Recharging your mental battery

Plug yourself in

I never charge my phone until it has a full battery. I wait until it’s 1% and then plug it in until 20%, and then I go on with my day.

It sounds a bit mad, doesn’t it?

That’s because it’s absolutely bonkers and categorically not true.

But if you replace the phone with my own mental battery, then there’s a little more truth in the above statement.

I wrote back in January about why you’re tired all the time. Since then, we’ve exited a state of “lockdown”, and many of us have received at least one vaccine, but the after-effects of the last 18 months are still taking their toll on me.

Like an old iPhone on the day a new one is released, my mental battery is draining far quicker than it used to. Unfortunately for me, I can’t just plug myself into the wall and recharge (if only). So instead, I have to work to better understand what charges and drains me.

You may think you know yourself, but do you really know what drains your mental battery? What brings you to a state of burnout? And how do you rest and recuperate? Obviously, sleeping and eating are ways to recharge our systems… but what about that state of mental and emotional exhaustion that simply won’t budge, no matter how long you sleep or how many greens you eat.

While I think the concept of introvert vs extrovert is outdated these days (there are many ambiverts out there who fall between the two), it’s a good starting point for understanding what charges and drains your battery. In general, an introvert is drained by socialising and charged by time alone, while extroverts find the opposite. I typically sit in the former, although some people are more draining to be around than others.

Another way to determine how your battery works is to keep a record of your days, whether that’s in a journal or simply using the notes in your phone… do you find that days full of meetings leave you exhausted or invigorated? Do you jump for joy at the prospect of a packed weekend, or would you rather hide under the covers until everyone has gone away? Or do you sit somewhere in the middle?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, and there is no “better” way to be… it’s just about embarking on a journey of discovery to determine where you get your energy from and where most of your energy goes - and learning how to reset the balance.

Things that drain my battery

  • Zoom calls

  • A busy calendar

  • Social events with alcohol (the day after)

  • Conflict

  • The news

  • Twitter (sometimes)

Things that charge my battery

  • Reading

  • Rewatching old shows

  • Cuddling dogs

  • Running

  • Twitter (sometimes)

Why not write a list of the things that drain and charge your battery? It doesn’t have to be exhaustive or detailed, but it’s a good starting point for recognising what sparks your burnout.

📚 Crooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) - Leigh Bardugo

📚 Men Who Hate Women - Laura Bates

Covering some of the most fascinating online (and IRL) communities, including incels, pick-up artists and men’s rights activists, Bates discusses how the internet has fuelled hatred towards women. This is a really nuanced and detailed take about misogynism in the modern age.

📺 Never Have I Ever (Netflix)

Easy going teen drama - perfect for recharging the mental battery.

That’s all from me this week - see you next week (hopefully with a recharged battery!)

Ellen x

Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:

21 July: How much is too much to share

14 July: We’ve got to talk about Twitter

7 July: Meet my poison parrot

30 June: Memes are the best medicine

23 June: Backup plan

17 June: The sun always shines on TV

10 June: Practical tips for panicky people

3 June: Sciatica strikes back

26 May: Looking after yourself is hard

19 May: He just can’t decide

12 May: Getting titillated by the tangible