Do you feel busy, stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, tired, or burned out? Go-go-go seems to be the default setting for many of us these days. Society expects us to always be connected and ready to go. There seems to always be something calling for our attention, whether that is our job, family obligations, or the pull of social media. When is the last time you unplugged from technology and gave yourself a day, an afternoon or even an hour to simply just be? How long have you been running on autopilot, bouncing from home to work and filling every free hour with activities? When is the last time that your “relaxing” or “free” time didn’t involve technology?
Sometimes it isn’t until we are feeling truly runned-down, burnt-out, exhausted, that we actually give our bodies and minds the rest that they need. The go-go-go attitude will keep us busy until our minds and bodies finally scream “That’s enough being busy! Rest!” Often times we can fall ill when our bodies and minds have been go-go-going for too long without proper care. I used to push through these feelings because I thought that’s what I had to do as a business owner. I thought the longer and harder I worked and the more I could accomplish, the more successful my business would be. This spring I realized that was not the smartest or most successful path for me. One of my friends reminded me that unless we are taking care of ourselves, body, mind and spirit, we can not show up in the world as the best version of ourselves. I had heard similar sentiments before, but hearing this right out of the mouth of one of my friends made the words more relatable. We shared stories of being busy, being distracted by technology, setting goals and deadlines, and trying to accomplish too much. At the end of the conversation, I was left thinking “I need to be kinder to myself.” It was then and there that I decided, if I found myself being too “busy” I would force myself to take a technology free time-out to recharge.
If you ask people how they like to relax, common responses are watching TV/Netflix, playing games on their phone/computer, and hanging out on social media. But are any of these really relaxing? For myself, these activities can often trigger the “fight-or-flight response,” causing my heart to race, breathing to become shallower, and my mind to jump from thought to thought. This is the opposite of the “relaxation response” we are in need of, with effects such as a lower heart rate, slow, even breathing, and a calm mind. Next time you are participating in one of your favorite relaxing activities, notice how you feel, amped up or slowed down? Is your relaxing activity giving you the result you are looking for?
My favorite place to take a time-out, reconnect, and recharge is in Mother Nature. A walk in the woods, on the beach, or even in my own backyard. For me, there is something about breathing fresh air that is very relaxing and reconnecting. Being barefoot is another way to connect with nature during a time-out. There is something about feeling grass between your toes and sand underneath your feet that helps bring you back to the present moment. Watching the sunrise and sunset is probably by absolute favorite way to relax. I remember that I’m just one little human in this gigantic universe...and it helps me see that whatever I’m stressing about, is probably not that big of a deal. I think the most important thing about taking a time-out is being technology free. I have a hard time listening to the sounds of nature if I’m also listening to the sounds of notifications on my phone. I try my best not to take my phone with me when I’m taking a time-out, or at least turn on do not disturb. I find that I can best relax and recharge when my phone is nowhere near me.
Next time being busy feels like it’s taking over your life, I invite you to take a technology time-out. And since it’s summer, try to get outside :) I’d love to hear how you relax, recharge, and take a time-out. Feel free to leave a comment below.