Give Yourself the (Re)Boot

“Have you tried turning it off and back on?”

It’s a familiar refrain for anyone who’s contacted tech support for, well… Just about anything. A reboot is the standard first volley for sluggish, glitchy, or malfunctioning systems. It’s often the only trick needed to bring things back online.

Just as we put our electronics through the paces, demanding ever more performance from the same resources, so it goes for our bodies and minds. The predictable result is slowdown, or worse, breakdown. Wouldn’t a little proactive maintenance be better?

A Simple Formula for Difficult Things tells us rest is a full third of the equation for sustainable success. Whether it’s a runner’s “off-season” or “Dry January” for the sober curious, a simple reboot might be just what’s needed for well-being, growth, and even transformation.

Ever experience a hard drive crash? What did you lose? What would you give to have it back?

What are the benefits of a reboot?

Healthy humans are constantly evolving. Taking a planned break from habits is a great way to clear the slate, refresh perspectives, and reorient your compass to the person you’re becoming. Here are a few things an old-fashioned restart enables.

  • Physical recovery: Give your body a break and come back stronger.
  • Mental rest: Prevent burnout, rebalance your mind, and return rejuvenated.
  • Variety: Break old patterns and introduce new stimuli to spur growth.
  • Financial recovery: Save some money by pausing expensive pastimes.

Ever experience a hard drive crash? What did you lose? What would you give to have it back? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and your personal reboot is no different.

How do you know it’s time?

Aside from obvious, full-on operating system crashes (see: injuries and rock-bottoms), watch for these more subtle signs pointing you to the reset button.

  • Plateaus: Runners, no longer improving? Drinkers, getting a tolerance?
  • The blahs: Lacking motivation or enthusiasm for the activity?
  • Mood changes: More irritable, stressed, or up-and-down than usual?
  • Sleep problems or fatigue: Extra tired or experiencing insomnia or disrupted sleep?

The bottom line: If you think it might be time for a break, it probably is. Luckily, you have the opportunity to stay ahead of the game and plan your break.

Look at these involuntary reactions with curiosity, almost as an outside observer.

What can you expect?

Our brains are programmed for routine. Routine is safe. A reboot is likely to sound alarms hard-wired into your DNA, and this can cause some disorientation and discomfort. Think of this as a necessary part of the process, like a computer clearing its temporary memory.

Better yet? Think of it as a fascinating part of the process.

Look at these involuntary reactions with curiosity, almost as an outside observer. Reflect on your running and your relationship with alcohol. Where have you made yourself proud? Are there imbalances you can work to correct? What might things look like coming out of this reset?

Expect to have some extra time on your hands. Logging miles and hoisting tall cans are both fairly resource-intensive. Use this opportunity to tend to things that may have been back-burnered.

Start with yourself (always): Read, journal, meditate, go to bed early, sleep in late, go for long walks. Bring your relationships, work, and other facets of life into the fold as you have space and enjoy the extra attention you’re able to give them.

Where do you go afterward?

After the reset, you might be ready to start running again with a fresh perspective, or maybe to change your relationship with alcohol. Sometimes, though, the initial reboot is just one step in a longer troubleshooting process.

As your systems start powering back up, here are some practical re-integration tips.

  • Set clear goals: Define your objectives and accountability systems.
  • Build new habits: Use the reboot momentum to establish new routines, but…
  • Ease in: Start easy and show yourself grace and patience.
  • Celebrate milestones: Reflect on progress and use it for motivation.

A personal reboot is a valuable opportunity for renewal and growth. Approach these breaks with curiosity and mindfulness. Without trying to steer or control, think about what things might look like on the other side.

And, as always, don’t hesitate to engage a coach or therapist for support, guidance, and tools. Save Tech Support for your computer stuff. 🤙

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