People are creatures of habit and our brains search for routine to check out and be more efficient. Now that’s about freeing up your brain to focus on tougher tasks but it does wear you down. It wears down your spirit. Facing challenges and similar things day in and day out will wear down your soul.
It’s important to take your brain offline and let it reset and recharge. In my profession it’s about living my life on air and gleaning interesting things I’ve experience day in and day out. The energy of the show, always focusing on something to use and constantly being on social media for the station, and my own, is exhausting. I’m always plugged in, and I love what I do, but it does wear me down.
It’s important to have your hobbies that let you unwind. I love sports; calling play-by-play, talking about it, anything I can do. I love video games, they allow me to work out some frustration. I love writing. There’s something about putting words down that lets you channel that emotion in to the piece you’re working on. Those are important to have on a daily basis as a way to channel your emotions and do something you enjoy.
Something I also enjoy is traveling. Next week I’ll be international again, off to China, South Korea, Japan and Canada. I realize in my life I’ve been really lucky to travel and not everyone can go on the trips I have been able to go on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find fun things to do. There are so many fun things to do in the area that anyone can do like hiking or camping. Yellowstone isn’t that far away and that’s a camping trip I’ve gone on and it was awesome.
When I was in college my roommate would take a trip every winter. There’s a place called the Wisconsin Dells which has one of the biggest outdoor water parks in the country with a ton of water activities, so why go in the winter? Well in the winter the place sort of closes down but gets really cheap. We called in ‘Bros in the Snow’ and it was our getaway each year. The places were way cheaper, with incentives to come stay since it’s a summer place, it’s abandoned and it was a place that I didn’t get great cellphone signal. It was awesome! We’d go hang out and unplug for a few days and I always looked forward to it.
Americans are some of the worst in the world when it comes to taking vacation, and I get it. When I was in college I barely thought about ever leaving because I was always trying to get to that next step faster, but the truth is it never slows down. I finished my degree and got a full time job but that just meant I was working towards the next goal. If you think “I’ll just put my head down and grind through” you’ll miss so much.
My penultimate year of college I was working 60 hours a week and going full time to class for the whole year. I thought I’ll just grind it out this year and I’ll save money, get that much closer to my degree and then I’ll slow down. It didn’t happen that way. Instead I missed a few fun events because I was always trying to get work done. It wasn’t worth it in the long run. I definitely could have slowed down a bit and gotten a lot more enjoyment out of the whole year.
Requirements for each job are different BUT everyone needs to unwind and unplug. If you feel like you can’t take some time off then you probably aren’t in the right situation. I’m one of the most competitive people there is and there was a time even in this job I was afraid that I’d leave and possibly be replaced or they’d feel like the show was fine without me, it’s a common thing in radio, but I knew what I did was good and I provided value to my company so I’m gonna take advantage of the vacation time I have.
‘You can’t provide peace for others if you can’t provide it for yourself.’ It’s a lot better traveling when you have someone to share it with, but most importantly is being able to unplug and relax. Don’t be afraid to take your brain offline.