When it comes to the weekend, we try our hardest to just cozy up on the couch and relax from an exhausting week. But while we imagine we’re handling our downtime really well and binge-watching everything imaginable on Netflix, we end up besieged by a compulsion to check our work emails every time a notification goes off, or worry about those projects looming for the week ahead.
According to a study from the Pew Research Center, 84 percent of cell phone users claim they cannot go a single day without their devices, while 67 percent claim they check their phones for messages, alerts, or even calls when their device isn’t going off.
It’s no joke that we’re a bit addicted, but the truth is, we can only do so much in a work week until that lethargic feeling starts to create a lag in our productivity. This year, commit to steps for unplugging to ensure that the time you have off working is spent healthily relaxing and recharging for a productive week ahead. After all, it’s called ‘Friyay’ for a reason.
Make a plan for yourself
A great way to implement a strategy for unplugging is to create an offline routine for the weekend full of “me time,” outlining everything you want to do to relax. It could be anything that brings you joy and gets happy hormones running, such as checking out a music festival, a trip to the farmers market, the spa, salon or even just shopping at Target. If spending time with others like family or friends is something you miss and brings you a tranquility, do that. Make it fun and most importantly, be mindful of yourself.
Lay ground rules
When you decide to disconnect, set some clear ground rules for both yourself and coworkers. With us always being connected, it’s hard to break the habit of checking in regularly. But if it means physically leaving behind devices like Richard Branson does when he heads out on “inspiration vacations,” make it known that you plan to be out of touch for a designated amount of time so that others know you are not their only source of aid if things pop up in the eleventh hour. While it might be a tad extreme, your downtime is your own and is essential in making you more productive in the days ahead.
Go ‘old school’
We’re not telling you to pull out your scrunchies and hit the town — although, that too can be fun. But be sure to embrace a world without the plug-in culture and look towards things that brought you pleasure before social media came about. From everything like reading paperbacks to magazines, to scrapbooking and photo albums, recharge your batteries by unleashing your creativity and utilizing methods that are not tech-based.
Turn off notifications from your smartphone
One of the best ways to enforce a routine of winding down and recharging is to limit time with electronics. It’s no secret that social media has become intertwined with our lives and most often a tool in the workplace. But by putting it all away and shutting off notifications, we reduce stress and amplify creativity as mental space and clarity begins to open up at the forefront of your mind. When you unplug and shut off notifications, you not only benefit yourself for that time way from technology, but your employer too. When you return to work, you come back refreshed with unique ideas and methods to tackle new challenges.
Be alone with your thoughts
One of the best ways to unplug is to just turn off your device. That’s it. All it takes is a swipe or click, and a bit of willpower. For ease of mind and mental health, shut down all that noise and be on your own. It might sound like you need to go on a hike like Cheryl Strayed in Wild, but spending time alone no matter how you do it grants fresh perspective and energy. It brings about more creativity than consumption; and not only can time offline give more freedom in thought, but it also helps to stay connected to yourself. Solitude has a way of grounding us and providing a stillness that lets us reflect and evaluate our lives. Spend that time meditating, doing yoga or hitting the gym for an intentional power down.
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