The Best Way to Recharge is to Unplug

Like most people in their early 30s, I get stressed out. There are a lot of different kinds of stress and I feel like I’ve felt all of them at different times of my life. From getting married, to being deployed away from your wife, the birth of two children, the uncertainty of getting out of the military and finding a job, realizing you aren’t happy in your job and trying to find something else to working hard and being out of the house 12 hours a day and still going to school full time. All of these things will take a toll on your health, happiness and well-being. About three months ago, I found myself stressed out from working 60 hours per week, my college finals were coming up on top of normal stressors and it all caught up to me; I had what I thought was a rash turned out to be shingles. It is your body telling you that it is time to slow down. I had pain in my back that wrapped around my rib cage to my stomach and vertical shooting to go along with it. The doctor told me that since I had Chicken Pox as a child, I could get shingles at any time and it is simply caused by stress.

Everyone feels some kind of stress; it is just how you choose to deal with it that will prove your true character. I have found that my heartbeat increases and I feel inherent stress every time my phone has any kind of notification. Is this a job calling, is it the school calling about my son, is everything OK with my family, is it another telemarketer, basically just stressing over the terrible things that could be happening. It is difficult to realize sometimes, but being attached to your devices in a virtualized world can be a large cause of all of this stress. I went on a vacation a year ago or so and we didn’t have cell phone service and IT WAS GLORIOUS! Turn your phone off or put it in another room for an hour a day and enjoy your family. Look for these vacation spots without cell service, without Wi-Fi and just enjoy the company of others or enjoy some quiet time. Every day as I get on the Metro to come home from work, part of me breathes a little easier to know that for the next 30 minutes, nobody can get in touch with me, I won’t find myself checking social media or sports news and though there are always other distractions, I enjoy a few minutes of alone time.
We all have great intentions of ways to relax and get rid of some of the daily stressors and find ourselves too busy. I’ve been there plenty of times! What is most important is to find a way to unplug, whether it is through exercise, meditation, going for a walk, playing fetch with the dog or playing with the kids. Unplugging yourself from your device, TV, email and social media now, is better than having a wake up call like myself or so many other stories that I’ve heard. Someone once said “A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns the mistakes of others.”, so learn from mine before something even worse happens to you.
Stay strong out there people and take that deep breath and put the phone down!

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