We are all pretty familiar with the term replenish. It’s a word that describes the actions of refilling. We replenish empty shelves. We replenish our energy when it is spent. It’s all about addressing a gap or refuelling.
A less known word is plenish. Now, I think that is an interesting and revealing observation. I think it reflects how we live and our tendency to spend rather than save. Because I don’t think we do enough to positively nourish ourselves. To plenish. Let’s reboot that and rethink our approach.
So what does plenish mean? Well, to plenish is to fill up, or stock, or furnish. I think for me, that’s about investment. It seems like an altogether much more positive ambition than merely to replenish. To replenish is to feed an empty stomach, or to top up or fill an empty room or tank. To replenish suggests a deficit model, a rebalancing after things have been depleted or imbalanced. When things are empty.
I’d like us all to focus more on proactive self-input and self-investment. We all should invest in ourselves. This should be a proactive and not a reactive endeavour. To plenish is to build up reserves and resilience. To charge one’s batteries on an ongoing basis. And I am all for that.
Today I sat at my office desk reading a book. I felt momentarily guilty. I was imagining colleagues were looking at me strangely. How silly. I don’t think they were. It was all in my own mind. It wouldn’t have been an issue if I was reading from a screen. But it definitely felt like input rather than output. I wasn’t outputting, producing or creating. I wasn’t typing away frantically on my keyboard, firing off emails, or planning or talking on the phone – all those giving out behaviours. Surely, I am here to deliver outputs right?
I had to give myself a good talking to. I was investing. I was inputting. I was thinking. This inward energy will inform better outcomes. Then I relaxed. I was plenishing.
So I wondered, if anyone wants to plenish, what do they need to do?
First, stop what you are doing and look at what you are doing. What is the proportion of inward and outward activity?
Second, ask yourself (and maybe others) how is it looking? Is there a balance, are the proportions right for you, for the role you have, or for the task in hand? Are your energies being sapped or charged?
Third, make adjustments. Is there meaningless depleting activity that needs to go? This edit has the potential to reveal and release moments that you can repurpose to achieve the right balance.
Four, then do something about it. Now you have the time and the inclination, redesign your time, plan and energies in and out. And make sure you stick with it. Don’t try it for a little while and then fall into old bad habits.
To plenish gives you a golden opportunity to rest, recharge, nurture, learn and support your self-care. Take it.