When I was in my twenties, I bought into the lie that many people do. The harder you work and the less time off you take, the more productive (and thus successful) you will become. SO many people are afraid of unplugging. The reasons can be many including the inability to connect or really relax when taking time off, fear of being replaced in the Corporate world, fear of what others will think if you take time off or simply, the false notion that you will somehow miss out on productivity or success if you do. These feelings are often times heightened and more intense if you are living in the modern-day Western society.
Stress and burnout are at an all-time high with side effects that can produce chronic illness and a great increase in the decline of mental health and increase in anxiety disorders. 37% of adults in the US stated their stress has increased exponentially between 2012 and 2017 as researched by Statista. Some of the greatest increases came from demands of schedules and financial worries coupled with the inability to shut off.
My hopes through this article are to encourage you to take a fresh look at unplugging and to realize that it is really essential to success in each area of life. It took me a lot of hard lessons learned and tripping to get these concepts and once I b
What is unplugging? Simply put, unplugging allows you the rejuvenation to better perform in your business, life and various tasks. It gives you the needed TIME to free up your thoughts, think more clearly long-term and to rest and allow your body the needed time to slow down.
I remember clearly the first time I took a two week vacation (we take several 2-3 week vacations PER YEAR) and I felt so guilty. I kept trying to ‘perform’ and work. I woke up to my ‘to do’ lists and I was still trying to do what had for so long…to work myself into the ground. For me, work and my career became my security and somewhere along the way I bought into the lie that I couldn’t stop … because if I stopped, I would lose everything I had worked for. Much of this was deep-rooted stuff from my upbringing too — and an unhealthy imbalanced way to achieve success.
Subconsciously, I think many of us are or have in the past struggled with the fear of being replaced or somehow losing what we have worked so hard for. It takes being honest with yourself and taking a long hard look at your life and what you really want most. There is such a thing as balance in this world and when you find it, you’ll become more productive than ever.
It took real practice for me to learn what it meant to unwind and unplug. It started with customizing messages for my email and phone which were auto-replies to let people know my ‘away dates’. The hardest part of my initial unplugging was learning that I didn’t run an emergency service and I didn’t have to respond immediately to each and every message that came through. I know some of you can resonate with this. When you take this time to refuel and refresh, it is key to fully allow yourself this precious time to step away from it all.
Unplugging and Unwinding Benefits
Unplugging allows you to clear your mind and have a better thought flow. When you stay busy ‘running’ so much and exhausting yourself, you leave no time for reflection and evaluation. This is crucial to success.
It allows you to connect with what and who matters most. So many times, when you are busy working (and only working) you do so to the neglect of family and those people who mean so much to you. It is true that the best thing you can do for your family is spending TIME with them.
It allows you time to goal set and to reflect on those things that are working in your life and those things that are not. When you give yourself time to evaluate what is or is not working, it gives you valuable opportunity to change gears or move direction.
It makes having FUN and enjoying the hard work you put in possible. Keeping yourself so busy that you can’t enjoy the rewards of your hard work is not good. A balanced life is a life of productiveness but also rest and enjoying the moments & memories that makeup life. Spending time enjoying various hobbies you may enjoy, making lasting memories with family or simply allowing yourself ‘room’ to live without the clock for a period of time.
Ways to Unplug for Health and Vitality
Here are some simple ways to help make unplugging easier for you. Remember, it takes practice to learn how to slow the pace and really allow yourself this needed time to relax.
When you take a vacation set your “away” messages both on email and your phone. Most phones have a ‘do not disturb’ feature that allows you to customize an away message similar to how you create an auto response on email. I simply customize mine when away and I also use this weekly to auto-respond to messages after business hours. Remember, setting healthy boundaries during the week is as important as when you step away and unplug.
Consider putting your phone on airplane mode and doing a “social media” detox. You can limit yourself more than you typically would and allow your mind this time of rest.
Load up on your healthy vitamins and nutrients to feed your body while you take this time of rest. For example, I tend to load up more on ‘magnesium’ during these times of rest & especially before bed. When you go from a state of constantly being ‘wound up’ it can be hard to come down and these little things make a massive difference.
Enlist the help of your family. No one knows us better than our family and likewise, no one knows our hangups and struggles better than family. Ask them to help hold you accountable to being more present and less distracted during your times of unplugging. Having healthy accountability and support is key.
Allow yourself to experience nature whenever possible. When Alex and I take our down time we always love to be close to the mountains or the beach. We enjoy breathing in the fresh air, having great conversations and putting our bare feet on the ground (this is a real thing ya’ know…. it’s called grounding) and lots of sleep of course. Nature has an incredible way of helping you to relax.
You do not have to feel bad for taking a break, taking a step back or unplugging. Deep down, I know this is something that most people feel makes them ‘lazy’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I hope this has encouraged you to look at taking steps towards living a truly productive life that strikes the vital balance between work and play & between work and family. Taking time to evaluate your life, spend time with family and to allow yourself a break from the day to day grind is never time wasted. No matter if you can only take a week or a month, approach it mindfully and use these tips to ‘unplug’ and watch how rested and productive you feel. I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback after you do.
Alexander and Ashley Poptodorov are health and wellness enthusiasts who have a passion for helping others to achieve their very best through optimal living. In 2005, they opened A+A Wellness in Atlanta, Ga. Alexander and Ashley are excited to share their experiences and excitement with you about the endless possibilities of being healthy.