'Tis the Season to Unplug

 

As the days turn colder and this year’s festivities - whatever they look like for you - loom a little closer, I’ve been thinking about how we can use this time off in the most gentle, compassionate way. While there’s good reason to crank up the celebrations and socialising after the last couple of years, for me, the holidays have always been about regaining a sense of connection and purpose, as well as making the most of some tech-free ‘down’ time to really switch off.

 

The idea of ‘unplugging’ is nothing new – you may have even tried it at some point, implementing gadget-free evenings at home or swapping Netflix binges for chapters from your favourite book. Maybe even rediscovering your favourite, long-lost album and the treasured memories it brings with it. But, if you ask me, there’s something especially poignant about doing it at the end of a long – and in many cases, eventful – year, bringing about the opportunity to really reflect on the last 12 months.

 

Switching off or unplugging will look different for each of us. For me, it means limiting unnecessary screen time after a year of digital meetings and resisting the urge to turn to tech for entertainment and social interactions, instead thinking a little more creatively about how to spend my time. It’s often a useful exercise in connecting to young people and little ones too – I regularly find myself taking their lead when it comes to inventing imaginative things to do, or ways to create. From leaf painting and flower collecting, to stomping through puddles in wellies – it’s quite magical how quickly time passes when you try really living in the moment.

 

While not everybody has the luxury of free time this month, if you do, it’s worth asking yourself what you really /need/ and if there’s a way to allow yourself it. Perhaps if you enjoy the cathartic, almost meditative process of cooking a comforting meal from scratch, it might be that. Or maybe it’s taking loved ones out foraging or to spot children’s favourite animals in the great outdoors, reconnecting with nature. Mine, I think, will definitely include the things I can never seem to find time to do – slow mornings without alarm clocks, crafting (wreaths and decorations, perhaps?) and some gentle exercise (does anyone else find their most useful musings come when moving, in some form or another?). And some in-person time with my favourite people, rather than via fuzzy screens with slow connections.

 

Interestingly, in the past I’ve noticed a tendency to think of any solo time, or time spent indulging in pursuits like these, as ‘indulgent’ or ‘self-centred’ - sometimes even ‘lazy’. If you too find yourself guiltily feeling this way, I’ve found consciously shifting my attention back to my own needs especially helpful. Since when we fail to listen to what we need, it only manifests in other ways (in my experience anyway). And if you’re anything like me, you’ll be surprised how much your wider network will benefit from a happier, more grounded ‘you’ as a result. It helps too, I think, to remind yourself that whatever’s going on online will still be there whenever you’re ready to plug back into the real world – just as it always was.

 

I think perhaps it’s worth adding too, that if for you, switching off or unplugging during the holidays looks very different to the above, that’s OK too. It’s been a difficult year for so many of us – remember to give yourself a gentle hug and that you have full permission to nourish yourself in whatever way feels right. Even if that’s doing absolutely nothing at all.  

Here are some other ways I plan on unplugging…

 

Shopping locally. Instead of heading online for my Christmas shopping, I plan on getting outdoors and trying to support my local community and fellow independent businesses, resisting the urge to shop with companies who really don’t need my money. Trust me when I say, small businesses really appreciate it.  

 

Saying no. For me, the true joy of the holidays is leaving the diary or calendar largely unopened, choosing to do (or not do!) what you actually feel like, versus what you’ve planned. There’s something very soothing, I think, about resisting too many plans and just going with the flow. Even if that means saying no, occasionally. Try it?

 

Slowing down. I often find my coffee consumption increases as the days get darker and I need more of a helping hand to wake up and sustain myself. It means December is a good time to try reducing unnecessary stimulants like coffee and alcohol, and instead turning to a few drops of CBD for a deep, nurturing sense of relaxation that really lasts. You’ll be surprised how easy making the switch is – and how good a cup of coffee tastes when you really savour it.

 

Here’s to unplugging in whichever form you choose – merry Christmas and happy holidays.

 

Love Chloe x