As we experience Week 5 of lock down, many of us may be feeling drained, tired, and low in energy. Whether working from home, cocooning, or supporting loved ones virtually, this can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining on our energy reserves. A feeling that we’d prefer to be recharging our own batteries instead of our phones, laptops, and tablets is probably not uncommon. But while we can’t plug ourselves in to recharge, we can plug ourselves out.
Throughout the pandemic, our digital interactions and requests for our immediate attention have increased. It can be difficult to find any time to take breaks and actually check in with how we are feeling, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Unplugging for even a few moments each day can have a positive impact, and support managing our resilience reserves.
Here are some simple tips to help you regain an important balance between communication and rest:
1. Recognise how our technological interactions have changed:
Our private, our personal space, and our refuge may no longer be the recharging stations they used to be; phones are buzzing, chats are pinging, and calendars are ringing. For many of us, our phones and laptops are always switched on or easily accessible; We check news updates, weather forecast, work emails, and we might find we are part of multiple messaging app groups. This can be particularly true for those who have unexpectedly begun working from home during these lockdowns.
By Considering how this situation has changed, we can start to Acknowledge the impact this might be having, Recognise what you can do, and take positive Action orientated steps to help recharge.
2. Take breaks from Technology
Technology can provide a useful and important bridge between us and our loved ones at this time. While we cannot meet in person we have opportunities to meet virtually which is vitally important for our sense of social connection.
However, as important as this connection is, it is equally important to take breaks from technology, and set aside time to be present. It is only when we take a moment to check in with our senses that we can pick up on whether we feel tired, low, and in need of rest.
Take a moment to check in with your senses. You might do this by sitting quietly for a moment, closing your eyes, focusing on your breathing, opening a window to smell the fresh air, or dimming the lights.
If your senses tell you they need a break, it’s important to recognise that. Try stepping away for a few moments, and lower the volume of sound, or light around you. Allow your senses to relax to carve out some calm throughout the day.
Recognise the importance of breaks, and taking time at lunch. It’s probably dark in the evenings so try to take some time to go for a walk when it’s bright outside, or before sunset if you can.
3. Schedule a Digital Sunset
Just as the sun sets on each day allowing nature time to reset, it’s important we recognise the importance of a digital sunset.
TV shows, virtual games, and digital chat channels can be a way to relax and unwind, but it can also mean more engagement with technology. It is important to make a deliberate attempt to disconnect from the constant back and forth of these communication channels. Decide on what time your ‘digital sunset’ will be and set your phone aside for the rest of the evening. Take some time instead to go for a walk and observe nature’s beautiful sunset.
Consider alternative ways to engage your senses in a gentler way. Painting, drawing, or even colouring can be a great way to relax, disengage, and refresh our minds. Or considering taking up a hobby project for ourselves, or as a community project with housemates, or family; build a model for the mantelpiece, piece together a jigsaw to frame for the wall, or have some fun with model toys, we’re never too old!
A final thought…
Whatever has been a support to us in the past to help us to feel more resilient, can continue to be a support to us during crisis. Sometimes we just need to take some time to remember what those resources are and re-connect with what works for us. Slowing down, taking a break from the distraction and stimulus of technology, and checking in with our senses can help us to connect with our supports, and in-so-doing build and maintain our sense of Resilience.
Read more about resilience and how it can help during lock down.