First off I have to say that it isn’t as radical as it sounds. The only things I unplugged myself from were my smart phone and my laptop- I felt I had to. After several days of great task completion followed by an emotionally difficult Friday I had gone from elated to drained in less than 24 hrs. The realization (yet, again) that I am not as strong emotionally as I was once was the catalyst that caused my “unplugging.” I didn’t think I had the energy to say “no” and needed quiet. This was my first insight. Here are a couple of others.
- I was reminded that we use different energies to get things done than we do to support others in need. The latter is far more taxing and the former somewhat deceptive in its value as an indicator of how well we are really doing. Something to keep in mind.
- I realized how much I actually text bits and pieces to others during the day. I especially have a tendency to check in with my sister a couple of times a day. Dealing with the crisis of moving our parents into a retirement home over a year ago created this habit. Not having my phone or e-mail made me write down the many thoughts I had over the weekend. This will go into one e-mail today and by giving ourselves a week to look these things over will no doubt leave us both less stressed. Today there is no crisis and there is no need for this form of tag team communication. It is also exhausting.
- I also realized how often I check e-mail, like whenever I’m waiting somewhere or have a couple of free minutes. Before the weekend I thought this was productive. Now I think it’s a distraction from being present to where I am and re-enforces the false belief that my e-mails are so important that they need to be dealt with whenever the opportunity arises. Ha! Ha! Ha! This morning I spent 5 minutes junking and unsubscribing from a bunch of senders that had once again insinuated themselves into my daily routine inadvertently sucking countless minutes from my life without my even being cognizant of what was happening.
- I walked more. This baffles me. The weather no doubt played a part in this, but, perhaps because I felt less rushed (no one was texting, calling or e-mailing that I knew of) it was easier for me to slow down and to choose to walk 10 minutes to the bank rather than drive. My time was mine. All mine.
- I slept better. Less rattled or pushed throughout the weekend and being outside more certainly left me feeling calmer.
- I felt more energized because it really was all about me. So little of my time has been like this for years. Subsequently, I was also able to knock a couple of big things off my to do list. Taking apart my collapsed gazebo, not only left me feeling better, but, physically tired. It’s a friggin’ big job for one person. I was so tired I had to lie on the couch and finally finish Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”. Double Yay!
- I rediscovered the value of making plans. I couldn’t just call a girlfriend while running errands to see if she wanted to go for a last minute tea. This lead to my making a whole different set of decisions that made me feel even happier BECAUSE rather than going with that first impulse I had to evaluate what it was I really wanted to do. I called when I got home and now we have plans to do something even better. Friends shouldn’t just be slotted in here and there and when it’s convenient. When we are busy we do this. Nurturing a friendship requires being truly present and thoughtful planning encourages this.
I was better organized this morning and ready to work again having truly been away from my laptop all weekend. After realizing I had adopted and now discarded habits that do not support my well being, I think I will create a habit of unplugging on a regular basis. After all, without those other time and life sucking habits there is space for this new one.