Thoughts on turning off in a world that can make you feel like you have to be “on” all the time.
Wow, its been a while since I posted on here. Recently I’ve had more than one conversation amongst friends about the idea of slow living and the burnout that we so often feel from a world that consistently pressures us to feel like we have to be “on” and available 100% of the time.
Whether it’s work emails following you home on the weekend or the way social media can all of a sudden create this feeling that you’re not doing enough (enough travelling, enough hanging out with friends, enough dating, enough working out, etc. etc. etc.), the feeling that we are always having to perform can so often leave us forgetting what its like to truly relax. Now, don’t get me wrong, the way the world has become so connected can be a truly wonderful thing and working with social media I have definitely seen firsthand the beauty that can come from having such a large global network, but sometimes I can’t help but think that the way our connectedness has enabled us to hold on to this sense of internalized pressure is incredibly frightening.
We see so many blog posts today with titles like “Why the 5 AM Wake-Up is the Key to Success” or slogans like “The Hustle Never Stops”. We glorify this idea of busyness and this sense that if we slow down or heaven forbid actually stop working to advance ourselves in life then we have somehow failed or become lesser in comparison to our peers.
More and more recently, especially working full-time in a freelancing field where the lines between personal and work life can be extremely blurred, I have tried my best to make an effort to put limits on how and when I am accessed, reminding myself that its okay to turn “off” sometimes.
As someone with an organized, type A personality, I’ve never liked leaving a to-do list unfinished at the end of the day, but over the last year I’ve learned more and more that it’s okay to leave some projects for another day. And you know what? The more that I’ve made a conscious effort to do this, the more I’ve realized that the world doesn’t stop turning on it’s axis when I do.
Running my own business has taught me a lot about the joys of flexible work and the opportunities it can open to create the kind of work-life balance that many people don’t often have the opportunity to create, but it has also taught me a lot about the ways that flexible work can sometimes snowball into working all day everyday.
Doing my best over the last year to adopt a no phone past 10:00 pm and no work on weekends policy has helped me immensely in creating real, structured downtime for myself. This idea of turning off and disconnecting wasn’t, in all honesty, entirely easy at first. What if people needed me? What if I missed an opportunity because I was busy reading a book or exploring somewhere new? But rather than watch my business fall apart while I’ve taken time to stop and relax, I’ve seen the opposite happen realizing that taking time for yourself is exactly what we all need sometimes if we want to show up 100% in other aspects of our lives, whether that be professional or personal.
I’m definitely still a work in progress when it comes to practicing slow living and self-care but I’m working on it. A lot of the thoughts from this post stemmed from an article a friend sent me earlier this week from the BBC, I really recommend giving it a read if you have the time.
What about you? Anyone else have any tips or ways that they disconnect and recharge? Any and all advice is welcome.