Burnout is real and it can be difficult to know how to fill yourself back up once you feel depleted.  This episode covers the recharge list: what that is, why you need one, and how to make one for yourself.  Our prompts and 3 step framework will help you to create a grab bag of options for filling your cup that don’t cost a lot of money, aren’t super time-consuming, and most importantly, make you feel happy and not crappy!  Listen in if you’re ready to feel less stressed and more like yourself. 

here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [1:03] Understand what a recharge list is and why you need one.
  • [8:40] Gain clarity for your recharge list by journaling on the following questions:
    • What fills your cup? Where do you feel recharged? Who do you feel recharged with (if anyone)?
    • [9:30] What makes you feel more like yourself?
  • [10:02] Create specific examples using our Meals, Movement, Mind Framework.
    • [10:26] Meals: What do you like eating? What makes you feel good in mind, body, and soul?
    • [11:47] Movement: If you remove all fitness goals, what movement is recharging for you? 
    • [12:50] Mind: What mentally recharges you?
    • [15:31] Learn from some personal examples.

links mentioned in this episode

The Feel Good Effect Book

Happy Healthy Habits for Real Life

read the transcript

Robyn Conley Downs: (00:01)

You’re listening to The Feel Good Effect, a recharge list. We’re talking about what that is, why you need one, and how to make one for yourself. Let’s make it happen. Radically simple and ridiculously doable. The Feel Good Effect will help you redefine wellness on your terms. Hi, I’m your host Robyn Conley Downs. And I believe that wellness isn’t about achieving another set of impossible standards, but instead, finding what works for you, drawing from cutting-edge science on mindfulness, habit, and behavior change. This podcast offers a collection of small mindset shifts that allow for more calm, clarity, and joy in everyday life and allows you to embrace the idea that gentle is the new perfect. I invite you to listen in as we cut through the clutter and find the small shifts that create huge changes in your life. Less striving, more ease. It’s time to feel good.

Robyn Conley Downs: (01:03)

Well, Hey, Feel Good fam. I am so glad you’re here. For this episode, we’re talking about a recharge list, which is something I do for myself. And I realized I hadn’t shared here and in the interest of filling your cup and emptying your to-do list and finding habits that make you feel happy and not crappy. I’m gonna tell you how to make one for yourself. So the other night I was watching a very retro, very nineties movie. Maybe some of you have seen it, The Runaway Bride, it’s a little outdated. It doesn’t really stand up I don’t think anymore. Starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in their very much less known movie together. And if you haven’t seen the movie, the premise is this woman who keeps getting engaged. And then right before she gets married, she runs away. And then this journalist played by Richard Gere, while the bride obviously played by Julia Roberts and the, this journalist played by Richard Gere, comes out to do a story on her. And then they fall in love. Spoiler alert. They fall in love and they get married. Sorry if I just ruined that for you, but it’s like a 20-year-old movie. So I think it’s okay. But the theme of the movie is that this woman, Julia Roberts doesn’t really know what she wants and that every time she gets into a relationship, she sort of takes on the personality of the person that she is engaged to. And this is highlighted throughout the movie when the journalist asks her exes, you know about her, they always describe her in a way that’s similar to them. She liked doing the same things I did. She liked the same kind of music. And the journalist asks the exes, how she likes her eggs. And each ex tells this journalist that she liked her eggs the same way they did. So if that person liked their eggs scrambled, they said, oh, she likes her eggs the same way I do. She likes them scrambled. So then there’s this moment where she realizes that she’s giving herself up in these relationships. And apparently, she doesn’t know how she likes her eggs. And so she has a moment where she’s going to find, and there’s a scene where she makes herself all the different kinds of eggs. So there’s scrambled and over easy and poached and you know, hard-boiled many other kinds of egg options, omelets. And she sits down and she says, “I’m going to figure out what kind of eggs I like.”

Robyn Conley Downs: (03:42)

And again, this movie I’m not recommending it necessarily. I don’t think it holds up particularly well, but the scene has stayed with me all of these years, because I know so many people, I work with so many women who don’t know how they like their eggs. And of course, I’m not talking about eggs because maybe you don’t need eggs. Maybe you have an egg allergy. Maybe you’re plant-based, not about the eggs. What it’s about is not knowing really what you love, what makes you feel good, what fills your cup, and what helps you recharge and be the person that you need to be and that you want to be. And I think this is so apparent lately. I mean, two years in, and a lot of us have lost the things. Maybe we, you used to be really good at finding the things that brought you joy and that helped you recharge and reset and fill your cup. But like me, the pandemic took away a lot of those things. A lot of those habits, a lot of those routines, a lot of those activities and connections, or maybe you didn’t really ever have those things, but I’ve been hearing the conversation around burnout on every podcast and all over Instagram and all over the news.

Robyn Conley Downs: (05:00)

And it’s true. I think collectively we’re at a point of a burnout and there are so many reasons for that. But one of the reasons and one that we actually have a bit of control over is the lack of recharging. So I’m not just char, I’m not just talking about rest and rest is important, but I think rest and recharging are almost two different things. And so we could unpack rest on a whole nother episode, but today I’m talking about recharging. So if you think about the old adage of the battery, if you have a phone and you’re running all the apps and you’re doing video and you’re doing FaceTime and watching YouTube and all the things that you do on your phone at the end of the day, your, you know, phone’s down to 6% and you don’t like berate your phone and tell your phone that it’s a failure and it should just work harder and find more battery. You don’t tell that it’s behind or failure. You just plug your phone in and in the morning, it’s back to 100% and then you drain it down, and then you plug it in and recharge it again. And yet we don’t have any of those routines for ourselves in many ways. And I think it can be really daunting to hear, oh, okay, I need to take care of myself. I need to work on my stress. I need to figure out how to rest and restore. And so that’s where the, uh, recharge list comes in. It is actually sitting down and being intentional about coming up with the actions, the activities, the habits that recharge you, that fill your cup back up.

Robyn Conley Downs: (06:39)

And again, I think some of us have lost sight of those things because they’ve been taken, but we can reclaim them. We can figure out how to do it in the life we have right now. And then we can be fierce that mama bear energy about protecting our time around recharge and also communicating that to people in our lives. Because if you have like one or more important people in your life who can support you, if you communicate them, “Hey, I’m drained down to zero. I need to recharge a little bit. Here’s what I need to do.” People are generally a lot more supportive when you can tell them exactly what you need versus, “I’m stressed. I’m burned out and I don’t know what to do next.” So if you can come to somebody and say, here’s what I need, here’s what I need to do. Here’s how I need to recharge. I’m hoping that you have at least one person in your life that can support you on that.

Robyn Conley Downs: (07:35)

And the value of having an actual written list beyond the fact that you can then communicate to other people, is that you, in the act of taking the intentional time to create the list will be forced in a good way to come up with, with these things, these actions, these habits, these activities. And then you can ask yourself, how often am I engaging in these recharging kinds of behaviors? And if they’re completely lacking, I think I have written a book for you. It’s called The Feel Good Effect. You can get that and how to start from ground zero and how to rebuild a life that include these things. But if you are somewhere in the middle where you kind of have some, but not a lot, you can start to ask yourself, how can I fit these into my day? I’ve done a myriad of episodes on morning routines that you could fit these things into. And I’ve done episodes on the Four R routines, which is how to fit these things throughout your day, whether you do a morning routine or not, but I really encourage you wherever you are right now to make yourself a recharge list.

Robyn Conley Downs: (08:40)

And I will tell you how to do it right now. So you can get a piece of paper, a journal, a notebook. The, the planner that I will make for you someday, um, does not exist. So just find a piece of paper or a note on your phone. And I want you to write these prompts at the top. So first we’re just gonna kind of explore. And then we can get really nitty-gritty. The first question that you could pose to yourself, you could journal on it. You could talk about it. You could just write notes is: What fills your cup really? Where do you feel recharged? Is it, it can be a place. It can be an environment. It can be an activity. It can be a behavior. It can be a person that you’re with. This is not like a graded assignment, so you can really do with it, what you want.

Robyn Conley Downs: (09:30)

And then my second question, which is one of my favorites, and it’s how I define self-care: What makes you feel more like yourself? And that that might not come to you right away if you’ve never asked, but I really want you to drill down into, like what kinds of things, actions, behaviors, environments, activities, make me feel most like myself. And if those are too broad, I mean, I’d love you to think about it. Love you reflect on it, journal on it. If you want talk to someone about it and then you can make lists.

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:02)

And so if that feels really too broad into nebulous, let me give you a couple ideas of what to do. I’m gonna give you my Meals, Movement, Mind Framework. So you could start there. So what recharges you when it comes to food? What kind, what recharges you, when it comes to movement? What recharges you when it comes to your mental wellbeing or your mental health? And then we can go from there.

Robyn Conley Downs: (10:26)

So when it comes to like meals, I think this is so important. So back to the eggs analogy, what do you like eating? What makes you feel good in mind, body, and soul? It could be comfort food. It could be somewhere in the healthy spectrum, but I think so often we lose ourselves in terms of what other people want. And we’re picking off kids’ plates or we’re eating, you know, random stuff from the pantry. I know someone in my life who, it just goes into the pantry and eats chips behind the pantry door, thinking that if you eat in the pantry behind a door, it doesn’t count, but nothing wrong with eating chips in a pantry. But I think that goes on long enough and there’s just this lack of you, you know that you’re not nourishing yourself. Your body knows that, your mind knows that. And so if you make a recharge list of around meals, what would that look like? Like what would a very recharging, very nourishing meal look like? And would that be eating alone? Would it be with friends? Would it be something you cook or would it be something you get takeout? But just that simple act of like, what makes me feel, feel more like myself? What makes me feel cared for? And how can I add that to my list? So just write it down and then you go back to this list whenever you need an idea.

Robyn Conley Downs: (11:47)

Movement, same idea. Uh, I think that I’ve done a lot of episodes around movement and exercise and sort of how to undo the mental tape around exercise and why we exercise and why we move. But we often don’t think about exercise in that way of a way to recharge. So if you take away the goal fitness goals around strength or around even, you know, mobility, if flexibility, burning calories, training for something, getting steps, if you take all that away and just think about what movement is recharging for you. Is it a slow walk outside? Is it a like really intense endorphin run? Is it dancing in your living room? Is it like, I don’t know, adventure, rowing or skydiving or all kinds of things that move your body? Is it rolling as my friend Kait Hurley would say, is it just rolling out a yoga mat and rolling around on the floor? That’s definitely on my list. So I want you to make your movement recharge.

Robyn Conley Downs: (12:50)

And then you can do a Mind. So what mentally recharges you? Is it reading a good book or maybe it’s a trashy magazine? It doesn’t have to be performative. It doesn’t have to be Instagram-worthy. Is it journaling? Is it, you know, more of those? The, the self-care I think traditional of self-care buckets of a bath or acupuncture or a facial, or getting your nails done or doing your own nails or getting completely unplugged and, you know, putting your feet in the dirt or the sand, doing a nature walk, getting into the forest, being by the ocean. I know that’s not an option for all of you. That’s that’s on my list. I’m very, very lucky. I live within driving distance of an ocean and of the mountains. And those are both on my recharge list. You know, maybe it’s an uninterrupted conversation with your partner. Maybe it’s listening to an album that you’ve always loved from front to back. Not just some random Pandora playlist, but your favorite album from front to back in order.

Robyn Conley Downs: (14:04)

But this is really about you, about what fills your cup, about what makes you feel more like yourself. And you can, like I said, organize it if you want Meals, Movement, Mind. And of course you could go beyond that if there’s other categories. But I find that having those categories helps people kind of focus. And I do these lists for myself on a pretty regular basis. I’ve been doing them for a long time. And what’s beautiful about it is that once you start these lists, as all the lists that I share, and all the ideas, you get better at noticing and there’s this loop that happens in your brain, neurologically that when you pay, pay attention, you start to notice it more. So even if it feels hard at first, just get it out there and then start paying attention like, oh, this is a recharge activity, having a cup of tea, putting on socks, getting your tea and going in a different room from everybody else and letting someone else take care of dinner. Like for example, that’s on my list. Family movie night with popcorn is on my recharge list. I mean, we’ve had probably more of those than I need in the last two years, but it’s still on my list. And what’s beautiful is you can have a mix of things. A lot of these things don’t cost any money. They’re not super time-consuming. And you just have a grab bag of options when you’re feeling depleted, when you’re feeling drained and when you need to plug yourself into the wall and get that recharge.

Robyn Conley Downs: (15:31)

So I’ll share a few of mine in no particular order. They are many of them embedded in my morning routine, which is why I talk about morning routines and why you’ve heard me say this, a giant glass of water, a walk outside while I catch up with a friend with a voice mail, a voice it’s called Vox. It’s like a messaging app. It’s free and veggies for breakfast in my breakfast, whatever that looks like. Those are very recharging for me. When I’m missing them I feel worse. When I don’t feel them, I feel crappy, not happy. And so it becomes easier and easier for me to prioritize them and move things around so that, those as that happens, as often as possible. Then there’s things like going on a hike with my spouse, Andrew, that’s something we’ve always loved doing. And then like the best feeling is getting in the car after a hike when you’re just tired and sore and dirty, but you feel so good. And then going and getting a beer, at favorite restaurant. That is what makes me feel like me and what is so recharging. And so we try to prioritize that it’s been really difficult lately, but I notice when I don’t do those things. And so for us, that’s something for me. And then something we do together that’s really recharging. Another one for me is, is again, it’s movement-related is a hike, a solo hike by myself. And again, much harder. Like I said, a lot of my recharge list got completely destroyed the last two years. And I’m just trying to rebuild it right now, but going on a hike by myself and then feeling, first of all, getting in the car after a hike by myself is like a car-cation, just sit there. I feel so good. I don’t like rush to the next thing. No one’s asking me to do anything. Recharge. Then when I drive home, it’s like all those good vibe feeling endorphins from the hike are just like going through my body. And then I put my favorite album on and I turn it up and I put the windows down, even if the weather’s bad. And I just feel like Robyn and I can’t describe it any other way. I think it probably brings me back to my teenage years, playing sports and like that freedom feeling that you get of driving in a car when you’re that age and you have good music on and you don’t know what’s to come . So those are some examples from my recharge list. There’s quite a few on there that haven’t come back yet that I haven’t I’ve been able to do. But just some examples of how I’ve sort of paused, paid attention to my own life and build this list. Something I’ve done for a long time and something I want to encourage you to do as well.

Robyn Conley Downs: (18:21)

So again, it’s really straightforward. You can just ask what fills your cup, what makes you feel more like you? And then if you want to, you can and create the list around those different categories, or you can make your own categories, um, and then work on making them happen. Even if you start with one, it doesn’t have to be all of them. I think I know some of you are really, really feeling down and like you’re rebuilding from the ground up. And again, I did write a book for you. I literally wrote it for you. It’s called The Feel Good Effect. You can get anywhere books are sold, but you don’t have to look at that list and think now I have to optimize and do all of these things. Pick one thing to start, add it in and then go from there.

Robyn Conley Downs: (19:02)

As always, if you do make your list, I’d love to see it. You can connect me @realfoodwholelife on Instagram and find all resources from today’s episode on www.realfoodwholelife.com/fge. As always, if you enjoy the show, if you enjoy free content from Real Food Whole Life, whether it’s podcast or free recipes, meal plans, all the things, the number one way you can support us is by leaving a five-star review on the podcast, on a recipe or on the book, it really does matter. And we appreciate it so much. I wanna thank you so much for listening, for being part of this Feel Good movement and for finding ways to take care of yourself every day, until next time, here’s to feeling good.

Share this Post