How to unplug, when it’s time to rest

Let’s face it, unplugging is difficult. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably very aware of the next twenty things that need your attention. I must admit, these things don’t keep me awake at night, but I know for many of you, too much responsibility in the day messes with your peace at night.

So what can we do about it? Firstly let me say I don’t have the first clue how to tackle insomnia, and I wouldn’t claim to. However, I know something about unplugging and learning to rest, and I’m really pleased to share my experience with you.

Firstly, let me encourage you that if you’re feeling the weight of responsibility, you’re probably only suffering from being a well functioning human being… So please don’t panic about that.

Secondly, if you’re full of activity, hopefully, it’s because you’re doing things you’re passionate about. That’s also good news.

Thirdly, and perhaps more importantly, if you’re struggling because of a lack of peace of mind, this is also perfectly normal, but you shouldn’t ignore it.

Whether you’re feeling the weight of responsibility, getting too full of activity or struggling to find peace of mind, there are a few things you can do to help. 

Can I just say; this isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. Think of this more as “three things I’ve been pondering today.”

1. Plan how you’re going to wind down.

I’ve learnt over several years that If I want a proper rest, the kind where my mind leaves me alone… it needs planning. It’s tempting to think of the need to plan as somehow worse than just passing intuitively through your day, week or month. The problem with intuition is that it’s so closely related to passion and guilt that it can get you stuck. You can get caught up saying: “I need to stop, but I’m passionate about this person or thing”, which ultimately means you won’t end up winding down. Or you get caught up in the opposite problem: “I need to stop, but I feel guilty, so I’ll just carry on.” 

Let me encourage you, the world might want your constant attention, but it’ll be a poorer place without you in it when you’re burnt out! Why not look at your day or week and figure out a space when you’re going to unplug, switch your phone off, take a bath, go for a walk or read a good book.

2. Carve out moments of peace

Sometimes there are just massive roadblocks in our day that need a lot of energy to move. That’s a perfectly normal thing to experience, but don’t forget, there’s always time for a pause. 

Stop for a moment right now, roll your shoulders back and down, and take a look at something that makes you smile. Why not grab your favourite hot beverage and text, someone you love. Live a little… take five minutes more, and give them a call before getting back to whatever else has you wrapped up in busyness.

3. Plan to achieve something at the end of the day

There’s this great bit of time management wisdom called Big Rocks. It’s about achieving the big things first so you can let the little things find their own place. It’s so true and incredibly helpful. However, when I know that I need to really wind down, you know the sort of thing: A holiday or Christmas or something, I always schedule something significant just before. It has to be something that feels like mental heavy lifting. The idea is that it has to be something I can achieve and do as the last thing on my list. A finale, if you like. When that big rock has been moved, the whole world feels so light, and I’m ready to relax! 

You’ll have your own ways to tackle this stuff, I’m sure, but if you are struggling to unplug when it’s time to rest, let me encourage you to make an active effort to do something about it. Plan how you’re going to wind down, Carve out moments of peace and plan to achieve something significant at the end of your day. 

There really is nothing like the sense of achievement when you nail something important, take a deep breath and change your focus, ready to rest.

Chapter 12: Freedom: Hope and Restoration Stuck in the Mud Podcast

Join me as I read through my book, Stuck in the Mud: Stories of hope for when you're stuck
  1. Chapter 12: Freedom: Hope and Restoration
  2. Chapter 11: Discipleship: Discipleship and the Kingdom of Heaven
  3. Chapter 10: Thankfulness: The Power of Understanding
  4. Chapter 9: Grace: The Gift of Release
  5. Chapter 8: Presence: Learning to be here

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