Who remembers the days when unplugging was as easy as literally unplugging the landline? Things have gotten a lot more complex since then (hello, smartphones!) and the news has gotten a more than a little upsetting (if our high anxiety levels are any indication!). But it's still possible to unplug- and, many of us are finding, very necessary for our self preservation!
Today, unplugging requires a few more steps- and that's the easy part! Dealing with how you're really thinking and feeling, though it ultimately recharges you and often feels good, can be tricky. And, of course, you'll need to be able to recognize the need to slow down in the first place. But, the payoff in terms of self awareness, calm, and enhanced wellbeing is so worth it!
How do you know when it's time to unplug? When you need to recharge to keep going! Common indicators include: feeling agitated and/or fatigued emotionally, physically, or spiritually, being easily set off, and seeing things in black and white (if the words "always" and "never" describe your experience, this could be a clue!).
Note: Picking up on these signs becomes easier over time. The idea is to notice how you're feeling and take care of yourself before you experience things like a crisis, burnout, or other uncomfortable event. It works!
What helps you tune in to yourself and recharge your batteries is unique to you and something only you can know. A solid old fashioned journal and pen still help me tune out everyday stress and tune in to what's going on with me. The key to finding your thing is, what helps my mind relax? What calms me?
Here are some "how to" ideas to explore unplugging to recharge:
-recognize that you are deserving and worthy of your own time and attention and that time spent just on you is time well spent!
-locate, silence, put away, and/or turn off external distractions (aka devices), especially those that induce stress, as you see fit
-set aside time for yourself and let others know, if needed, that you won't be available
-ask someone to help you do this by offering reminders and words of encouragement ("when was the last time you gave yourself a break?" etc.)
-turn on anything that helps you relax, such as music, incense, candles, heating pad, guided meditation
-use an activity to help you "switch gears" into self care mode, if needed, like a shower or bath, burning sage, or other activity
-experiment with slowing down your breath and breathing deeply (this gives your body and mind the message that you're safe and it's ok to relax)
-notice your body and attend to any tension, tightness, or other unusual sensation there (with gentle stretch or whatever feels good to you)
-find your "flow" activity- that is, activity that allows you to be present (ideas include: stream of consciousness writing, sketching, crafting, tarot...)
-take the time to really pamper yourself (grab the cozy blanket, make the yummy snack, beverage or whatever else you desire)
-have patience, compassion, and humor for the surprises and frustrations you meet along the way on your self care and self discovery journey
-enjoy the process and the results (insight, relief, a break from the news!)
-congratulate yourself on showing up for you (the most important person in your life) and showing others it's ok to do the same!
We all need to let our minds and bodies relax from time to time in order to sustain ourselves, especially during stressful times. Remember, your self care is a radical act- revolutionary, in fact, if you've never learned this life changing skill. May we each find what works for us!