IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR TO BE OFFLINE

Life Coaching Services | It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year To Be Offline - Tonia Noland

I love going to visit my parents. They still live in my childhood home outside Napa, CA, in a rural area. The cell reception is spotty, there’s no 4G, and their WIFI is pretty slow. To most, this would be an inconvenience. To me, it’s bliss. I have no choice but to slow down and relax. I unplug – almost literally – and focus on the important things in life. Instead of mindlessly scrolling Instagram, or obsessively checking email I practice the forgotten art of connecting with the people around me. It feels timely, being the holiday season, to bring awareness to the need for unbinding ourselves from technology. As entrepreneurs, self-employed people, or those trying to make the shift from one career to another, social media, emails and the internet are important tools. We rely on them every day to keep us updated, motivated, top of mind. At the same time, we need to drop it all and meet ourselves, where we are, in order to stay focused on what’s important – the moment. Because sometimes, in the moment, is where all the learning happens.

For the year or so, I’ve been waking up on Monday morning wondering where Sunday has gone. Did I even have a weekend? I had been blurring the lines between weekdays and weekends. I was juggling a normal 9-5 and creating my next career move on the weekends. I told myself that the weekends were for my passion project – coaching women through life and career changes in order to live their best lives. Now that my passion project has become a bigger part of my day (read more here) I find that I need boundaries around work time or else I’ll just keep working. And if I’m not working, I’m still plugged in – scheduling content for Instagram, editing photos, brainstorming and outlining blog posts, podcast shows, checking email. Isn’t that still work? I began noticing that were no moments to rest, exhale and recharge.

For the past month, I’ve created a practice of unplugging on Sunday to take time for myself. I focus on the non-technology-based things I enjoy doing when I’m not looking at my phone or computer screen. At first, it was a bit of a struggle to put my phone on airplane mode and leave it in the kitchen for the whole day. There was a small voice in the back of my mind whispering, “what if someone is liking your posts on Instagram? What if a potentially new client is emailing you?” Within a couple of weeks, I was able to answer that voice, “They will still be there tomorrow.” I spent my Sundays reading, getting outside on a hike, walking in the park, doing yoga, swimming, getting a massage, taking a bubble bath, cooking, baking, coloring in my adult coloring book, grabbing coffee with friends, or whatever my heart desired. On Monday, I felt refreshed, re-energized and ready to focus on self-care, business, and relationships.

As soon as I unplugged, I realized I was doing so much more with my day and, more importantly, allowing the real Tonia to shine through. I didn’t even realize I’d lost her, but I did. She was stuck in technology-land, worried about whether or not she’d missed something. Unencumbered by the amount of likes my last photo received, who’d recently subscribed to my email list, what was on my “to-do” calendar, I was just free to be me. To breathe. To recognize the life I was living, moment by moment. By taking a step back from my business tasks, and everything remotely related to it, I could appreciate it more when I re-engaged. Now, on Monday morning I show up energized with new ideas and a new sense of self.

We are targeted to spend time online. Everything about our society beckons us to a screen of some sort. It feels essential for us to take mental health breaks to refocus on ourselves. The holiday is a great time to start this. The desire to spend time with those most important to us supersedes the need to be attached to a screen. Let this holiday season be the jumping off point to start your screen-free day-long detox. Let’s hope engaging in this practice is so refreshing you’ll want to make a habit of it.

Sharing one’s story, and in this case, my story, online is important. As an entrepreneur it’s a vital part of my business. What my untethered moments have shown me is that sharing with intention is what works for me. Posting and scrolling for attentions sake won’t move the needle in my business. Instead I’m choosing to share the moments that really matter.

If you’re shaking your head, yes, and this is ringing true for you as well, here are a few suggestions from my experience that may help you as well.

  • Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, it’s ok to not share every aspect of your daily life. Your personal brand will shine through in the intentional and meaningful content that you choose to post.
  • Most of the “Instagrammable” moments in life are meant to be savored by you and the people you’re sharing it. There will always be more amazing moments to share later.
  • When with family or friends try keeping your phone on airplane mode or better yet in your purse, bag, or backpack. If you do take it out, let it just be a camera to capture a photo. Save it for later to post.
  • Choose a day of the week to unplug completely from technology. After your first attempt, reflect on what you enjoy doing when you’re not scrolling the internet?
  • Focus on the moment. Be in it. Appreciate who and what is in your life. Focus more on what is real, less on what is being portrayed as real online.

Ok my friends, it’s time to get back to decorating our house with my husband and our fur babies. Wishing you a warm and memorable Thanksgiving and holiday season with the people you love! And if you ever need to talk, please know that I’m here for you. I invite you this holiday season to schedule your  Complimentary Consultation with me.  A new year will be here very soon so let’s start brainstorming what you want to create for yourself and how I can help.

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