What Recharges Your Batteries?


Hearty Chili and Whole Wheat Butterhorns for the freezer

We had been traveling for two weeks. We drove from Nebraska to California and back again. We saw friends and loved ones along the way. We waited in traffic, slowed down while car accidents were cleared away, crawled along to be careful of icy roads, and took detours. Our body clocks got messed up because of the time changes. Our digestive systems got messed up because of the fast food.

We got behind on our work. We came home to deadlines, expectations, loads and loads of laundry, and a Christmas tree that needed to be taken down and put away.

After spending an enjoyable holiday with family – I found myself being so tired upon arriving home that all I could think of was how miserable I was. I had so much catching up to do, I didn’t know where to start. I just wanted to sleep. But no matter how much I slept, I somehow couldn’t get caught up on rest. My body was exhausted. And ultimately, I didn’t have time for extra sleep. There was too much to do!

The point of this post is not to invite you to my pity party. I’ve prayed through it. I’ve caught up on sleep. I’m over it. :)

But we all have times like this don’t we? Times when we are so overwhelmed and exhausted we can hardly see straight? It’s not fun.

While I was in the “thick of the sludge” last week, at one point I groaned and wearily told Matt, “You know what I really want to do? I really just want to skip all the rest of the work I need to do and go into the kitchen and cook all day!”

Matt told me to go for it. But I whined that I “didn’t have time to take a break like that.”

Finally, once I realized that I wasn’t able to be productive anymore at the computer, I threw my hands in the air and went into the kitchen to start grinding flour. :) I then proceeded to spend the entire afternoon baking, cooking, and baking some more.


Orange Pound Cake, following this Lemon Pound Cake recipe, subbing orange juice from our California fresh oranges!

By the time I was finished, my back was aching, my feet were tired, and my kitchen was a mess. But I felt completely refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle my other projects once again.


 Whole Wheat Calzones

 It’s amazing really. Sometimes when we have too much to do, we need to just step back and do something else. By doing so, we will be refreshed and ready to tackle our to-do list again.

Cooking refreshes me. I love it. And then I end up with great food to feed my family too. It’s a win-win!

What recharges your batteries? What activity do you love to do when you need a breath of fresh air? Making crafts, cleaning, cooking, something else? I can’t wait to hear!


  1. Sherri J. says

    I’m with you Laura. Cooking really helps relax me too! If only someone would come behind me and clean up the mess…


    Melissa Reply:

    Exactly! I love cooking but not the clean up so much. However,it is a satisfying feeling to get the kitchen all cleaned up and see how much better it looks.


  2. says

    Cooking wouldn’t do it for me. Gardening does, but that isn’t possiblein the winter. All this just reminds us that the Lord told us to take shabbat. That is not a legalistic don’t do this or that day, just don’t do ordinary work. A professional baker wouldn’t bake and a professional yard maintenance person wouldn’t garden.


  3. says

    Looks like you have chili in a glass mason jar? Do you freeze in those, if so, how?- Without busting them?


    Kristie Reply:

    I freeze things in all sizes of mason jars, and most aren’t freezer proof. I haven’t had one bust… yet! I make sure whatever I’m freezing is relatively cool, and put it in the freezer with the lid on loosely. After a day or so, I screw the lid on tightly and it’s all set! I’ve had pasta sauce jars and the like break, but never mason jars.


  4. Sara Stone says

    Hiking totally recharges me…or snow shoeing in the winter. It gets me away from everything that has to be accomplished at home. The other benefit is all the fresh air and exercise. :)


  5. Jessica says

    I feel the same way about “playing” in the kitchen. After a long week that’s culminated by teaching two different classes at our Friday afternoon homeschool co-op, my favorite thing to do is to come home, put on some music, and make homemade pizza dough for our Friday night pizza feast. And sometimes I too have ignored all the things on my to-do list just to bake.


  6. Season says

    I am the same way, when I am stressed by school and homework I love to cook. Some people think I am crazy, but now I know there is someone else like me.


  7. ingrid says

    I had to do this very thing yesterday. Some days when I feel overwhelmed I used my kids naptime to do a small craft (something I can finish in one afternoon) instead of my regular cleaning, etc. Of course I can’t do this all the time but every now and then it really helps to take the time “off.” Glad you enjoyed your break!


  8. Lana says

    I love the beautiful cake. It must be an awesome pan that you used! After almost 35 years of cooking 3 meals a day cooking does not recharge my batteries anymore. Going out for a nice meal and having another couple join us is a real stress reliever for me. If anything at home recharges me it is cleaning and then enjoying my nice clean house.


  9. Amy says

    I’m glad to know someone else is like me and is recharged by cooking. Cross country skiing recharges me even more!


  10. says

    Everything looks so yummy. I feel the same way about baking and cooking, but I am too tired for that on some days. I need to get in the kitchen and bake. Sometimes, I just want to sit down and create cards or scrapbook pages. It allows my creative juices to flow.


  11. cher says

    When I was a single mom, I would be so exhausted at the end of the day that I just wanted to crash, I found that staying up for an extra hour to scrapbook left me with more energy than that hour of sleep would have. Thanks for this post as I have been feelings worn out and not remembering to recharge myself. Time to dust of my scrapbooks :)


  12. Beth says

    The timing of this post is perfect Laura, thank you! In addition to homeschooling, I also work as a nanny. Well the family I work for went on an impromtu trip last night leaving me with some extra time on my hands. My brain has been spinning as I contemplate how to spend that time. This post has helped me remember that cooking good healthy food for my family makes me feel great! So as soon as I am done with school it is off to the kitchen for me! Thanks again for such a timely post!!


  13. Molly says

    I declutter.
    Last Sunday I was having one of those days (my husband told me I was sitting next to him, staring into space, “twitching” – really, I was agitated about the state of our overfull cabinets), so we cleaned out a couple of them, got rid of some things we don’t use, and that first addition to the give-away pile instantaneously brought me back to “normal”.


  14. Sheila Laurence says

    Quiet alone time is very good for me, whatever I am doing, but sewing really quiets my soul. It’s a little strange, because I go long periods without sewing at all (time), but just compmleting a simple project makes me feel so content.


  15. charla shell says

    I am completely encouraged by your post. I love cooking that’s my stress relief. I am always amazed at how much you get done in a day. I wish I was that organized


  16. Katie says

    Cleaning and organizing oddly relax my mind. I find I am most refreshed mentally when I have had a chance to clear visual clutter. Odd, I know, but seems to work, so I don’t ask questions. :)


  17. says

    I’m with Katie. Whenever I’ve been working long and hard on an ‘in-my-head’ project like writing or studying I long for a physical ying for the heady yang. Cleaning my house comforts me because I can immediately see physical results, whereas the computer work is harder to ‘see.’ When I get ‘stuck’ in thinking mode, there’s no better cure than setting a candle by the kitchen sink and sudsing up a mess of dishes, usually with some great classical music playing. To bring order from chaos in the kitchen does the same thing to my mind.


  18. Erika says

    Hi, Laura! I’m pregnant with #5, homeschooling, and have thyroid issues, so yeah, I get tired out pretty easily! What recharges my batteries is sitting down with a nice warm cup of rooibos (red) chai tea mixed with some other herbs + iodine that help my thyroid and energy levels. I went off of caffeine about 2 months ago, and boy, what a boost to my energy levels! I don’t really have time to stop and do something “fun” right now, but this 5 minutes really make me feel better. Going for walks outside in the sunshine are awesome, too!


  19. Karen says

    I wish that much cooking would recharge my battery! However, cleaning and organizing is the thing that boosts my energy level the best. . . I sympathize with you about how you felt coming back from a trip. That is my experience every time and I have learned to give myself a couple of days to catch up on responsibilities left behind as well as to emotionally catch up as well. Sometimes we just have to “plow through it.”


  20. Teresa says

    After being sick this week, I have realized that freezer food is a must and recharges me because I didn’t have to worry with this chore. I had veggie beef soup in freezer and chicken broth which my hubbie made chic noodle while I talked him thru it. I was so happy that I had done this previously. This is a must in every household that wants to eat real food! My recharge didn’t come while I cooked it but when I needed it. What a blessing!


  21. Ruth Anne shorter says

    Question Hello and glad you were able to cook!

    Question– when baking that yummy cake and it says whole wheat flour– does it mean soft wheat, hard white wheat, hard red wheat or mixture of these?


    Laura Reply:

    I use hard white wheat for everything, just to keep things simple. But you could use soft white also if you prefer. :)


  22. Melinda says

    To recharge batteries I love to sit down at the piano and play until I’m tired. That can be more than an hour. If I have more time to just totally recharge I will get out my paints and watercolor. I agree with you girls that cleaning out a closet or cabinet is going to make me feel good but I find my juices recharged to do those things when I do something creative. Cooking falls into that category for some. I always think about the mess I have to clean up afterwards. Isn’t The Lord good that He makes each one of us delightfully unique in what recharges our batteries.? I praise Him!


  23. sage_brush says

    For me it’s playing the piano – but that’s my cure for everything from insomnia to headache! Chopin Nocturnes will tame anything or anyone.

    Baking is wonderful as well, but I could never do it just randomly. Saturday has been baking day for my entire life, which was ingrained into me from by my mother. My family would think the earth stopped spinning on its axis if the Saturday bake happened on a different day! :)


  24. Stephanie says

    Oh boy, it is sure nice to hear that other moms go through the same struggles I do when coming home from a long vacation. Maybe it will help to know that this is inevitable, than we can just roll with it when it does. Hmmm, what energizes me? Experimental baking (changing the ingredients in recipes I find using healthy alternatives!). Also, picking up clutter. If there is too much clutter my motivation and energy are drained!


  25. Mary L. says

    Playing the piano is the best way to refresh my spirit. Playing hymns that glorify the Lord takes my focus off of myself and places it back where it should be – living in the presence of God.


  26. Jamie says

    I’m totally there with you, except I’m exhausted b/c of a 3 year old and a 10 month old and being sick as a family for 6 weeks total since Sept (seriously praying to miss the flu!) :) I love them dearly but this week I was like “ENOUGH”, handed the baby to my husband, ran away, and took a nap. I never nap. It felt good :)

    I like to cook to unwind too, HOWEVER I do not unwind while cooking if I have to keep stopping and starting (ahem kids), soooo I’m praying about my bad attitude of the past 2 weeks and thanking my husband for his wonderful attitude and babysitting, and most of all apologizing to God for the serious gripe-fest I gave Him all month.


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