Unplug. For the health of it.

Here is what I know: if we don’t unplug, disconnect, let go consciously and consistently our health will be negatively affected.

As a professional organizer I have learned that when you let go, slow down, and unplug, you are more available to life and the life you want to live.

Of course, clutter gets in the way of that.

When I talk to folks about what I do I am almost always met with questions about how to reduce clutter, make decisions on heirloom items, and where to start with it all.

Most people I talk with are cluttered in some way. They feel the effects of having too much, or even just having items floating around the house that have no purpose, and no home.  I rarely expect to hear someone tell me they know exactly what they have, that they have enough, and where everything should go. Unfortunately, experiencing that lightness isn’t commonplace for many people and it’s no wonder. Today, we have infinitely more ways to get more at the press of a button on our computer or our phone.

This ability to get more, faster, satiates what I think is an often unconscious desire to have more “stuff”.  We want more stuff in the hopes that it will fill some other void to which we perhaps never give any thought.

So more comes into our space – often. And hardly any leaves.

And that leaves us with piles of miscellaneousness cluttering flat surfaces throughout our living spaces. We have multiples of almost everything behind every door and inside every drawer.  We never seem to stop long enough to address whether we need all of those wooden spoons, white tank tops, or towels.

That is what physical clutter looks like.  We see it. And it’s confusing, noisy and disruptive.

Clutter is the opposite of lightness, and its weight affects our health.

There is an even more detrimental form of clutter – the kind we don’t necessarily see but feel. I am talking about mental clutter. Like physical clutter, it has the power to make you feel overwhelmed, perhaps a little coo-coo. It affects our ability to think clearly, and then therefore act in a way that benefits our health and wellness.

I think the mental clutter we all carry with us is one of the reasons we end up with so much physical clutter.

Our minds are so “full”; there is no room to question and decide and no energy to work to keep clutter at bay, or to really think about what things matter most and what you really like, need and use.

Just like we can get what we need quickly, with one-click-and-its-yours, we also are seemingly connected to everyone because of our smartphones and social media accounts.  That makes it very difficult to slow down, and be mindful; it makes it hard to stay focused and not constantly compare what you have and own, and who you are, to just about everyone else – even, and especially, those you don’t even know!

It can be suffocating and importantly, affect our ability to live consciously, and purposefully.

How can you ground yourself and be present and mindful when you have 31 new posts, tweets, messages, and alerts all in the last 22 minutes vying for your brain’s attention?

The answer:  You can’t.  At least not easily.

But for your health’s sake, you must.

Distractions are everywhere. Technology assures us of that. While there is a place for technology – a lot of good comes from it – there is also a place for unplugging.

A lot more good comes from that.

And we have to be conscious of doing it.  No one in the media world, who benefits from you staying connected, is hoping you’ll take a break and turn off everything for some time each day. But if we don’t take the time to slow down and quiet the mind, I think things will only feel worse. And feeling tired, bored, and unfulfilled with life will become your way of life. And that is not how life is meant to be lived.

We have to actively, and purposefully do certain things to clear the mental clutter. Open up the mind and create space to think more clearly and therefore “do” more efficiently and effectively. That kind of doing makes you feel worthy and important, and fulfilled.

That is more how life is meant to be lived.

Four ways to unplug – for the health of it.

1. Shut off the phone, the alerts, the social media for 20 minutes daily! {hint: the more time you unplug, the healthier and more productive you will be}.

2. Meditate, sit in silence, and let whatever thoughts come in, gently leave. {Read this and you’ll learn you can’t do this wrong.}

3. Spend time in nature, be outside, breathe in fresh air. Nature can ground you, and help you clear your mind.

4. Write a letter to a friend. Yes, with pen and paper! It forces you to slow down and will make the day of someone you care about. {Better yet, meet in person with a friend.  Why has this become such a lost art?}

Unplug, folks. Be deliberate in doing this.  It’s not forever. But it is for your own good.

For our health’s sake, we must spend time in the real world – doing things with real people, communicating in real ways, and focusing on purposeful things that positively affect our health and well-being.

Otherwise, we lose a sense of what is real.  We move too fast making it easier to be cluttered and ignore opportunities for wellness. And we miss a heck of a lot of real beauty that is out in the world.

The beauty we should all plug into.

For the health of it.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Jacquelyn Phelps

    I absolutely agree with this! I’ve been doing just this for a few hours a day now for about 2 weeks. I started clearing old clutter. I.e. throwing away many books, magazines, recipes, old dead calculators, pieces of crochet where I was just trying out a new stitch, old pedometers, old batteries, old keys, etc. I also began working on making Christmas gifts and ornaments. I end the day feeling satisfied, completely accomplished and unburdened by all the minutia. Thank you Francesca for giving me a little extra incentive to stay unconnected a little longer each day!

    • Francesca

      Wow Jacky! Good for you! What a great testimony to what unplugging AND decluttering can do for your psyche and productivity! Kudos! Keep up the great work! xo f.

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