Shut it down, at least for a little while

We’re told we are supposed to unplug. We’re repeatedly reminded of the consequences of going too hard, too fast, for too long. Yet, we continue to meet the demands, the emotional, financial, mental, and work-related demands that are thrown at us in an effort to keep our head above water. Meanwhile, we gloss over the rhythms necessary to keep a pace that we can actually sustain. A pace that we would actually enjoy.

We say yes to everything

We give a solid yes to the work assignments, party invitations, and early morning gym sessions. We say yes to the late night planning meetings, try to stay on top of all our responsibilities at home, and we think we are doing just fine until we find ourselves at 10:30 pm eating cold pizza at the foot of our bed with at least two more hours of work ahead of us before we can hit the hay. 

Add to that our obsession with that small device in our pocket. If we have even two minutes to ourselves we whip it out and scroll until we can’t scroll anymore. We read the news, scan our feed, and swipe right. Our insatiable curiosity to know what’s going on with everyone else is met with photos of birthday celebrations, exotic vacations, and everything else in between. 

Why rest?

For many of us, we can’t begin to imagine what it would look like to unplug. To truly rest and recharge. In fact, we may even subconsciously feel that it’s a sign of weakness if we need to rest. In reality, unplugging and recharging is necessary to thrive in life. Even worse, those who appear busier than us aren’t taking a break to unplug and recharge themselves, therefore we should not. Surely we don’t deserve it if they don’t need it, right? False. We need it. We need it so very bad. The overworked, overrun soul requires rest. The truest sign that you and I need to unplug and recharge is when even the good things in life no longer bring us joy. They feel like another chore. Just another task to check off our list. 

Although it seems counterintuitive, a rhythm of work and rest will enable us to manage our energy and emotional investment into all that life requires of us. Jo Robinson wrote on that the secret to increased productivity is to take time off. “You get more done quicker when you step back and recharge the brain and body. Studies show that performance increases after breaks of all durations: from extended vacations down to microbreaks of 30 seconds.” Whether it’s an afternoon hour to yourself or a trip to Italy, a retreat from your normal demands will recharge you in ways you need in order to carry on. 

Making the time

Unplugging from it all is not indulgent or selfish. It can be hard to believe rest is acceptable when it wasn’t modeled for us or we report to someone who thinks it’s a waste of time. However, as we plan our days, weeks, and months ahead, it is an investment into ourselves to schedule time on the calendar to rest: turn off our phone, laptop, and T.V. To clear the calendar from anything that resembles work and do whatever it is that recharges us. Whether it is a walk through the park, dinner with friends, a weekend trip, or even a nap. Don’t skip it for fear that you’ll miss out. Your body, mind, and soul require rest. It isn’t sloth or laziness. It’s self-care. 

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