Possibilities Playground Newsletter

Invoke the Power of Disconnecting

New Year’s Eve was nearly three months ago, can you believe it?! I don’t know about you, but I’ve gone from totally stoked about a new year, where I planned on tackling the world with all my brilliant ideas and overflowing amounts of energy, to getting whisked away with a whole lotta busy-ness that I recently realized might be a silent but deadly threat.

Not that the things filling up my schedule are bad. Quite the contrary, I actually have some pretty cool things happening. However, when I start moving at the speed of light and my multi-tasking goes into overdrive, it’s really easy for me to remain in that frenzy and fall into old patterns which don’t serve me very well…or do they?

Maybe you are familiar with some of my ‘favorites’:

  • Watching mindless TV so you can’t hear the voice in your head listing and relisting the to-do items on your list
  • Overfilling your schedule to the point where it’s easy to justify not having time to exercise until the chaos passes
  • Focusing on all the plates spinning in the air that you forget to meditate/follow your spiritual practice
  • Feeling like you’ve handled so much you deserve a treat for your taste buds

Whether you share my habits or have some of your own, when we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, something has to give.

Do you know what the items in my list have in common with one another? They are all ways of disconnecting. Some consciously and some not so much; nonetheless, that’s what they really are: ways for me to disconnect from reality for a while. But here’s the big question – is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Well, like so many things in life, there’s not a black or white answer. There are pros and cons to consider. If you’ve been with me for a bit, you know what’s next – time to break it down!

First and foremost, we need to agree on what ‘disconnecting’ means. If it means taking a break, that’s one thing…that feels healthy. If it means engaging in negative behaviors, that’s different…that feels more like a flat out escape. For example, blobbing out in front of the TV or reading a good book could go either way, depending on how much time is spent (as in a couple hours or a couple of days?) Honestly, I think it depends on our ‘come from’ – meaning, are we taking a physical or mental break or are we running away from something?

PROS of DISCONNECTING
Here are some very valid reasons to disconnect which you can use the next time those gremlins in your head try to talk you out of taking a break:

1. It allows time for you to recharge. Stress releases cortisol in our body and when the levels remain elevated over a period of time, we experience more discomfort than we need to. So disconnecting for a brief period of time actually results in a healthier body.

2. It gives your brain a break. To keep our mental abilities properly honed, it’s best to use both sides of your brain. Since most tasks fall primarily on one side or the other, disconnecting from one task and doing something quite the opposite can really help the powers of your mind.

3. It gives you perspective. Stepping away from the busy-ness in our lives makes it much easier for us to gain a little perspective and that goes a long way! Disconnecting from crazy and connecting with calm lifts our spirits.

4. It enables you to keep going. When your life is full, approaching it as a marathon instead of a sprint makes it way easier for you to cross the finish line at the end. Instead of getting overwhelmed and taken out with debilitating cramps, you’ll be able to sustain forward progress. Slow but steady, the tortoise beat the hare.

CONS of DISCONNECTING
To me, the only time disconnecting is a bad thing is when it’s used as avoidance. The energy expended worrying about it then trying to escape and not worry about it, ends up taking a much bigger toll on us than if we’d just dealt with it (whatever that ‘it” may be). So, when we disconnect in that sense, the following drawbacks are serious considerations to take into account:

chart effects of stress

1. It can cost you in other ways. So often when we disconnect, it’s an emotional response to being overwhelmed. Instead of bringing logic into the equation, fight fire with fire and consider what the consequences would feel like. If you lost precious time and/or money, just ask yourself how that would impact your life and whether or not that would feel good.

2. It can result in old, destructive habits. We are creatures of comfort and disconnecting is all about returning to a safe, comfortable space. Unfortunately that can undo previous headway we may’ve made and, as anyone who stepped in quicksand knows, negative momentum is a bitch to get out of.

3. It gives your ego something to beat yourself up about. Considering the little gremlins in our heads work so hard that it sometimes makes stuff up just to keep us down, why would we ever give it something valid to use against us? Once we feel deflated, we might as well rinse and repeat cuz that’s all we’re gonna get for awhile.

In the end, disconnecting is an emotional act for us. Even if we really do need a physical break, high achievers are especially tough on themselves, feeling as though any ‘unproductive’ time is a waste. Women in particular often end up feeling guilty or unworthy when we are not actively contributing to the care of someone else. What a shame. After all, if we don’t take care of ourselves, how will we be able to sustain caring for our loved ones?

So what can you do about this?

You can start by recognizing the difference between disconnecting sensibly and retreating. When you start to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, you can find ways to disconnect. And get this: there are some ways that don’t steal any time from what you’re doing, but actually give you time back! Crazy I know, yet true. Here are some possibilities for you to consider:

  • Take a break from Facebook for a few days or (dare I say it) a week
  • Find one or two ‘chores’ you can live without doing or hand off (assuming you have an awesome somebody in your life willing to step in temporarily)
  • Use an egg timer to force yourself to take a break once an hour and spend just 5 minutes…
    • Petting your dog(s)/cat(s)
    • Stepping outside and taking note of the weather
    • Walking around (even if to the bathroom and back)
    • Drawing in a coloring book (something I used to keep at my desk!)
    • Writing a quick note to a friend telling them what you appreciate about them and popping it in the mail
  • Turn up the music on your drive and belt it out!

Whatever you do, I suspect that you (like me) can use more disconnecting in a healthy way. Not only will it help you body, mind, and spirit – it will also slow your year down. There’s something to be said for living moment to moment, but let’s face it, sometimes things get blurry because things are moving so fast. It’s during those times in life that I urge you to invoke the power of disconnecting.

Here’s to reclaiming your time and exposing your possibilities!
image gif sara sig clear


 

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Invoke the Power of Disconnecting by Sara Russell of Feel the Possibilities
Visit Sara at: www.feelthepossibilities.com
Send email to sara@feelthepossibilities.com