The Art of Unplugging: 6 Things You Can Do Right Now
Work email is buzzing, the phone is ringing, here’s a text from your boss, the kids are hungry, the dentist appointment needs to be rescheduled, baby supplies need to be ordered, did I forget to put the wash in the dryer? I really am unsure if I fed the cat. Sound familiar? Feel familiar? Welcome to the age of too much going on. The era of placing impossible demands upon ourselves over and over again to get it all done.
Take your to-do list and throw it away.
I used to live by my to-do list but what I have realized is that while it feels good to check things off, the list truly never ends and the list itself is a source of bad energy. We need to minimize and reevaluate the things that ever even made it on your list. Do you really need to be doing that? Is there a better way or can it simply be eliminated or outsourced?
Technology has blessed us with always being able to be connected. Which, I have come to find out just means that we are a walking gps that can always be tracked down. While that may be good as a parent, it’s just not good in general. Why? Because we all aren’t wired to be able to not respond, ignore and say no to that device. We feel the pressure to be plugged in and respond to every text, every call, every email and the array of social media platforms. It’s this sense of not wanting to miss out, not wanting to come off as rude for not responding right away.
Take your device and put it away.
It’s time to unplug. Be present. And not always feel this urge to be connected to every aspect of your life.
Six things you can do right now.
1. Keep Work at Work.
While being an overachiever is a great thing, truly not unplugging from your job will only cause you frustration and resentment over time. There is nothing of value coming from a response to an email at 11 p.m. or 5 a.m. You are simply not alert, and not at your best. You were hired for a particular skill set and you can exceed those expectations during working hours. A good employer will see your passion, your great work and I promise you do not need 24-hour access for your worth to be seen. You will be fresh at work, full of creativity and adding so much value to your employer by simply being fully present at work.
2. Put Your Phone Down While With Your Kids.
Take your kids to the park, and leave the phone in the car. Eliminate the urge to check social media or respond to any texts all together. But I just have to catch this moment on camera you say. If you are not willing to buy a camera then it is an absolute must to put your phone on airplane mode. Zero connection to the outside world whatsoever! Play with your children and always remember your presence is the best gift you can give them. I can guarantee that your children will remember how you made them feel by playing with them. They will also remember how you made them feel by sitting on a bench mostly checking your phone. Choose wisely.
3. Do Not, I Repeat Do Not Sleep With Your Phone!
Yes you, stop sleeping with your phone. We have all done it. Yes, I am talking about the bedside table as well — that is still sleeping with your phone! There is no possible way that this has any benefit. I promise you, it is only hurting you. Unplug! Plug your phone in to charge in another room overnight. (You will survive!) Get a good classic plug in alarm clock radio to wake you up. You earned this time to reflect upon your day, have a quiet space to express gratitude, release your concerns to the universe, and to simply just be. Meditate, read a book, sketch in a journal, write in a journal or simply embrace the calmest point in your day. But I’m sorry; it’s time to break up with your phone at night — that is one relationship that needs to end right now.
4. Write it down.
Pen to paper is such a healthy source of experiencing a mind body connection. But there’s an app for that you say. That’s our generation. I love to buy great pens, charcoal pencils, fine tip sharpies and find a good journal, lined paper or even the back of senseless mail. Brainstorm on paper for 10 minutes on any topic that may be pressing in your mind. The act of writing it out brings a sense of calm and is a vast source for creativity. A hand written letter in the mail is one of my favorite things to receive and to send out. It’s a guaranteed smile on both ends, I promise.
5. Connect to Nature.
One of the best ways to truly unplug is to plug yourself right into nature. No playlist required. Listen to the sound of the wind, the rustle of the trees, the buzzing of the birds. The way the leaves crunch when you step on them, the way that water sounds in a stream. This truly is my zen place and what I find to be the best source of disconnecting from the overload of information that we are all exposed to everyday. Go outside, breathe it all in and enjoy.
6. Be Fully Present Wherever You Are.
This is really key. Close the 17 tabs that are open in your mind right now. Really hone in on the task at hand. If you are at work, be at work. If you are cooking dinner, embrace the art of it. If you are playing with your children, be fully engaged. Whatever it is that you are doing – do only that. There isn’t always a need to multitask. If you are doing too many things at once, then you are missing the experience in 80 percent of the task at hand. You’re not giving your best. You’re not feeling your best. Invest in yourself by simply being fully present in every situation.
It’s easy to agree with all or any of the ideas I have suggested to unplug and forget about every single one and get right back into your chaotic flow. If you feel you can only start with one thing, pick that one thing and start now. Stick to it. Then add on from there. You deserve a balanced, fully engaged life. Enjoy life by simply living it with full presence and gratitude throughout your day. Literally unplug your phone from your bedroom and put it on the other side of the house. You have to have a certain level of selfishness to be your best. You have to separate the areas in your life and don’t let them all overlap and blend into one another. Take the time to write down what it is that is causing you frustration, pressure or stress in your life right now and figure out how to unplug from it at certain times of the day. Keep your day balanced, flowing and full of energy to always feel your best.