Dictionary definition for switching off:
“Cease to pay attention.”
I want to be able to switch off; is a common statement from my clients as they unravel what is holding them back from doing more of what they love.
In this article I want to explore:
- What does it mean to switch off?
- Why do you need to learn how to do it?
- The cost of not switching off
- Inside stories
- Next steps
What does it mean to switch off?
Switch off for many is about switching off the never ending to do list, that is whirring around in your head. That never ending nag, that there is still something you ‘should’ be doing. That feeling of guilt in the pit of your stomach that if you stop for even a moment everything will fall apart. Some worry if they stop they will lose momentum and their sparkle. So they keep on keeping on.
The cost of not switching off
When we are in overwhelm we rarely think clearly or make good decisions. Many of the decisions are made to bring instant relief rather than good for us in the long term. We over eat or under eat. We don’t exercise and take care of our health. We snap at those we love and we always seem too busy to be approached and so important conversations are put off over and over again until eventually your relationships fall into crisis. It is poor for your health and your relationships. When your head is that full your body is often being fueled by stress chemicals. You will lack patience and tolerance to listen to those that matter to you and you will even lack patience and tolerance with yourself. Your self talk and even external talk will be mostly focused on what is not working which in itself can damage the part of your brain that you depend on to problem solve. It has been scientifically proven that when we listen to someone talking negatively for 30 minutes or more it damages the part of our brain that we depend on to solve problems. So not switching off and consistently if not constantly talking about what is not working or what is wrong or how little time you have, not only depletes your own resources to think with clarity and confidence it impacts those that are listening to you.
The benefits of switching off?
When we switch off, we learn the art of pausing. The art of doing noting and the immense power of silence. In those moments our own system has time to calibrate and catch up with itself. All too often we talk about doing nothing as though it is something that is bad or should be avoided. After 30 years of working with individuals and groups to motivate action so that they can do more of what they love; everyone needed time to rest, restore and recharge. How they did it was unique and different and how long they needed or how frequently also varied but there was never a model where pausing was not part of the process for productivity and efficiency.
Belinda Langford -Bulter was attending a clarity retreat recently and she was exploring her frustration with her daughter lo-lapping around and noticed she was wishing that she had time to lo-lap. The more she explored this thought the more she noticed that her critic said it was lazy and wrong to stop. She lay on the sun lounges in the garden a bit like her daughter had, and discovered she really liked it and that the only time she really let herself rest like that was on holiday. That experience reminded her that she felt good and it was very restorative. That day she decided to change the label given to the behaviour she had called lo-lapping and lazy to resting and recharging. Her metaphor was like her phone she needed to stop and plug in and recharge.
One of the seven principles of action from “The Ultimate Action Activator System TM” is to learn the power of pause. My clients book time with me as an appointment to stop, think and reflect. It is there time to hit the pause button and give themselves time to follow their own flow and check in on what they need to work, learn and live at their best.
How to switch off?
- Decide you want to
- Remind yourself of all the reasons why it is good for you and those that matter to you
- Define what works for you feel rested, recharged and restored
- Celebrate what works
- Repeat and practice
Comment below and share what works for you to feel rested and recharged. Sometimes we are still doing something it is just something different and others times we are literally
In a world where we never lack stimuli, suggestions and ideas we often lack natural breaks. Instead we have to learn to create them for ourselves and we have to learn to manage our emotional responses as we create the change we want.
In my latest book; Do, Delegate or Ditch – Developing the confidence to ask for help without fear of failure or guilt I share “The Ultimate Action Activator System Tm” which is made up of Seven Core Principles of Action, Six core models that inform and make sense of what we need to work, learn and live at our best with others and independently and six core skills required to gain clarity of what we want and the confidence to ask for it.
You can pre-order your copy here.
The more I work with clients to explore their process, the more resourced they become to listen to and manage themselves and others through change. Please do check out the Clarity and Confidence retreats and give yourself time to think.
Founder of Step by Step Listening, Sheryl Andrews has always been keen to create space where other people felt safe to speak their truth no matter what that was. She is well known for her ability to motivate, manage and mentor others through change and loves nothing more than helping others feel heard and understood. She soon discovered there were 8 different kinds of listening and often people started talking without knowing which they needed. At Step by Step Listening they create space to explore what kind of listening works to ensure individuals are resourced to work, learn and live at their best with others and on their own. .
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