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10 Rejuvenating Options for Unplugging from Stress in a Non-stop World: Insights from "Lead Again"

January 24, 20246 min read

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” - Anne Lamott

Author: Noel Bagwell

In today's fast-paced world, finding ways to 'unplug' from stress, social media, and the daily grind is crucial, yet many of us feel trapped in a cycle of constant engagement.

In my book Lead Again: A Modern Guide to Resilience, I offer valuable insights on this dilemma. Spoiler alert: The key lies not in escaping your responsibilities but in reconfiguring your approach to them.

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Here are 10 rejuvenating options for unplugging from stress, when you can't take a holiday or vacation! 🏖️

1. Embrace Priority Management

In Lead Again, I emphasize shifting from time management to priority management. Identify what truly matters and allocate your energy accordingly. This doesn't mean neglecting responsibilities; it's about focusing on what is essential and letting go of the less critical tasks.

Transitioning to priority management necessitates a strategic approach to daily activities. It involves evaluating tasks based on their urgency and impact, prioritizing those that align with your key goals. This shift enables you to not only manage time but also direct your efforts towards what is most beneficial, both professionally and personally.

2. Chunk Down Tasks

Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. This approach reduces overwhelm and creates a sense of accomplishment as you complete each part. Celebrate these small victories, as they can provide a mental respite and a sense of progress.

This technique is about breaking down overwhelming projects into smaller, achievable segments. By doing so, you reduce the mental burden and increase your ability to focus. Each small step forward is a motivational boost, propelling you towards completing the larger goal.

3. Practice Mindful Engagement

Instead of trying to do everything at once, engage in one task at a time with full attention. This practice not only improves efficiency but also helps you detach from the chaos of multitasking, reducing stress and increasing focus.

Mindful engagement is about being fully present in the task at hand. This concentration minimizes distractions and heightens productivity. It's a form of mental discipline that, over time, can enhance your ability to concentrate and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.

4. Cultivate Gratitude and Positivity

Again, in Lead Again, I highlight gratitude as a powerful tool for mental well-being. Acknowledge the positives in your life, no matter how small. This shift in focus can significantly lower stress levels and improve overall happiness.

By focusing on gratitude, you shift your mindset from what's lacking to what's abundant in your life. This positive outlook can transform challenges into opportunities for growth and learning. It’s a practice that enriches both personal and professional aspects of life.

5. Set Boundaries

Learn to say no or delegate tasks that do not align with your priorities. Setting boundaries is essential for mental health and allows you to unplug effectively from tasks that are not beneficial to your well-being or goals.

Effective boundary setting involves understanding your limits and communicating them clearly to others. It’s about respecting your time and needs, which is crucial for maintaining mental health and productivity. It also helps in creating a more balanced life.

6. Incorporate Short Breaks

Short, regular breaks can be incredibly rejuvenating. This could be as simple as a five-minute walk, a brief meditation session, or just stepping away from your desk. These moments can act as a 'mini-vacation' throughout your day.

Regular short breaks have been shown to improve overall productivity and mental well-being. They provide an opportunity to clear your mind, reduce stress, and return to your tasks with renewed focus and energy.

7. Foster Connections

Engage in meaningful conversations and build relationships. Sometimes, unplugging doesn’t mean being alone; it can also mean connecting with others in a way that enriches your life and gives you a break from your routine stressors.

Building strong connections with colleagues, friends, and family can provide emotional support and a different perspective on life. These relationships are vital for mental well-being and can offer a much-needed break from the pressures of work.

8. Reassess Your Tools and Techniques

I suggest evaluating and possibly reconfiguring the tools and techniques you use in your daily life. Adopting new methods that are more aligned with efficient and stress-free work can make a significant difference.

Regularly evaluating the tools and techniques you use can lead to discovering more efficient ways of working. This might involve adopting new technologies or methods that better align with your working style and objectives.

9. Embrace the Present

Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about past mistakes or future uncertainties, can be a powerful way to 'unplug.' Mindfulness practices can be particularly helpful in cultivating this mindset.

Focusing on the present helps to alleviate worries about the past or future. Mindfulness and meditation can be key tools in achieving this state, fostering a sense of calm and clarity in your daily life.

10. Seek Balance

Finally, seek a balance between work and personal life. Recognize that unplugging isn't just about taking a break from work, but also about engaging in activities that rejuvenate and fulfill you.

Striving for balance is about recognizing the importance of your personal life in enhancing your professional performance. It involves engaging in activities that replenish your energy and bring you joy, contributing to a well-rounded, fulfilling life.

To tie a bow on all this, I'll just add that unplugging in a world that constantly demands our attention requires a strategic approach. By prioritizing tasks, setting boundaries, embracing mindfulness, and finding joy in the small things, we can create pockets of tranquility in our everyday lives, as you'll learn from Lead Again and by studying a variety of wellness practices.

Remember, unplugging isn't always about stepping away completely. Sometimes, it's about changing how we engage with our environment and ourselves. Even a small change can make a big difference.

Three-Minute Intro to "Lead Again"


How many of these can you do, this week?

Here is a quick checklist to use as a kind of "unplugging scoresheet." Turn your approach to chilling out into a game by printing off this list and trying to check off all these ideas in a single week! What do you get if you collect them all? A bit more peace and sanity--best prize ever!

  • Monday: Set Priorities for the Week - Identify top three goals or tasks for the week.

  • Tuesday: Chunk Down a Large Task - Break a complex task into smaller, manageable steps.

  • Wednesday: Mindful Engagement - Dedicate an hour to a task without any distractions.

  • Thursday: Practice Gratitude - Write down three things you are grateful for today.

  • Friday: Establish Boundaries - Say no to a non-essential request or task.

  • Saturday: Take Short Breaks - Every hour, step away from work for a 5-minute breather.

  • Sunday: Foster Connections - Have a meaningful conversation or activity with a loved one.

  • Daily: Reassess Tools and Techniques - Evaluate if current methods are efficient, adjust as needed.

  • Daily: Embrace the Present - Spend 10 minutes in mindfulness or meditation focusing on the now.

  • Daily: Seek Balance - Engage in a hobby or activity outside of work for at least 30 minutes.

lead againUnplugging from StressMindfulnessPriority ManagementResilience

Noel Bagwell

Founder of Counsel & Clarity™

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