To perform and think at our best we need to give our brains the time and space to refuel. Turning off is necessary. It helps us regenerate. At times, we have to manage competing priorities and find an on/off balance that works with our realities. That being said, we also have to make it a priority to not allow this to be our only reality. Ensure you block space to be quiet, to be creative, to relax, and have fun! If we expect ourselves to perform at our best when we are on, then we need to learn how to turn off.
Make some time to turn off this holiday, here are some brain-friendly ideas:
Part of turning off means turning to things that are outside of your ‘norm’ and daily grind. This is a time to get creative and try things that you haven’t tried before. Allow your brain to enter new states and see what insights are generated. It’s essential for us to leave our ‘productivity’ and ‘performance’ mode and just have fun. Turning off means you don’t have to worry about the outcome or results of the activity, just enjoy the experience. What have you wanted to try just for fun?
Ask yourself: What are some things that I would like to try that have nothing to do with my job? Rollerskating? Oil painting? Pasta making? Rock Climbing? Hip Hop dancing? Laser tag? Snowshoeing? Trampolining? Pottery? Make a list of at least 10 things that you think would be fun just to try. Commit to doing one this holiday.
I’m sure you have been told to limit your social media and screen time to promote productivity, sleep, and mental health. Well, it’s true. But, if your goal is to turn off this holiday, then it’s essential. The moment when you usually grab your phone, put on Netflix, or start googling away. STOP. Try something else. Actively run interference to break the pattern you have created. It’s up to you. But if you are truly looking to turn off, regenerate, and refuel this holiday, then it is essential that you implement this step. Our dependance on our various screens have become automated, but that doesn’t mean that they help us thrive. Instead, grab a book, go for a walk, or have a conversation. Move away from your devices and reconnect to your life.
Ask yourself: How many hours a day can I not touch my phone? My computer? How can I help myself do this? Write at least 5 strategies that will help you stay device free. When will you implement at least 1 of these strategies?
What are somethings that I would love to make time for this holiday that don’t involve my phone or computer? What brings me joy outside of my phone or computer? Make a list of at least 10 things that you enjoy. Use this list to make active choices that don’t involve your devices.
Silence is a way to heal, rewire and regenerate the brain. Quiet time is essential for turning off. If you are looking for deep relaxation, peace and clarity, then true silence is key. Studies have shown that silence is more restorative and regenerative than filling that space with relaxing music, podcasts, conversation, etc. Make space to be quiet and use silence as a tool to instil calm and groundedness in your day. Silence doesn’t always have to mean still. You can combine it with exercise to enhance the healing. Try going for a run (or a walk, or whatever physical activity you enjoy) without music, noise or conversation. Combine your physical and mental training to reduce anxiety and stress. Making space for nothingness can have huge rewards.
Ask yourself: How many minutes to hours a day can I be silent? Be in silence? How can I help myself do this? Write at least 5 strategies that will help you make time for silence. When will you implement at least 1 of these strategies?
When you are taking the time off this holiday season, make sure you actually take the time to turn off — away from work and your daily grind. Shift your “norm.” Make time and space to allow your brain to generate new insights, discover new things, and most importantly rest. Sleep, create, explore, meditate, read, or just do nothing. Consciously choose to allow yourself to refuel and regenerate so you can do better by thinking better!