As we move into the holiday season, we often hear people around us talk about “unplugging” and trying to relax. But in our hyper-connected world, it’s difficult to truly get away from the stresses and worries of our everyday lives.

Sometimes we need to take a step beyond the usual idea of unplugging, like not answering your email for a day or taking a few days off work. The concept of “mindful unplugging” is taking time to slow down, look inward, and work on building your internal strength.

NDC has put together a list of suggestions to help you practice mindful unplugging. We also encourage you to find new ways that work for you.

Ways to Mindfully Unplug

  1. Purge your email account. If you’re anything like us, having emails hanging over your head or a cluttered box that make things impossible to find can keep us stressed or constantly thinking about what we haven’t done yet. Take some time to organize emails, respond to anything that needs attention, and clear out personal and work emails you no longer need.

  2. Take a break from social media. There are many great benefits to having news, opinions, and information available to you 24/7. But that barrage of information can often overwhelm or stress you out. Negative news, antagonistic discussions, and other content can impact your mood and sense of peace more than you know. Turn off your notifications or even remove/hide your social media apps for a few days to give your mind a much-needed break.

  3. Move your body. That can mean literally anything that works for you — take a walk, do yoga, dance around the house with your dogs, or stretch if you’ve been sitting for a while. Keeping your body active will actually help you relax while also being mindful of your health and mood.

  4. Create what you love. Find something that gives you a creative outlet. Draw, paint, craft, sculpt, write, cook, garden, or any activity that gives your mind the freedom to be creative and think in different ways.

  5. Do nothing for two minutes. Turn off the TV, don’t look at your phone, and put away things that usually take up all of your time. Take two minutes to just stop. Let your mind wander freely and shake off the tensions of being active constantly. Close your eyes or check out a helpful video to take time for yourself.

  6. Set aside time for internal growth. Look at your strengths and maybe where you want to improve. Reflect on how your own way of thinking impacts your interactions with others and the world around you. Use a resource like NDC’s e-learning course on attitudes and biases to grow as a person.

  7. Give gratitude to others. The road to #DeafSuccess requires a lot of effort, from connecting individuals with needed services to coordinating school-wide accessibility systems. These past few years have further complicated a system that was already inherently inequitable to deaf people. Take the time to show appreciation for the people who work in your disability services office, service providers who have supported you, families who have helped you, and other champions for access in your community. That show of gratitude can help others recharge and resume this important work after the holidays.

The Benefits of Mindful Unplugging

Beyond just getting some much-needed quiet time, unplugging in intentional ways like those listed above can really benefit your everyday life. Making yourself more present through mindful unplugging can boost your creativity and focus, help you de-stress and calm anxieties, improve your gratitude for yourself and others, strengthen communication and your relationships, and boost your confidence.

Invest in you and your own wellbeing to help you recharge this holiday season and continue it throughout the new year.

You are worth it.