While the pandemic still has a hold on many places around the world, for those starting to make a full-fledged return to their social calendars it can be tempting to book every minute to make up for lost time. However, studies show that now, with our social stamina perhaps lower than before, downtime can be even more critical to restoring our physical and mental health.

That’s why we wanted to know: What have you been doing for you? How have you been recharging your battery? We asked our meQuilibrium community, and here are just some of the ways—eight, to be exact—that you have been relaxing, restoring, and refreshing these past few months. Which will you try?

1. Unplugging from Tech

“Recharging for me starts with unplugging from my computer, phone, and social media distractions. My favorite way to relax and recharge is to get on the ferry and go to the beach on the barrier island near my home. That first breath of fresh, salty air takes my blood pressure down, and my worries melt away. Sitting on the beach, staring at the ever-changing ocean, is both calming and life-affirming.” —Jackie, Long Island, NY

2. Putting Yourself First

“This summer I am taking a break from school to focus on myself and my mental health. I’ve been meditating (the meditations on meQuilibrium are great!), attending therapy sessions, spending time with friends and family, and doing activities that I haven’t been able to do for a while, either because of my busy schedule or the pandemic. I’ve been reading books for fun, going on bike rides, and sometimes just doing nothing. Most importantly, I am listening to my body and having more compassion toward myself and others.” —Sari, Livonia, MI

“To recharge, I have given myself permission to put myself first. I also have changed my entire outlook on what it means to take care of myself, and it starts with being active. I make sure that I have eaten properly, I work out daily, I meditate daily in the morning and at night to be intentional in my actions, and I journal. I have an affirmations journal and an appreciation journal where I write three things daily that I am thankful for.” —Geneva, Fort Worth, TX

3. Designating Down Time

“I plan days and sometimes entire weekends for downtime and won’t permit other plans to get scheduled on those designated dates. If friends or family try, I am honest with them about how I need downtime and ask to find another time for being social with them. Being honest feels better than telling a lie about ‘already doing something else.’” —Sean, Lansdale, PA

“To be certain I get a little quiet and alone time, when it’s not raining I take my morning coffee and book outside on my back porch. I get up a little earlier to have enough time and to be sure no one else is awake yet. It’s a wonderful start to the day.” —Janet, Cincinnati, OH

4. Slowing Down 

“It’s surprising to me how getting outside, taking a deep breath, and going for a walk helps me recharge. My dog and I will head outside once work is done. He’s 13 years old and doesn’t walk quite as fast as he used to, so his unhurried pace truly forces me to slow down. It gives me time to take in my surroundings and listen to the birds sing and the squirrels chatter. Before I know it, everything is back in perspective.” —Linda, The Woodlands, TX

5. Getting Outside 

“Instead of watching baseball games on TV to relax, I’ve started streaming the audio of the games on my phone outside on my porch. It’s a nice break from looking at a screen, and it allows me to imagine how the game situation might look on the field. Of course, spending time outdoors is a bonus.” —Steve, Durham, NC

6. Being a Kid Again

“I’ve decided to tap back into childhood joys by hula hooping (but weighted for a real workout) and outdoor roller skating (skates, not blades). Those things made me happy as a kid, and they still do as a 60-year-old. After the year we’ve had, I’m facing this summer with a bang!” —Tanya, Detroit, MI

7. Taking on a Project

“I have a porch garden of tomatoes and cucumbers. They are easy to grow, generally just needing water and a little something to keep off the tomato worms. Not only do I get to water them and chill for a few minutes of alone time daily, but I also will get to reap the reward of eating them soon.” —Keith, Little Rock, AR

“I find knitting to be meditative and social. I am doing a project called a KAL (knit a long), where folks all over the country knit the same item at the same time. It includes some live Facebook and zoom events. I take my knitting project everywhere I can.” —Suzanne, Northville, MI 

8. (Re)Connecting with Others

“I have been recharging by visiting friends and family. On my days off, I love to take hikes—that’s my favorite thing to do. Taking my son to our neighborhood swimming pool is always fun, as is going for drives with my family for a quick getaway. I also enjoy the long days and the late sunsets of summer.” —Joseph, Louisville, CO

“I’ve been planning weekend outings with family, watching a concert of our favorite artist, and playing some golf with friends or office colleagues.” —Ray, Alpharetta, GA

“I’ve been recharging mostly by reconnecting, hugs and all.” —Katherine, Portland, ME