When do you truly switch off?

I’ve had a really busy week, both in work and personally. I’m used to spinning numerous plates and I’m quite comfortable with that, though, to coin one of a good friend’s favourite phrases, my head has been full of broken biscuits at times. That situation has improved now though it did make me think of the times in my life when I truly switch off. Sadly, I could only think of two instances:

When I walk Rosie (my dog).

If I walk with my immediate family, I still have many thoughts swirling around in my head. If I walk on my own, the same applies. Yet, when I walk with Rosie, those thoughts disappear and I find it easier to live in the moment and concentrate on nothing but that walk, my dog, and my surroundings. I don’t know why this is and I find it a little bizarre, though I’m also very grateful for it. This certainly tends to be the case when there are fewer people around, which is the main reason I like to walk first thing in the morning. It doesn’t particularly matter where we are though I do have a favourite location – a reservoir just a 5-minute drive from where I live. It’s a short walk, no more than 30 minutes if we just do one lap, yet it’s stunning, especially when the sun rises in the morning. I love comparing the changing of the seasons in the surrounding fields, especially during the crisp, sharp winter mornings. It just helps me unwind and forget about the world for a short while. That is invaluable.

When I play guitar.

Considering music is such an important part of my life, I never truly switch off when listening to it. Again, there’s always something occupying my mind. I can completely lose myself in one or two songs but never for a prolonged period. I do truly switch off when I pick up a guitar though; even more so if I plug into an amp and play for a good spell (certainly half-an-hour or more). Again, I really don’t know why this is, though I do frequently ‘enter a zone’ when I plug in and feel the power of the amp through the strings and just play. It doesn’t matter if I’m gently strumming my acoustic or cranking up the gain channel of the amp to Foo Fighter-esque levels, I can easily get through a few hours without thinking about anything else.

They are pretty much the only two instances in life when I’m able to truly switch off. Nothing else completely blocks everything out in the way that these two examples do. Not exercising; reading; listening to music; driving; watching a film or tv programme; or any other examples which appear to be common solutions for others. I don’t mind that my mind races so often – I actually quite enjoy it. Though, in these days of busy lives and what seems at times like a constant bombardment of communication and information from all sorts of social media channels, notifications, and phone alerts, we all need some downtime. I am thankful that there are some things I can do to achieve that.

I’m really interested to know what others do to truly switch off. Is there something which always works for you or is the very notion of switching off merely a pipe dream?

Finally, the photos below will hopefully show just why I love getting up to the reservoir first thing in the morning. It is just about as peaceful and relaxing as this life gets.

As always, thanks for reading and take care.

Mick

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