When did you last unplug?

Back in 2018 I wrote a blog entry about my pyjama days. This was clearly long before lockdown and the pandemic, when staying in your pyjamas the whole day was a luxury and not the status quo! Has anyone noticed how the fashion spam and pop-up ads have radically changed since March 2020? I get all sorts of ads for comfort clothes or home office attire instead of the usual office smart casual or sleek elegant suits. Even on business platforms like LinkedIn people are uploading their Vlogs and podcasts in their t-shirts, jogging pants, yoga attire. The new normal is apparently very pyjama-grounded.

Unplugging ©FrogDiva Photography

Well, things change, and so do we. World events and circumstances have a way of altering our plans in the most unexpected manner, and although it sound like a cliche, the human capacity to adapt is fascinating. I realised today how rare pyjama days have become, because I ventured over to the other side of the spectrum. For the sake of my own mental health, I dress up every day as if I were still going to the office. I need that little detail in my daily structure, or the semblance of one. Without it, I feel completely lost at sea, with no rhyme or reason and very much like floppy flannel PJs.

The purpose of my pyjama days was to unplug from the daily rat race and let my hair down, indulge in the absence of deadlines and structure. Three years later I force structure into my life but the idea of needing to unplug and unwind still remains, it just takes a different form.

As I write this, a very dear friend is embarking on the first leg of his Camino towards Santiago de Compostela and a major part of the pilgrimage is to detach yourself from the rest of the world in order to seek solace in the path. He told me not to worry if I didn’t hear from him for several days, since he wants to unplug. Fair enough, I did the exact same thing during my Camino. That got me thinking though, how do we unplug these days in the age of mass interconnectivity?

Here is a very interesting article I found on the matter which actually sparked today’s blog. I highly recommend it, especially if you are tied to the computer the whole day:

Warning: The following paragraphs only makes sense if you read the aforementioned blog…

It was a very valid reminder that sleep does not equate to rest, and we need to put in significant effort to unplug in a more wholistic manner. Physical, mental and sensory rest are a given in my book and I practice this regularly. What I need to work on is creative rest. It wasn’t until I read the article that I realised that I am guilty on all counts of using creativity in the wrong manner, pushing myself over and beyond the call of duty until there are no more reserves and feel as though I have betrayed myself. I can’t help it, writing and photography are very relaxing activities to me, and since I also equate them with the esoteric and meditative side of my life I never really considered unplugging. It just felt wrong and was overcome with guilt if I wasn’t writing or photographing every blessed day. Wow, how wrong could I be? I see the point though and let’s face it, social media forces you to upload something almost on a daily basis, which is detrimental to your mental health on all fronts.

Emotional rest is something I learned to do only very recently. This is by far the most difficult to achieve if you are scared of the consequences. It took me almost four years to achieve my first emotional rest, and it almost feels like having graduated from university all over again and earning a diploma in life skills.

We live with so much toxicity in our lives, and much of it comes in convenient little bundles named Apps. Our internet addictions have made us information junkies and recognition addicts, to the point where we end up sharing information with the world that really doesn’t concern others. We have become dependent on virtual worlds instead of making the most of our real surroundings, thereby isolating ourselves more and more, unlearning the true value of simple pleasures.

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