Whew! It’s been a busy summer, hasn’t it? At the end of a hectic week or even a frantic day, do you sometimes feel like you’re running out of gas?

This reminds me of an old Jackson Browne song (one of my husband’s favorite singer/songwriters), Running on Empty. Listen to his live 1979 version.

As the chorus says:

Running on . . . running on empty
Running on . . . running blind
Running on . . . running into the sun
But I’m running behind

Like the song, sometimes I feel like I’m running and getting nowhere fast.

That’s when I know it’s time to slow down and hit the pause button. Whether you’re leading a team, running a business or tending a family, you can’t be fully present for others unless you’re fully fueled and energized yourself.

In my years as the director of a crisis line, it was important to have emergency protocols for potentially serious situations such as talking to a suicidal caller. We had to be prepared to help people who were feeling empty and had lost all hope.

It’s easy to forget that we have to take care of ourselves so we don’t get to the same point as some of those callers.

As individuals, we need our own emergency regeneration protocol for the times when we’re running on empty – for the times when we need recharging. We need a plan that we can turn to when we’re so stressed and worn out that we’re not thinking clearly. It should be something simple to remember that can immediately calm us down.

I’ll share mine. I call it my Palm Plan. It involves just 3 steps:

  1. Stop. Yes, first I have to acknowledge and admit that I’m anxious and stressed or tired and worn to a frazzle. Just observing myself, without judging, begins the process of putting things in perspective.
  2. Breathe. It’s amazing how much it helps to just breathe. Long slow deep breaths help me to relax. The more stressed I am, the more deep breathing I have to do. I just keep going until I feel less tense.
  3. Repeat one of my favorite personal mantras. “I am strong and flexible like a palm tree.” Repeating this over and over fills me with energy and power. It reminds me that everything is going to be okay. I know from experience that it always is . . . eventually.

Here are some other suggestions to help spark some ideas for your own Palm Plan. Think about the things you do that immediately bring you peace and tranquility. Those things should be part of your plan!

Share some of the things you do when you’re running on empty in the comments section below. What works for you may help someone else!