If my count is correct, I traveled 136 days in 2013.
Being away from my beloved city of Chicago for over 1/3 of my year is only possible because I crave adventure. From Boston, to Australia, to Puerto Rico, to San Francisco, (sometimes flying from one event across the country directly to another one) I’ve had my fair share of memorable trips. Having kept up with this travel schedule for more than three years, I recently realized I needed a different type of trip to recharge. A little research and a couple of Skype calls later, I booked a trip to Honduras to volunteer with Honduras Child Alliance.
You don’t have to travel as much as I do to run the risk of becoming burnt out and in need of a recharge. Here are three key takeaways that you can implement to recharge.
1. Identify Your Reset Button.
While in college, I was fortunate to have numerous opportunities to take service trips. From helping in an orphanage in the Ukraine, to assisting with Hurricane Katrina relief in New Orleans, to working with prisoners in a maximum-security penitentiary in Angola, volunteer trips were not new to me. However, it took me almost three years to realize that giving back was my reset button. I identified an internal need to give my energies to a project focused on others. To be completely disrupted from my daily routine and be immersed in another way of life was exactly what I needed to see things with a fresh vision.
Identify a hobby or goal that you may have been neglecting, and give it some attention! This could be the key to beginning your journey of becoming fully recharged and re-engaged.
2. Be Fully Present. Disconnect!
One of our projects in Honduras was to pour a concrete floor in a building that would be used for schooling. We were in a developing country with none of the tools we often take for granted in America, and our muscles served as the concrete mixers. We worked alongside five locals who, through hand signals and broken Spanglish, taught us the steps. Soon enough, we got into a rhythm and mixed until we went through the town’s supply of cement for that day. After massaging our aching muscles, we played soccer with Kindergarten boys and giggled with Kindergarten girls at recess, watched adults give up their nights to learn English, found out that Hondurans love our 80s music, enjoyed the freshest oranges I’ve ever tasted, and rode everywhere in the back of a Pickup. The laughter and memories shared that week could have easily been cheapened if social media and my inbox had been right at my fingertips. I didn’t need to catch up on sleep; I needed to catch up on the simple joys of life happening all around me.
Once you’ve identified what’s been missing, challenge yourself to be fully present in the activity. Turn off your cell phone (I know in this day and age it’s scary, but you can do it!) and immerse yourself in the task at hand.
3. Make a Commitment.
Peter Drucker said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” Identifying your reset button is only step one. Before excuses creep in or other life plans have the chance to interfere, commit now. After this trip, I’ve decided to take a volunteer trip every January/February when my work travel has a lull. Scheduling this time to disconnect has now become just as important as scheduling doctors’ appointments.
By designating time with a commitment to recharging and disconnecting, you will be able to better devote your attention and energy to your everyday responsibilities without feeling burned out.
As I fly home to Chicago from Boston today and pack for my flight to Houston taking off in 36 hours, I am not overwhelmed. Taking time to disconnect and recharge has instilled a renewed energy within me. I am grateful for all of the travel opportunities Red Frog has provided me, and even more grateful for the flexibility and support when I need to hit my reset button. I hope you are inspired to find what your reset button is, and push it!
Katherine Keenan, the Entrepreneur of Enthusiasm at Red Frog Events, is a Senior Manager of both Great Urban Race and Warrior Dash. She is also the Assistant Director of University Relations and Manages the Red Frog Events St. Jude partnership.