10 Small Rituals That Help Us Recharge Our Batteries

As the holiday season begins and we start to spend more time indoors, these tips are helping us stay calm and joyful.

Joao Inacio/ Getty Images
Joao Inacio/ Getty Images

The Scandinavians have a custom called “lille lørdag,” translated as “Little Saturday” — in which Wednesdays are seen as opportunities for a mini-break in the workweek, and people treat themselves to something small but enjoyable — like a meetup with friends or a special dinner. This idea is especially resonant this time of year, as small, recharging rituals are so important as we enter the holiday season and can expect to spend more time indoors.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the little rituals that help them recharge their batteries. Which of these will you try?

Going on a nature walk

“When my mind gets into overdrive and I begin to feel overwhelmed, I love to connect with nature. Ten minutes away from my home, there is a lake inhabited by a large group of turtles, a duck, and a goose. They have become friends of mine! I love to watch how the turtles stand still and soak up the sun, how the ducks swim in a tight pack, and how the goose stays vigilant over his territory. Observing the intuitive connection animals have within their environments is quite soothing and helps me recharge.”

—James Petrossi, president of PTNL, Austin, TX

Spending some time coloring

“To recharge, I have a coloring book and I simply color away. I have ordered several of them, and one of the pages I put into a frame to remind me to continually recharge, reignite, and reinvent from time to time.  I get so deeply involved with coloring that my husband says, ‘Wow, you are acting like a little kid with this coloring book.’  Yup, that’s me, with a childlike attitude — no worries, no cares, just coloring. As I color and recharge, I think about the Stevie Wonder song, ‘With A Child’s Heart.’”

—Dr. Sandra Wright, educational consultant and coach, Atlanta, GA

Drinking a cup of tea

“A daily strategy that I use to recharge my batteries is to take a break from my computer every afternoon and enjoy an herbal cup of tea. I make sure I enjoy the smell, do some deep breathing and simple stretches, and think about one or two things I am grateful for that happened in the morning. My favorite teas even have motivational quotes that are fun to read and share with others. I find it a wonderful way to reset.”

—Beth Benatti Kennedy, MS, leadership coach, Beverly, MA

Watching a festive movie

“I find the best way to recharge during the winter months is to schedule in time to go outdoors and be in nature. It’s not always easy when it is cold but a walk in the park or local woodland rarely fails to improve overall feelings of well-being. I also have a little ritual during December of allowing myself one afternoon a week to finish working earlier and chill out in front of a festive movie. Even if it turns out to be rubbish, I just look forward to the break!”

—Sharon Kennewell, holistic health and wellness coach, U.K.

“Closet meditating”

“I’m a closet meditator — literally. Earlier this year, I decided to take a page out of Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, and began sitting in the closet for 10 minutes nearly every day. Glennon talks about accessing her ‘knowing’ while in the closet. I wanted some of that. And while I can’t say I access my inner wisdom every day, I do aim to set an intention by repeating a word with every breath, like productive, worthy, grateful. It’s become a morning ritual I really enjoy!”

—Julie Bronsteatter, personal and executive coach, Chicago, IL

Doing a family puzzle

“A creative ritual we enjoy as a family, especially this time of year, is to have a jigsaw puzzle going on our dining room table throughout the season. When I want to take a work break through the day, I’ll make a cup of tea, turn on some music and let go of everything else until I find 5-10 pieces. It’s a nice reset that feels satisfying. Having the puzzle out on the table is a visual invitation to unplug and take a creative pause. We all take turns in our household, whenever we feel like it – it’s a pressure-free activity. When the puzzle gets close to being solved, we all jump in to complete it together and then we start a new one.”

—Emily Madill, author and certified professional coach, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada

Listening to a podcast

“To recharge, I plug in my ear buds and listen to one of three things: the Waking Up meditation app by neuroscientist Sam Harris to calm my mind, “The Tim Ferriss Show” to inspire me with stories of successful people and how they failed on their way to the top, or Boston College professor Heather Cox Richardson’s weekly Facebook Lives, which shed light on American history and politics. There is something about hearing someone making sense out of life that brings my energy down a few notches and reminds me that everyone has something to carry, and we can all put it down for a few minutes if we want to.”

—Siobhan Kukolic, author, inspirational speaker and life coach, Toronto, ON, Canada

Embracing the cold air

“Earlier this year, I bought a convertible. When I drove it, I noticed that I felt calm. Getting in the car and putting the top down, even on cold days when I need to turn up the heat and bundle up, seemed to help settle my thoughts. I assumed it was simply about the driving experience until we went on a family trip, where we discovered a smoothie bar which had swings on its patio. As I swung, I realized how happy and at peace I felt, remembering how much I loved to swing as a kid. The commonality between both seems to be the experience of wind in my face and the sense of movement. Driving in my convertible or swinging allows me to focus on that tactile experience, pulling me into the moment and recharging my energy.”

—Dr. Robin Buckley, executive and couples coach, Rye, N.H.

Trying an online class

“Once a month, I listen to an inspirational or educational master class online.  Learning from others helps to motivate and inspire my personal and professional growth. I treat this time as a refresh and renewal period, and it leaves me feeling lighter.”

—Kristin Meekhof, author and life coach, Royal Oak, MI

Looking at the holiday lights

“I have always loved sitting below the glow of a Christmas tree twinkling with lights.  My husband jokes that it is my favorite activity and was our late cat Cleo’s favorite activity, too. On my least favorite day of the year last year, the day the tree came down, I lamented the time between now and the next holiday and decided not to wait. I started putting lights on a plant, bought lights for another big plant in our bedroom, and finally bought a tree from Restoration hardware and yet another long string of lights. It is silly, but sitting looking at the lights is profoundly settling. In fact, it’s where I meditate before dawn.”

—Dr. Camille Preston, business psychologist, Cambridge, MA 

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