The Five Minute Disconnect

coffee on table

Since school started back up this Fall, it’s safe to say my weeks have been a little hectic. It’s normal for me to start feeling a little overwhelm by the middle of the day, which also signals time for my second cup of coffee for the day.

I know I’m not the only one with a jam packed schedule and an overflowing inbox. On the weekends, I try to take a few hours each Saturday to zone out and regroup (read: catch up on sleep and watch Netflix). But during the week, I’m not always able to zone out and give myself hours to regroup.

But I’ve found that if I just give myself five minutes to take a few deep breaths, disconnect from the world around me and focus on myself, it’s just the refreshment my mind and body need for a quick recharge. Disconnecting for five minutes is almost the equivalent of a ten minute nap –just enough to keep you going, without going crazy.

Here’s how my five minute disconnect usually pans out:

1. Place my phone away from me (if I’m home or at work, I’ll move it to the opposite side of the room. If I’m out and can’t do that, I’ll put it on silent in the bottom of my back pack). For the next five minutes, I don’t check my phone at all. And if I’ve been getting a lot of buzz that day, I’ll opt to put it on Do Not Disturb. No one will miss you for five minutes, I promise.

2. Take a few deep breaths, and drink a glass of water (or take a few sips from my water bottle, it’s always nearby.)

3. Let my mind go blank for the next 2 minutes by doing something mindless –doodling on a sheet of paper, writing my name over and over, singing a song in my head (or out loud, if it’s Beyonce). Whatever you do, be sure it doesn’t require much effort on your part.

4. Decide on a next best move to help shift the direction of your day. If I have a bunch of unanswered emails and a homework assignment I know I should finish, I’ll dedicate the next few hours to that, and handle the emails after. When I’m overwhelmed, I can only think of all of the things I have to do, and I don’t focus on what’s taking priority.

5. Make a move with a mind more clear than the one I started with.

When I’m disconnecting, the biggest thing for me is to stay away from the notifications, so I avoid going online for that block of time. If you’re a little more self controlled than I am, you may want to disconnect by reading an article or two. I find that the less I have to focus on the activity, the better.

How do you disconnect during the day? Do you have another means of escaping those feelings of overwhelm?

Sidenote: I’m sharing my story today over on Everything EnJ through Erica’s amazing new series What Binds Us Together: Our Stories. Erica has collected the stories of some truly bold and amazing women, and I am honored to be one of them! If you’re looking for strong writing that makes your heart warm up a bit and resonates incredibly close to the soul, I recommend digging through Erica’s archives.



  1. September 16, 2014 / 9:37 am

    I think, as creatives, disconnecting is essential to our creative process. I like to disconnect with a midday dance party to a favourite song. It allows to me to move around and get a little goofy! I also found that taking a drive helps clear my mind too, especially when I take a scenic route.

  2. September 16, 2014 / 4:16 pm

    Slowing down and deciding your next best move is so wise! As I become more and more overwhelmed, my brain scrambles to decide what to do next. I usually end up doing several things halfway or forgetting about something important. Taking a minute to focus on what needs to happen next would help me avoid that!

  3. September 16, 2014 / 9:12 pm

    It’s always good to disconnect a few times. I try to do it on Wednesdays.

  4. September 28, 2014 / 2:10 am

    I love this! This is something that I want to start implementing into my life!

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