Tue 20 Oct 2009
By Sharon Korbeck Verbeten
(c) October 20, 2009
Quick—let’s play word association. What comes to mind when I say the word “unplugged?”
Depending on your age and status in life, it could conjure up images of [insert your favorite 1980s band name here] playing one of their head-banging hits acoustically on MTV. That’s likely when the term “unplugged” really entered our collective vernacular.
And while unplugging the electric guitar (or Guitar Hero, as it were) may bring down the adrenaline level a bit, these days, the verb has a new meaning, somewhere along the lines of “Step away from the BlackBerry…and no one will get hurt!”
Whether working mom (can I see a show of cell-phone free hands, please?) or corporate executive, no one is immune to the BlackBerry—its lure is as indelible as the stains caused by the fruit it’s named after.
An article appearing this summer in The Washington Post online urged corporate leaders to “unplug” themselves to set an example for their employees. The author, a corporate CEO, noted that in times of economic recession, it can be even more challenging to “disconnect” from our work—when every deal, every moment, every interaction matters even more.
But achieving that weekend balance between staying on top of work (being responsible) and losing oneself in nirvana (being human) is like riding a seesaw as an adult—not especially comfortable or fun (plus those inevitable blasted splinters).
Here’s a glimpse of how some working women—from librarians to corporate VPs—unplug from their busy work weeks.
Do what you love.
Terri Abblett, a business analyst with Freddie Mac in Washington, D.C. spends her days surrounded by heavy information. So to de-stress, she spends her weekends surrounded by heavy cream. “I’m trying to get my personal chef business up and running, so a few weekends a month, I cook for people, which actually is a de-stressor for me. If I’m not cooking for them, I like to cook for myself and eat the results!”
Regress to De-stress.
You might think that Wisconsin librarian Kristen Anderson would pick up a good book to unplug. But for her, nothing is better than spending time with her two young nephews. “I’ve always found that they help me slow down and look around more than I normally would.”
Bring on the bubbly.
For some, that means champagne, for others, the calming zen of a whirlpool tub. “For me, it’s a whirlpool bath, with the lights down and a girly cocktail, like a mudslide (but the easy kind that come in a bottle that you just pour over chipped ice!), said Lou Ann Nettekoven, an advertising/communications manager in Green Bay, Wis.
Get back to nature.
If all else fails, lock the PDA in a drawer and get outside, no matter the season, no matter the reason. “I have a standing date with my husband to walk to the local coffee shop. Sometimes we extend the walk into the nearby woods to bird watch or visit the local farmers’ market,” said Laura Schulte-Cooper, a library association program officer from Chicago. And Kristin Van Drisse doesn’t have to go far—the De Pere, Wis., banking VP simply heads to her backyard pond—complete with illuminated steps and koi fish—to listen to the calming waterfall.