The last year has been unprecedented, unexpected, unbelievable and, at times, even unhinged. Between politics and the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve experienced things we could never have imagined. If you’re like me, you want to be in the know, but a constant barrage of news reports and social media posts can quickly become overwhelming and even downright depressing. To help me remain present and productive, I identified 10 ways to unplug in this 24/7 world. Maybe these tips can help you too.
- Fresh air. I love being outdoors. It rejuvenates me and helps me stay grounded. The simplicity of a bird, a squirrel, a tree or the sunshine make all the “noise” melt away. Take a walk, rake your yard or just sit, listen and let go.
- Media free weekends. To get away from the chaos, I make my weekends media free. That means no news programs or doom scrolling on my phone. I can catch up Monday morning.
- Connection. Staying connected with friends and family has been more challenging in the last year, but not impossible. Phone calls, texts, handwritten cards and Zoom are great ways to stay in touch with loved ones. Sometimes connections come with strife because we all have our own views on what should or shouldn’t be happening and who should or shouldn’t be fixing it all. Set boundaries with friends and family who don’t share your views. Identify topics you are comfortable sharing and stick to those.
- Caring for others. One of the best ways for me to distract myself is by doing something nice for someone else. Whether it is picking up groceries for your neighbor, or sending notes to your grandmother, these small acts of kindness will reap huge rewards for you too.
- Exercise. Many of us have been stuck at home for nearly a year. This makes a sedentary life a little too easy to settle into. This is unhealthy physically and mentally. I try to exercise every single day – even if it is only 10 minutes of stretching (my chiropractor is so proud!). Set realistic goals for yourself and reward yourself when you reach those goals. I record my exercise digitally and in a notebook, I put stickers on my calendar for every day I exercise at least 10 minutes, and I buy workout wear that I love. I suggest starting small and setting achievable goals like exercising for 10 minutes a day three times a week. It can be stretching, yoga, cardio or walking around the block, whatever your body can handle. By making it easy, you are setting yourself up for success, and you will feel so good that you just might do more!
- Self-care. We each recharge differently. Decide what helps you recharge – spending time alone, a hot bath, playing your favorite video game, reading to your kids, or enjoying a good glass of wine with dinner. Do something nice for yourself every single day. You’ll be happier and more productive.
- Creativity. When I was a kid, I used to draw, color, paint and write. As I got busier in school and then at work, my creative pursuits were the first to go. Recently, I realized how much I missed that. I’ve started painting, drawing and, yes, even coloring. Connecting with that part of myself really energizes me.
- Dance. Regardless of your age or ability, dancing just feels good. I have several playlists on Spotify – my own and some created by Spotify – that make me want to dance. I turn them while cooking, cleaning or any time I just need a mood booster. It is also a great way to shake off the cobwebs when sitting at my desk for too long.
- Plan for fun. Plan recreational activities regularly, so you have something to look forward to. Maybe its date night with your spouse, camping in the backyard with your kids, or going for a drive on a sunny day with no destination in mind. I have been going on nature trips (yes, I’m a bird nerd) with a friend every few months. The trips are outside, so we can be safe and socially distant. This gives me something positive to focus on when they rest of the world seems to be falling apart.
- Meditate. It is easy to ruminate and play the news or a social media thread over and over in your mind. Instead of ruminating, try meditating. It can be as simple as finding a quiet space at home to relax and not think of anything else, or you can try a guided meditation app like Calm or Headspace.
What ways have you found to relax, recharge and unwind this past year? Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll add to the post.