Unplugging means mentally and emotionally putting everything down. It doesn’t even have to be for long, to have a beneficial effect. A minute, five minutes, thirty seconds, even.
The key thing here is the quality of our ‘unplugging’, whether it is in the small moments during the day, or the larger moments away on vacation.
If your work brain is still churning away in the background, whether it’s performing a (normally healthy) ‘advance planning’ or a less helpful rumination process where the brain just keeps going over and over, then you are not in an unplugged state.
I show my high performer clients how to truly put everything down in the moment so that they can properly recharge. Sometimes even a short moment will do it – waiting for a big holiday isn’t helpful. How many times do I hear “I’ll rest in two months’ time” when actually the need for rest is now! Seriously, if your car was running out of fuel, would you decide to wait for a couple of months before refilling the tank?
And yes, being realistic, work demands do tend to reach out and repeatedly intrude on any downtime you might have. Sometimes you will need to break out of your unplugged state briefly to respond to something urgent. But if you can then return to a genuinely unplugged state, it’s still going to be restorative. Restorative unplugging time means that consistent high functioning becomes more sustainable.
I work with high performers to help them stay on top of their work game without burning out. Let’s have a free virtual coffee – I might even have an idea to help you. Let’s talk.