As I sat down (at home) to write this, I wanted to write what it would mean to really unplug, to truly take a break. But I realized as I started that I didn’t quite know the answer to this. At least, not when I’m not away.
I haven’t taken a break-break in way, way too long. I went on a one-week vacation (read: away with no kids) about a year and a half ago, and that was probably the last time. Before that it had been, roughly, six years since I took a serious vacay. Part of forcing myself to unplug (a big part) is going away for more than a weekend and just flat-out being unreachable. Removing the option of internet and connection is the only thing that gets me all the way there.
So what about unplugging when you can’t escape to a land far, far, away, and you’re stuck at home? Is this even possible? To live simply and to not think about the internet, work, social media or all you have to do is the ultimate goal. And my goal, for a portion of this July, is to give this a go. I am going to conduct my own little unplug experiment and see if I can unplug at home.
My original thought had been to write here about how “unplugging” doesn’t mean lazy, but I think we all know that. For our own sanity, we
need to MUST shut it all down sometimes. And what it boils down to, really, is making the choice to do so.
Think about your computer. It runs better when you clean it out regularly and when you shut it down every so often. I know that’s a funny analogy considering our topic, but it fits. We, too, need to close our apps and shut down and be quiet every now and then. And too many times, we are guilty of not. And sleeping doesn’t count- we, as humans, need waking time that is unfettered by technology. And when you’re at home, pile on top of that all the odds and ends that need to be done, and you’re likely in overdrive every waking moment.
In last week’s podcast (the finale to Season 3’s Inspiring and Influential Women), guest Flip Solomon talks about how she manages narcolepsy through meditation, yoga, and taking care of herself. She talks about the luxury others have of a full waking life, and how she must maximize every waking moment, because she knows those moments are all she has.
The beauty of meditation is that it trains us to clear our heads and be present and peaceful. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of unplugging? Isn’t that what reduces our stress, overall? I realize that I have lost this practice somewhere along the way. As I move to unplug mode, I want to re-ignite this practice in order to bring more unplug into my daily life. Narcolepsy has forced Flip to prioritize her meditation practice, and we should recognize that importance as well.
So here are three little tricky-poos I have come up with to make this unplug-ness a reality…at home!
3 tricks to truly unplug… at home!
- Set up your space. I don’t have a pool, or an altar, or any sacred space, for that matter. (When you have children, no space is sacred. Especially the bathroom.) For unplug purposes, however, set up a space you can retreat to. Put a basket there. Make sure you have what you need in that basket- notebook, journal, any book you might need, reading glasses, timer for meditating, lavender spray…whatever. Set your space up for successful unplugging and keep it that way. Also, organize the space surrounding it, so you aren’t thinking of bills to pay or things to do. A window is great, and so is natural light.
- Make the time. Perhaps you’re working and handling everything at home as well. Where do you find time to unplug? Well…you make it. You get up 10 minutes earlier. You set your kids up with something to occupy them and you seize that window, no matter how small. You use those moments, just like Flip would. Only you don’t do. Rather, you check out. You stare. You clear. You unplug.
- Take it outside. Go outside… without your phone. That’s right. We all know that you can unplug by taking advantage of nature. But after you make some time in your space, then leave your phone at home or indoors, and sit outside for a few. Even when it’s a million degrees out like here in Texas, you can find a breeze or at the very least, gaze out at the view!