I’ve been on a mindfulness journey for quite a while now. Attempting (and failing at many times) to connect with my inner self while processing the infinite distractions of the outer world. It’s taken me a couple of years to finally understand’. I had never properly ‘unplugged’ before.
You see, we’re not that much different from the technology we use everyday. The stresses of our daily lives are like those annoying pop-up ads opening into new tabs. When we’re doing too much at once, we’re like our lap tops overheating with too many windows open. As a result, fans are spinning furiously to try to cool down and everything is frozen. We restart and sometimes things go back to normal for a little while but not for long. Just like our bodies when we don’t properly rest or shut down. We’re so connected, so plugged-in to technology and our jobs that we can easily lose ourselves. I was hooked to my phone obsessively checking emails from work and when not, I was mindlessly browsing through. Because that scrolling distraction seemed like a good break to counter balance the anxiety induced by stress. But that’s not shutting off! Technology is an amazing thing, but only if consumed in limited doses (at least for me). We’re no longer used to silence, to just being with our thoughts, to slow down and do nothing. I had to reconnect with myself and here are the 5 steps I took to disconnect from my distractions:
- Run a system diagnostic: Figure out what is stressing you. From outside distractions to inner noise. Mine were my phone, Netflix, social media and multitasking.
- Clean up your desktop: Look at what’s currently working and what’s not. Focus on what’s in front of you, one thing at a time. What can you change now? What is blocking your energy? Throw out what you no longer need, clean up your room, organize your belongings.
- Set up an antivirus: Just like computers have a daily scan to get rid of all the viruses they’ve accumulated, meditation does the same for us (and it’s free!). It allows us to scan our body and check-in with our minds. It brings us to a state of self awareness so we can be more proactive as opposed to reactive. Allowing us to fine tune our lives; to understand what is working and what is not physically and mentally. So we can adapt, redirect and get closer to our goals.
- Shut down: Yes, that means sleep! We often underestimate the importance of sleep and rely on caffeine to stay awake. But too much caffeine prevents you from having a restful night sleep. You wake up exhausted, reach for caffeine and it becomes a vicious cycle. Sleeping is the time for our bodies and minds to restore. If you want to be efficient during the day, make sure you get enough quality sleep.
- Don’t be afraid to restart: Either it’s the luxury of a nap or just going for a walk, taking breaks will allow you to refresh your body and stretch your mind. Sitting too much causes our bodies to hunch over and tighten. Our minds can become stiff and ideas no longer flow. Short breaks throughout the day is the key to optimal performance.
So there you have it. Short, simple steps to unplug, to take care of yourself and improve your day to day.