Episode 7 | Unplugging During the Holidays

Dec 19, 2022


As a leader, creative, and everyday human, it’s challenging to truly unplug. Today, we’re chatting about why taking an offline break is important and how to best prepare. Plus, we share our latest fresh picks, bookmarks, AND our first book club selection. PS: This is our last episode before the new year. We’ll see you again on Jan 9! 



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Kerri: Hi, and welcome to the Flourish and Friends podcast. I’m your host, Kerri, and I’m here with my friend and collaborator.

Esther: Hey there!

Kerri: Hey, our goal for this podcast is to create an avenue for our Flourish community to gather around important conversations that lead to more growth and flourishing.

Esther: Yeah, nothing is really off the table because how we lead our life spills into how we lead at work, and overall, our brand reflects that, especially as creatives.

Kerri: If you celebrate Christmas, it’s almost here! We hope you’re able to take some time off during the holidays. So today we’re talking about how we unplug. Plus stick around while we announce our book pick for the January book club. But first, let’s start with some fun things that are giving us life.


Esther: Let’s start with you, Kerri. What’s a fresh pick you have this week?

Kerri: Well, as you’ll notice, a lot of my fresh picks have to do with being cold, and this week is no different. I am going to say my Ugg slippers. I have a couple different styles that I like to wear, but it’s very important for me to keep my feet warm because I’ve realized that when I’m not wearing.

It’s, I don’t know, it’s kinda different cuz in the summer I can’t have anything on my feet. Like I’m not a sock person really.

Esther: Mm.

Kerri: But I have to have slippers on, especially in the winter. Because otherwise I’ll just be even colder than I already am. So I have, let’s see, the ones I’m wearing today, they’re like the, I think the classic, just like a slip on one.

And then I also have some kind of funky pink. Pink slip on ones. I’m not describing it very well, but it kinda has a platform

Esther: Oh, okay.

Kerri: But they’re, they’re kind of more like trendy but they’re both just really comfortable and keep my feet happy. And the one that has a platform, I kind of really like to, because it makes me feel like I’m two inches taller than I am in real life.

So I just like to walk around and I’m like, oh, this is what it would be like to be two inches taller than I am. Haha

Esther: Do you wear them only at home? Strictly at home?

Kerri: Yes, We are a no shoes household, so if anyone who’s listening to the pod ever comes over, know this, but yeah, we try to encourage no shoes. So we wear slippers. We actually encourage people to bring their slippers over so that can all wear slippers together. 

Esther: Oh that’s fun. I know like some, some people will, if there are no shoes, household as well, they’ll offer like guest slippers,

Kerri: Mm-hmm. Yeah, we’re not there yet.

Esther: Which I think is such a good idea. Such a good idea.

Kerri: Yeah it. It is a really good idea. We are rounding out our guest suite upstairs and I keep thinking that needs to be, it’s like the last touch that we need to add. We have robes, we have all the other things. We have sheet masks like we talked about last But yeah. 

Esther, what’s your fresh pick this week? I know we had an epic one last week. know what we’re talking about, go back and listen. 

Esther: Yeah, it’s hard to follow up that fresh pick, the fresh pick to end all fresh picks. But this week I want to shout out Uniqlo clothing.

Kerri: woo woo.

Esther: I don’t know if it’s got a big presence in United States, but uh, it’s a Japanese clothing company. 

Kerri: Mm-hmm.

Esther: It’s all over the place in Australia. And honestly, every time I go in the store, I leave with a new piece of clothing

Kerri: Yes.

Esther: I just wanna buy the whole store.

Kerri: Do they still do the thing in, in the store where you can get stuff like tailored right there? Have you done that?

Esther: Oh, I didn’t know about that. No. Is that like I, I don’t normally go into the fitting room. Is that like a fitting room type of thing?

Kerri: I think so. Yeah.

Esther: Okay. that’s cool

Kerri: I got one of my favorite pair, pair of jeans of my life and they like fitted it right there? Or they like sewed it right there.

Esther: Whoa.

Kerri: Um, mean I think I had to like leave for a few minutes and then came back and picked it up. But yeah, Uniqlo. Ugh, so good. What’s your favorite…

Esther: I mean,

Kerri: What’s your favorite thing you’ve gotten from there? Are you wearing anything on repeat?

Esther: Yeah. So If you want a cozy recommendation. These thermal pants I need to find the actual name, but they’re basically sweatpants. Everything I feel like Uniqlo puts out is. Such a great finish, so it doesn’t look like lazy sweatpants.

It looks like, oh, I can wear these sweatpants out in public because the fit is nice. The lines, the sewing, it’s inlined with like fleece. So it’s really, it keeps you really warm. I got a pair of those during winter time and now I’m obsessed with these crop top t-shirts that have like athletic material um, some sort of synthetic blend, but. Those are what I’m really into right now since because I have so many high waisted pants. The crop is just like I don’t have to tuck anything in. It just sits right at the right spot. So yeah, I’m very excited.

Kerri: I love it. We need more Uniqlo in America. I’m sure they’re in the bigger cities, but I’m not, I guess I haven’t really looked it up in Kansas City, but I’m pretty sure they’re not here.

Esther: I don’t think so.


Kerri: Alright. Now moving into our main conversation on unplugging during the holidays, which are basically here, Esther, I would love to know your thoughts around this topic, unplugging, why is it, why is it important to you? Like why is it important in general? 

Esther: Well, I think it’s, it’s just important across the board because we live in such an overstimulated world now. I hear people and leaders talk about how people have access to you like never before. They are in your pocket. They can get your attention at a moment’s notice. They can call you, they can FaceTime you, they can message you. And I think just turning it off for a moment just helps us. Be with ourselves and not be needed. 

I think that’s just a good practice in boundaries to start, I think. If we want healthy boundaries, we need to have time where we’re not available. So that can be like a daily thing. In the evenings you’re just not available, or maybe it’s when you start your day and you’re just not available. I think it’s just really healthy um, for others to recognize and also learn from you. If you’re a leader, like you’re setting the example. So if you’re leading a team and then you’re always available, then they’re gonna think, oh, I need to be always available as well. You know? 

So I think just unplugging makes your availability not 24/7, which is just a healthy thing. And then we can get into just the psychology. I mean, there’s a number of health benefits of unplugging. It reduces stress and anxiety. It allows you to actually feel peace. And then also, Specifically when you unplug from social media, you’re able to be more present. And it also has been proven to increase productivity. 

I really loved what Forbes Magazine said. They said that brain scans show that spending time on screens activates the same neural loops that narcotics do. So unplugging once a week Helps break those patterns. I mean, no wonder it’s so hard to break that because we have these pathways that are being formed just by being on a screen. I never wanna be controlled by something. So unplugging, I think regularly as a practice, it’s just good to stay healthy and have mental strength and resilience. What do you think?

Kerri: Amen to everything you were just saying. Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of the concept of, we want to own our devices, not have our devices own us. And so much easier said than done because they’re designed in such a way that you become addicted and like you go to pick it up. Even if, you know, addiction sounds like a strong word, but those brain studies like you were talking about, show.

These technologies are rewiring our neuro pathways. So it’s not just a matter of, oh, I’m just a bad person because I just spend so much time. It’s like, well, actually we’re on our devices a lot for our jobs too. So like there’s a, there’s an important reason we’re engaging with these devices and the services on the devices, you know, the software, the everything on the internet.

There’s a reason that we’re engaging with it and it makes it that much harder to not be addicted or to have boundaries. And I really like that you brought that up. And I think, I love that you talked about the leader aspect, cuz it is so important to be able to set, set boundaries and keep them and demonstrate them, cuz other people notice.

And there’s some sort of quote or phrase about like, the boundary is only as good as like, Basically, if other people see you breaking your own boundaries, then they’re not respect it. So like you have to respect your boundaries first. And I just believe so strongly, especially for creatives and people who may have like social media as a part of their job to be really firm and to be very clear about what their boundaries are.

Both for themselves, uh, like professionally, for like doing social media for like a brand, but personally too. And um, so having those for yourself, but also being able to communicate those out as well. It’s really important. And I’ve, like, I’ve had conversations back when I was interviewing and looking for jobs when I was first coming to Kansas City.

And I was very upfront with like what my tech boundaries were. And you know, social media happened to fall under the umbrella of a position, what I was and was not going to be doing. And that was really, even bringing it up in something like an interview process was really eye-opening because I was able to really see if people, people’s values aligned with my values basically. If they thought that was ridiculous, that I would communicate a boundary in an interview or if they respected it.

And there it was very interesting to see how people responded. Different ways to that. I’m hoping now, like that was several years ago. I’m hoping now the conversation is more top of mind. But we still have leaders in this world who are very much lauded for their vision and for the hustle and for being hardcore and not having boundaries.

So kind of the idea of high performing, but we can flip high performing on its head because it doesn’t have to be high performing. Doesn’t mean you need to be on 24/7 cuz you’re just gonna burn, you’re gonna burn out. Like it’s just not gonna happen. Yeah.

Esther: I agree a hundred percent.

Kerri: So how do you like thinking about the holidays and with all, everything that we talked about kind of in mind, how do you approach, Okay. I have this season that I want to unplug. What does that look like for you practically?

Esther: Well, I think that holidays are just such a great time to unplug because socially people are much more open to the idea of you not being available. They understand that you wanna be present with your family, and so yeah, if we only do it once a year for like a good week or two, then the holidays are such a good opportunity for that reason. Things that I do when I’m on vacation or something; I’ll actually just leave my phone in my room and go through the day, breaking the need to check my phone. It’s it’s a literal practice. So if it’s not around me, then I will just start realizing, oh, I don’t need to check it. Um, so at least for the first stint of my vacation, I’ll do that.

And then I, I mean, I’m a photographer, so I wanna take photos I have a film camera normally with me. Or at the end of the vacation on the last day, I’ll break out my phone to capture some things. But just realizing like, oh, I don’t need to capture every second of my vacation. That actually, the practice of not having something on me, not even having a camera on me, helps me practice being more present and just being in the moment. And I think when I do need my phone, just putting it on like a focus mode. There’s so many ways technology has advanced to allow us to do those things. And I think they’re just responding to the cultural shift of there are a lot of people nowadays, like you’re saying, who want. To practice these boundaries. 

And there’s all these levels of, okay, I don’t want my work to interfere with my personal life, so I need to silence all of those notifications. So I think those are really easy ways to do that. How about you, Kerri? Do you set a plan? How do you communicate that with people as like an entrepreneur? Heading into a break like that?

Kerri: Yeah, I think it’s important to have a plan like you just asked so that you can really be intentional with your approach as you’re taking time off. I, one of the simplest ways I like to do is make sure I am just communicating in advance as much as possible and letting all the key people know. I also like to include it in my email footer signature.

Um, It’ll say something to the effect of like, upcoming. OOO out of office and it’ll have a date range so folks can know kind of what to expect, or at least see it there. But then of course, a direct communication to anyone who would be expecting anything of me or that I’m in regular communication with too.

So having that, you know, set aside time and communicating that in advance. Another pro tip is always at a buffer day, if you can with your job or whatever it is that you do. So, For me, my first working day back is not a client day. I’m working, but I won’t be available to clients because you need that time to catch up on all the emails and clear out your inbox and figure out your plan and all the to-dos.

So that is something that’s helpful too. And I think there is this idea. Again, because if you do marketing or communications or social media, you’re involved in a lot of different channels. There’s this fear that like, oh no, what’s gonna happen? Like, what if something big happens while I’m gone? And I’m not gonna say that nothing big could happen because it, it could.

But that’s why, again, I believe so much in the idea of planning ahead, having those contingency plans. Having a crisis communication plan. Organizationally, your organization should have those already, but then think a little narrower about your own role. What is the worst possible thing that could happen while I’m away?

And just do kind of a pre-mortem, think through the worst possible scenarios, and then plan for that. When you ask that question, maybe it’s, you know, our website. Everyone in America visits our website and it crashes. That would be a great problem to have. Um, but it won’t be your problem cuz you’ll be off. So you wanna have that, that backup plan for what, what’s going to happen while you’re away.

And I say all this knowing that. You might be like, well, I’m on a really small team. And it’s like, I feel you because I’m, we’re on a really small team too. Like we are the people that do it. And I just wanna say like, again, if you’re in a creative field, I kind of think like, you know, we’re not doing heart surgery.

We have, there are true crises, but it’s not like anyone’s gonna. It’s not gonna be the end of the world. So there the things that, that could happen are plantable and can be planned for. So that would be my first tip for sure, is just know your plan in advance, communicate it, and then plan for worst case scenarios.

And it’s also just a good thing probably to have all of those written down anyway. Standard operating procedures or just to have them for your organization or for your brand, cuz those are good things to have on the shelf cuz you never. When a crisis happens, it’s, it’s not as easy to come up with a strategy on the spot than if you did it ahead of time.

So, yeah. And then I think just you’ve communicated it, it’s here. It’s exciting. You’re gonna, you’re gonna step away. Step away. And I think your clients, colleagues, your community, they’re gonna understand taking a break is a strength. And again, back to the. No one’s gonna respect those boundaries more than you.

So I think you have to define and decide what you’re most comfortable with. For me, I try to go off the grid and not have my laptop. I don’t check my phone as much. I don’t have work email on my phone at all. So, but not checking any sort of work accounts on any devices that I have access to.

So I think it’s just deciding what that is for you. It might not be that extreme. Maybe you’re more comfortable with some access, but I would kind of challenge you to think, think through what are ways I could truly step away and completely step away in a brave way, and how could I be brave and trust that there are things that I can control and there are things that I can’t control, and that’s all right. So.

Esther: I love what you said about like just reminding yourself when you’re in marketing, it feels like if I don’t do this, things are gonna crash and burn. And just stepping away and being like, you know what? It’s true. Sometimes I literally have to tell myself, no one’s gonna die. The world’s not gonna end.

Kerri: mm-hmm.

Esther: If I miss a week of posting, we’ll just pick up again. And like again, going back to not being slave to your device, same thing don’t be a slave to the algorithm you are a person. The algorithm was created for you. Don’t let it control you, you know?

Kerri: Absolutely. Absolutely. I see. More people, especially creators on specific platforms like Instagram, who I’ve really respect. Like they’re, they take time away and they. Tell their followers and they just take like a whole month off, whether it’s in the summer or whether it’s December. And I think people, again, if you’ve built a community, you have to believe that your people aren’t just gonna abandon you cuz you’re gonna be gone.

It’s just like, it’s all about trust. Again, you’ve built trust with your team members, they’re gonna trust that you can step away and you have those backup plans already made. Just like with your brand community, they’re going to understand that you’re not gonna be there and that’s okay. You not being there can also look like scheduling things ahead of time.

Maybe there’s an email touchpoint that you, you as an organization or you as a creative can schedule out. There’s still ways to nurture a relationship. Without being online right then and there. There are just so many ways nowadays to do that. And even if you choose not to do that, not to schedule something out, it’s okay.

Like, you know, people. I’m gonna be trying not to check my email at all. I know everyone will probably be having end of the year sales and end of the year donation campaigns, and that’s great. And I think it’s, you know, reach people where they are and the timing that makes sense for your organization. That’s, that’s what you need to focus on like what, what are your organizational goals and what if you’ve done things year over year, just the data show, sending an email at 4:00 PM on December 31st, really helps people get over the finish line for that end of year ask maybe, uh, maybe not. 

So I think even being able to make some data informed decisions around that too, whether it does make sense to schedule or maybe people are pretty fatigued in your community and may not really see any communication or at least engage with any sort of communication too.

Esther: Yeah, that’s great.

If you are thinking about doing like a tech detox or just unplugging for the end of the year, just know that we are in it together. Just set you with a challenge. If you’ve never done it before, maybe start with the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I think that’s a really good place to start. A lot of people take off that week anyways, so every day if you are able to put your phone on Do Not Disturb and just see how not receiving the notifications helps slow you down from maybe even checking your phone. If you wanna take it a step higher and just put your phone away like I do on vacation. We really wanna just encourage you to take that step, and then let us know how it goes. And remember, we’re big proponents of just using this as a progress over perfection moment, that we’re not gonna hit it exactly right the first time we try it. But that we’re moving in the right direction and we’re setting healthy boundaries to avoid burnout in the future.

And I think that’s what our community’s all about, how we can encourage each other into health and flourishing. So um, Yeah, let us know. Send us uh, email and we’ll, we’ll be in it together. We’ll reach out, we’ll share some of your stories when we come back in the new year. If you have any takeaways we’d love to hear. 

But let’s move on to our big announcement. What is our book club going to look like in January Kerri?

Kerri: We are really excited to start this virtual podcast book club. You are invited. Our first book pick is Digital Minimalism. choosing a focused life in a noisy world, and it’s by Cal Newport. We’ll link it in the show notes, and so what we’ll do is we’ll break down the book in an upcoming episode in January.

So you’ll have time to read it over the holidays into January for some inspiration. And Esther and I will discuss it and we’ll give you a warning too in case you haven’t read it yet. There will definitely be spoilers cuz we’ll be breaking down everything that’s in it. So digital minimalism and it’ll be our very first book club.

We are hoping to do these. every so often and we’ll pick a, you know, kind of per a book that’s a blend of personal and professional that we feel will, our community will really enjoy

Esther: Yeah, I love that. The podcast Medium allows you, if you don’t finish it by the end of January, you can just listen to the episode when you do finish it.


Kerri: Alright, let’s move on to our bookmarks. Esther, what are you watching, reading, listening to in your life?

Esther: Well, on the same note, a book that comes to mind about um, hustle is called To Hell With The Hustle by Jefferson Bethke. I read this a couple years ago now, but if you’re just looking for something to read and you wanna learn more about unplugging? I think this is a good book. Um, Just he breaks down kind of our patterns and yeah how we’re being formed by culture. 

Then if you want something more entertaining, I would highly suggest over a Christmas break. If you haven’t read Little Fires Everywhere, that’s a really, really good like thriller And it, it’ll keep you entertained if you wanna be off screens over winter break as well.

Kerri: That was for sure. I read it this year after you recommended it earlier in the year. on my top, top books of the year list, for sure. Little Fires Everywhere and I’m gonna add to hell with the hustle to my cart, or not my cart, my library list. I am a big fan of the public library. Maybe that needs to be a fresh pick someday.

Esther: Shout out to the public library.

Kerri: Yes. Well, my bookmark this week is a podcast that’s based on a book I like to listen to NPRs Life Kit every now and then. They have different segments of Life Kit. They have like Life Kit, health Life Kit, money. I think this was just on the regular one. I can’t quite remember. But it is from this physical therapist named Vin Fann .

He’s a physical therapist and author of Sit Up Straight, future Proof Your Body Against Chronic Pain with 12 Simple Movements. So he joined the host of Life Kit and talked about different mobility exercises you can do and it was just a good reminder for me. Again, it’s one of those things we know or we should sit up straight, but to remember to practice these mobility things cuz pain.

Chronic pain is like a real thing and it especially happens like your back is like such an important part of your body and he just talked through some really simple exercises to do throughout the day and I really liked, he also encouraged in this podcast the concept of progress over perfection.

And talked about like the 80/20 rule, like try to aim for like doing it 80% of the time cuz like we’re not gonna not slouch. At some points during the day, and that’s okay. But what can we do now, to help our bodies be stronger for the future? So yeah, it was just really, it was really interesting.

So highly recommend it and we’ll link that episode to that podcast in the show notes.

Esther: Perfect.


Kerri: All right. Before we sign off, we’re looking for stories about leaders who put their values into practice. Someone whose leadership you’ve experienced with integrity, someone who makes tough choices with grace and grounding. Please send us your stories to hello@flourishcreative.co You can do this anonymously.

We hear a lot of stories about toxic leadership. We wanna hear some stories about, uh, some really great leaders too. So please send us those stories to hello@flourishcreative.co

On a programming note, we are putting into practice what we’ve talked about today, and we’ll be pausing the podcast so we can be present for the holidays and we will see you again on January 9th, where we’ll kick off the new year together.

Thank you for joining us today and be sure to check out flourishcreative.co/podcast to see the show notes.

Esther: Yeah, and we’d love to hear from you. You can send us a note like Kerri said to hello@flourishcreative.co. Or you can just tag us on Instagram, send us a dm. We are @FlourishCreativeCo on there. And feel free to leave a review wherever you’re listening to help new friends discover our podcast community.

Kerri: Happy holidays everyone. Until next time. Live well and flourish.



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