Linda Gorchels blogs

Running on Empty? Refuel Your Well-Being

How are you feeling? Tired? Rushed? Anxious? Stressed?

That seems to be a fact of life in today’s society. We keep trying to do more in less time. And as the saying goes, we’re often running on fumes.

Stop it.

Right. Easier said than done. I get that. But yet refueling your well-being is so very, very important.

Empty fuel gauge

Check Your Fuel Gauge

Go back to my initial question. How are you feeling? Do a thorough scan of your mind, body, and spirit.  Where do you most need to refuel? Maybe you could just “top off” your well-being in some areas and recharge in others.

What you need right now may differ from what you needed yesterday. Or what you’ll need tomorrow. Honor that. Respect that. Focus on it. When you try to “fix” everything all at once, you are likely to fix nothing well. Look for the most pressing potholes in your well-being to get started.

Use massage or exercise to loosen tense muscles. Nap if you’re sleep-deprived. If you’re overwhelmed, a nature walk might help. And if you’re lonely, getting out with people could be the cure.


Recharge in the order your well-being requires. Delay exercise if what you need is a nap. And postpone napping if what you need is exercise. Address the deepest potholes first.

Quick Refuels

Sometimes you can’t immediately fill your well-being potholes, but still need adjustment. Here are a few quick fixes to refuel your well-being.

  • Grab a granule of gratitude. Focus on something you are (or could be) thankful for. A brilliant sunrise. Appreciation for someone stopping the elevator door to wait for you. A clean office. Compel yourself to be genuinely grateful—GENUINELY GRATEFUL. Fixating on gratitude forces out the negative thoughts that siphon your well-being.
  • Muster a moment of meditation. Close your eyes. Take a brief serenity break to clear your mind and calm your nerves.  While 5-minute, 10-minute, or longer meditations strengthen well-being on an ongoing basis, you can insert impromptu meditations any time during the day. (But since your eyes are closed, it’s best to not do it while driving!)
  • Revel in rich respiration. Take deep breaths. Slowing your breathing can relax your brain and quiet emotional stressors. Inhale slowly through your nose and hold it for a couple of seconds. Expand your belly as you breathe in. (This is abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing.)  Then exhale slowly through the nose or mouth. Try to relax all the muscles in your body as you are exhaling. Do this 3-5 times as a break from—or to prepare for—a stressful situation.
  • Snatch a string of stretches. Stretching can increase your range of motion, prevent pain, and enhance physical and mental well-being. And you can do it in fractions of idle moments.
    • Starting with your head, bring your right ear to your right shoulder until you feel a stretch. Then roll your head down so your chin tucks to your chest. Continue rolling to the left side.
    • Next, with an erect spine, turn your head to look over your right shoulder, then your left.
    • Moving to shoulders, shrug up and down, front and back. As you shrug backward, raise your shoulders up and back before lowering them down.
    • Continuing to the upper back, clasp hands together and rotate the palms toward the front as you stretch your arms forward.
    • Keeping the hands clasped, raise them over your head; bend to the left and to the right. You should feel it in the midsection and sides.
    • For a spinal stretch, sit up straight, bend toward your thighs, and slide your hands along your legs until they touch the floor.  
    • For the lower back, a torso twist might be in order. Grab the right arm of the chair with both hands and twist at the waist to look over your right shoulder. Switch to the other side.
    • To stretch the hip flexors, stand up. With your backside toward the chair, place your right leg on the chair so that your shin is parallel to the floor. Shift forward until you feel a stretch above the knee of the right leg. Repeat with the left side.
    • While still standing, bend down while raising the toes of one foot to stretch the hamstring and calf muscles. Continue on the other side.

Mountains and Valleys

The road to well-being isn’t straight and flat. There are mountains and valleys—exuberant highs and wrenching lows. The challenge is to enjoy the scenery whether you’re on the high road or the low road.

Descartes said there are no mountains without valleys. True. But you have to accept both. In fact, you contribute to problems by expecting well-being to always be on the upswing.

Manage your well-being through its ups and downs. Fill the potholes with quick fixes when necessary. Then focus on the long-term. Well-being is an attitude—a way of life. Time to refuel your well-being.