– Switching off media to switch up wellbeing –

I’m just over two weeks into a total news ban. I literally have no idea what is going on in the world. Some would say nothing new there then. But it’s been bliss – I have not a clue how the Conservative leadership race is going, if there is still mayhem at UK train stations and airports and other than knowing that it got decidedly hot recently I don’t know much else at all.

by Darren Caveney

I have made my world very small. I’ve been out walking the dog, listening to podcasts and music and been less engaged on social media. I’m even stalking eBay for a second hand bike I have my eye on. (that would be my first bike since my Raleigh Grifter in 1978!)

It’s been lovely. I really recommend it.

But, of course, it’s a luxury that many comms people can’t take advantage of unless it’s annual leave time. Because one of the truths of our role is that we can’t be out of touch, out of the loop, ignorant even. Whether it’s making small talk on the latest political news, wider world events or trending social media stories we need to be in the know. We need to be relevant.

I like being in the know and in touch. I find it helpful in my consultancy world.

But there’s a tipping point and a danger than we don’t switch off often enough. I’m as guilty of this as anyone.

So it’s something I have to work on in order to get important wellbeing benefits.

An opportunity came up…

I have a couple of weeks working quietly at home on some projects after a busy three-months being on the road with training, consultancy and mentoring. It was a chance to just take the pace down a notch, show my face at the gym and increase my daily steps.

I also took the decision that I didn’t want to listen to the daily goings on with the leadership race. Now I’m a news junky and find politics fascinating so this isn’t natural to me. But my word it’s a healthy move. Two weeks in and I haven’t missed it a bit. I reckon I could go another two months never mind another two weeks. But that isn’t practical or likely.

We all know that switching off is important but some of need a little help

Comms Unplugged taught me how to switch off and how to better manage my own wellbeing. We created it to directly target mental health and wellbeing issues in our industry. I suspect there were a few who scoffed at the time and maybe since. Yes it can all sound a bit hippy-ish. But is that a bad thing? I see that some opinions have changed and developed on the topic in the five years since we launched the event and that can only be a good thing.

Each year following four days in the field (I arrive the day before to acclimatise) I find a renewed thirst and vigour for managing my own wellbeing. This includes renewing my social media-free Sunday commitment, switching off social media by 9pm each day and getting out into the great outdoors much more.

It doesn’t sound that much as I write this post up but it makes a real difference to me.

Comms Unplugged gives me the reboot I need and the benefits have stuck with me since the glorious first event back in 2017.

I’ve learned so much from the attendees and speakers there each year that I feel I’m pretty decent at managing my wellbeing now. But as I say, it still takes work.

And a little target like a news ban takes it to the next level.

So if you’re on your jollies over the next few weeks and I can massively recommend switching off the media.

It will still be there when you tune back in.

Get to the best comms industry experience there is if you can – I promise you’ll love it. It’s not for profit, jam-packed with cool speakers and workshops and the loveliest people go.

Comms Unplugged runs in beautiful Dorset from 15 – 17 September.

Darren Caveney is owner and creator of comms2point0 and Creative Communicators Ltd and a co-organiser of Comms Unlugged.