Why I Just Needed to Shut Down

So, let’s talk electronics. Specifically – Computers.

Remember this guy?

That was me this week.

Here’s the thing. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been getting an error message every couple of days letting me know that my computer was experiencing heavy memory usage and I needed shut some stuff down and/or get more RAM.

Like many warnings I get, I ignored it.

It’s kind of like what I’m going to call the Paint Can Phenomenon. Whenever I get out a can of paint to touch something up, do I get a drop cloth or something to protect the floor? No. And you know what else I don’t do? I don’t put the top of the paint can in a safe place.

I’m doing a touchup. NBD. Nothing’s going to happen.

Except every single time I’ve done that, I’ve forgotten the top of the paint can was right there and, yes – stepped in it, on it, dropped my husband’s wallet on it, accidentally flipped it over and got paint on the floor, got paint on the cat’s whiskers…you name it.

Yet, my brain is still like – This is only going to take a second…who has TIME for this? I’m just going to do this one little area and…well, damn. I did it again.

So, I ignored my computer because I really didn’t have time for it’s obnoxious little warning and, for awhile, I would just shut a couple of things down things seemed to work again.

Yet, it keeps happening again and again because I’m running about 10 different apps in the background and I have 3 different browser windows open and about 20 tabs open in those and, when my computer warns me I’m like:


Then it froze right when I was writing something amazing. Something that I couldn’t save or take a screenshot of or even a decent picture with my phone (which I tried). I mean, it wasn’t like the amazing “I Have a Dream” speech but I was on a roll and any writer knows how awesome that is.

And there it went…the spinning rainbow wheel, spinning and torturing me and I was like if I just WAIT things will go back to normal, right?

Oh, dear Paige. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of my life (I miss watching Days of Our Lives).

So I looked up what I needed to do to fix it which involved, first, shutting it down and, after that installing more memory (not really a big deal) and uninstalling old stuff and my brain decided IT was simply out of memory.

I got so fed up that I shut everything down. EVERYTHING. Like my computer, modem, router, that other thing that’s on my desk that does something I forget.

Then I took the dog for a walk. I breathed. I listened to a podcast about the Bachelorette (I’m not embarrassed to admit that. My brain was THAT fried) and a little later, I turned everything back on.

Voila. Things were working – At least for now.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott

So there it is. There are signs you really do need to just shut down and reboot, especially when you feel like you’re running so fast but can barely keep up.

Sometimes stepping out of the race (temporarily) is exactly what you need to do to find your power to keep going.

Our society rewards pushing hard and never giving up. And both of those things are super important – nothing gets done unless someone actually DOES the work.

But there is also another saying:

“To every thing there is a season …”

Basically, if you push hard, you also need to make time to rest just as “hard” so you can power back up again.

Taking time to rest has absolutely NOTHING to do with being lazy or unproductive. In fact, it’s a KEY part of being a productive and healthy person.

Often when you unplug, you come back more inspired, with fresh ideas to make improvements, and with more energy to take on your day.

What are some ways to power down? It doesn’t mean vegging on the couch and bingeing an entire season of a show on Netflix (although it might).

For some people, it might mean doing something fun, like playing softball or tennis, going skiing or swimming, or hitting a flea market to poke around for unique finds.

Here are some everyday ways to unplug:

  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Get a massage or other spa treatment
  • Read a book (preferably not one about 10x-ing your productivity)
  • Go for a walk or getting outside for some fresh air
  • Play with your kids of pets
  • Do something creative: play music, woodwork, cook, anything crafty, etc.
  • Go to a movie
  • Work in the yard
  • Rent an Airbnb for the weekend and get away for a bit (even somewhere local!)
  • Take a nap

This isn’t rocket science – it’s more about giving yourself permission to just BE. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

If you’ve read this far, leave a comment and let me know if you’re going to do something intentional to disconnect and recharge. I think we all need it these days.


  1. Phyllis Marshall says:

    I try to “take a break” at least once a week. I am self employed and typically I work 6 to 7 days a week. However, I do make time to reward myself. Sometimes, I may go get a mani-pedi, watch some of my recorded TV shows (I have probably 50 at any given time but never have time to watch), go out to a movie, go out for dinner and drinks with the hubby and/or family, cook something not exactly healthy (my famous Sour Cream Apple Pie), take the RV out overnight (anywhere – the longer the better), shop on Amazon (yes I am an Amazon addict), apply a face mask at home, soak in the tub, etc. I thoroughly subscribe to the belief that it is as necessary to unplug and “chill” as much as it is to work hard and stay focused. It can be something as simple as not watching the nightly news (so sick of politics) and watch something stupid “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” I feel like it is a way to “reward” for myself and keep my sanity in this crazy world we live in. The older I get, the more this is true.

    • Paige Waehner says:

      I agree! I watch some of those reality shows -makes you feel a little less crazy (cuz they’re way crazier!)

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