Gadgets. Cords. Outlets. Laptops. PCs. Chargers. Hard Drives. TVs. Stereos. Amps. Blenders. Mixers. Lamps. Humidifier. Microwaves. The Fridge. Fan . Air Fryer. ATVs. AC. Cameras. RVs. Phones. Power Tools. Toothbrushes. Dishwashers. Washers & Dryers. Curling Irons and Hairdryers. Sewing Machines. Leaf Blower. Lawn Mowers. Airplanes. Boats. Snowmobiles. Jet Skis. Electric Vehicles. Gas-fueled ones too…
And On It Goes…Ad Infinitum
That includes the ads. Buy this! What about that? Look how it’ll improve your life, save you time. Add more to the list, shuffle words around, and the plug-ins can become a poem or a crossword puzzle. Better yet, what about one or both of those for guiding you with easy ways to unplug?
Let’s face it–gadgets have been around for quite a while. Sure, they got a big boost once the masses were powered up. Yet, how many of us have considered the downsides of such novelty? Sometimes it can be a pesky nuisance. Have you looked at your kitchen counter lately?
What about the health effects of being continually wired up? Here are a few that’ll give you an idea of the downsides of being charged up:
- Being plugged in before bedtime interferes with sleep quality. This in turn can increase health concerns and affect one’s lifespan.
- Some bosses, or workplaces, expect employees to be readily accessible. Like, virtually all the time! This can lead to burnout with the possibility of harming relationships.
- Staying connected may have a way of interfering with movement, leading to sedentary behavior. This is a recipe for chronic ailment appearances.
- The potential for fatigue that can lead to mishaps.
First Up: An Unplug Puzzle!
Before getting into ways to recharge, this crossword'll prep you for what's next. Seven of these are ways to unplug. One is an ability that'll be unleashed as you refine your unplug practice.
Developing an Unplug Practice
When you get right down to thinking about unplugging, there’s more to it than meets the eye. A lot of today's lifestyle involves gadgetry. We’re in the habit of using them. A habit – therein lies the crux of the matter. Unplugging means changing behavior. Switching one habit for another. Example: Getting into movement rather than checking on social media. That's one way for staying active during remote work hours.
The first unplug to adopt is doing double-duty. It becomes a habit that'll help you unplug – plus, it's an unplug method unto itself.
There are many ways to breathe. The key is to pay attention to your breathing. Push away from your desk. Stand, sit, or lie on the floor or a couch. Simply breathe, quietly and slowly. Try some deep breaths, then those that are more shallow. Add sound, like a woosh or ahhh as you exhale.
What do you notice?
- Some breathing forms are more comfortable than others.
- Maybe any ‘mind background noise’ fades.
- Your sense of time passing may shift.
Benefits of breath work
- Focused breathing is one way to unplug, as you invite thoughts to move along with each exhale.
- Intentional breathing can relieve aches, pains, anxiety, tension, and even boredom.
- Start with a regular practice of abdominal breathing.
- Keep track of how it affects you, both while you’re doing it and how you feel day-to-day.
- If breath work grabs your interest, try other styles.
Now that you have the hang of unplugged breathing, you’re ready to use it with the next six ways to unplug.
This can become a living art form unto itself. That happens when you start to think of the swing and sway. Or perhaps the length of stride, going unshod, or gearing up in boots. Regardless, unplugged walking becomes a full sensory experience as you:
- Take a breath and focus on your feet, intentionally moving your attention upward throughout your body. End at your crown.
- Make note of where you’re feeling fit and fine. Be aware of any cranky spots.
- Adjust stride length, stance, pace, and footfall while checking for any aches and pains. Those places want your attention!
- Continue this way as you focus on your breathing. Play around with altering your breathing pace.
- Let your arms swing free or use them as wings. (Did you do this as a kid?)
- What about the full sensory experience? Think of what that means, regardless of where you’re walking.
- Touch includes the feeling of clothing as well as awareness of each step.
- Are there sounds you notice that you might not otherwise?
- Watch where your gaze falls, perhaps causing you to see things in a new light.
- When walking mindfully, even the olfactory lobe is getting a workout! Think about that with each step.
- Flavors become more full and sustained due to heightened awareness. Yup, it’s time to reward yourself with a tasty treat!
One delightful outcome of this walking practice is knowing that these steps can be used during other unplugged moments!
There are several types of meditation practice. For now, here’s a simple overview of how these align with an unplug focus. The overarching purpose is to be fully present in each moment – the state of mindfulness.
The first step is to focus on the breath as you assume a comfortable position. That may be a yogic pose (asana) – or you may choose a comfortable chair with good support.
- Simple meditation integrates breathing awareness with the flow of thoughts.
- Inhale – observe what’s on your mind – exhale, inviting the thought to soften or move along.
- Observe awareness shifts as you sit in contemplation with each breath.
Although meditation can involve movement, this unplug is about movement in general. Regardless of it being slow or fast-paced, movement is its own way to unplug. That means letting go of some equipment, including music. Unplugged movement is one solution for staying active at home. The payoff is setting your own rhythm. Need some music–use your voice to set the beat.
- The floor is ideal for thoughtful or fun movement.
- The ancient wisdom of yoga includes moves that release work tension.
- Move and groove in your home office! Push away from your desk, take a breath, and kick your way free from a midday slump.
- Relieve the soreness of sitting with the blissful peace of being unplugged.
Amazingly, nature is everywhere! Even in the world’s most lofty concrete jungles, nature finds a way to make itself known. Imagine it – peregrine falcons sometimes roost on Chicago or NYC skyscrapers!
Behold nature's clouds and wind coursing across your personal vista. Gazing at those is one way to tune into unplug ideas of the natural sort:
- Watering plants and feeding critters, from fish to Fido.
- Bathing–water is quite natural! (It’s the plumbing that’s mechanical.)
- Speaking of water–time to hydrate!
- Viewing photos of natural settings can promote a sense of calm. Yup, it can even lower work stress levels!
- Get-out-there in nature for real–a nearby park or local stream or swamp will do the trick.
The word 'garden' is a noun and a verb! Plant yourself in a garden, be it a tangle of weeds or a pristinely enviable horticultural setting. (Yes, these check off the Nature unplug too!)
Get into the action of digging in the dirt. Plant veggies, flowers, and banks of shrubbery (said in your best Monty Python voice). Even as you garden for physical activity, you’re reaping a harvest of posies, peas, and juicy tomatoes. You’ll also gain:
- Reduced tension and stress
- Improved creativity and self-esteem
- Boosts in your happiness and memory
One joy is that gardening can occur inside – how's about an office bonsai display?
This powerful sense is awake throughout life. It’s so important that we’ve included it in Unplug #2 as well as being its own here in #7. Think of all the times you touch someone or something throughout your day. Working hours involve touching items that are plugged in as well as those that aren’t.
- When you rub your head, is it because of tension or to tease out a thought?
- Then there are the times you're comforted by a loved one's hug or a good old pat session with your pet.
Turns out that touch is a primal need. You read that right! Monkey-see, monkey-do. All that fussing over the baby chimp isn't just picking nits – it's about immune system health and mental wellbeing.
You've got it! Time to unplug and practice your favorite rechargers.