because I was unable to find a good balance; at least until I was so burned out I was unable to function at the job anymore either.

Add in the years of mental trauma weighing on me from my previous life in EMS, and it was no wonder my mind splintered the way it did, forcing me off the job I loved. Between the mentality and trauma I ended up no good to myself, or anyone else.

Something I have learned over the last few years is that if I want to remain effective at my job, whatever it is, or be present for my family I need to step on the brake once in awhile and take a breather.

Just like a device cannot run once it’s out of power, neither can a person. After all, how can someone give of themselves if they have nothing left to give?

With work, and life, seeming like it is moving faster than ever, taking time to stop and reflect is more important than ever.

Doing so needs to be made a priority, which is why I actually booked myself some downtime at the end of October.

I spent two days in a virtual conference hosted by Adobe Systems, the creators of software such as Lightroom and Photoshop. The innovation and technology being introduced into the software I use regularly for my photography is beyond impressive. After two days, the creative conference definitely helped re-spark my creative energies.

That spark was turned into a raging inferno with something else I did.

The weekend following the Adobe conference, I attended a weekend creative retreat at Gull Lake Centre which was organized by some writer friends.

While the retreat part, the time to work on my own projects, etc, was within my comfort zone, other aspects of the retreat were not.

The first evening of the retreat, the 20 or so of us taking part did a joint painting activity where each of us would start on a canvas, work on it for two minutes, pass it to the right, then work on the one in front of us for two minutes more. Some of the creations were … interesting.

Did I mention that I’m not a painter?

Still, it was outside of my comfort zone, and that is not a bad thing.

That project has actually gotten me to do some drawing and sketching, not something I’ve done a whole lot of but with reasonable results.

Another activity some of the writers did was a timed activity where we were given a prompt to write about, then the half-dozen of us in the group shared our work with each other.

The writing prompts were not unknown to me, but the sharing of my work in a live venue was definitely uncomfortable. However, it was also inspiring to see how the other writer’s navigated the prompt so much differently than I had.

I ended up leaving both the Adobe conference and the retreat feeling energized and invigorated, ready to tackle what lay ahead as fall begins the slow but steady transition to winter and things get busier as events start happening prior to Christmas.

Lalah Delia, a spiritual writer and wellness educator, once said, ‘self-care is how you take your power back.”

She is right.

A get-away doesn’t have to be a big, fancy, two-week holiday. It could be taking a half-day here or a weekend there. Whatever you do doesn’t have to be much, but sometimes unplugging yourself from the world for a bit is just what you need to do to recharge yourself.

That’s something that has taken me way too long learn, but, finally, I have.


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