Manuel Antonio National Park

Do you unplug to rebuild? If not, there's never been a better time than now. Here's why unplugging saved my productivity and my long-term well-being.

[contextly_auto_sidebar id="RXVbzvuFI7Ct5OeScYJOHXSDY1Lws0w3"]On Dec. 1, 2014, my dad died of a heart attack, just 18 months after my mom died of cancer. I took 10 days off to take care of logistics, and after a couple weeks back at work, I headed offline for a full eight days to Costa Rica.

It's the best thing I've done for myself in two years.

And it almost didn't happen.

Back in October, I booked a 10-day flight to Costa Rica for our friends' destination wedding. After my dad died, I was flooded with feelings and excuses to not go. I even pushed my departure date back from the 20th to the 24th.

It took two full days in the tropics sipping on frozen drinks, playing in the ocean, and exploring the tiny towns of Manuel Antonio and Quepos, before the crushing, overwhelming feeling in my chest subsided. I began leaving my phone in the room safe, leaving me completely devoid of digital devices.

Manuel Antonio National Park

And then something magical happened.

I began feeling alive again.

The world seemed bigger, brighter. Time slowed, sometimes to a halt.

The urge to constantly check for new notifications lessened. The fleeting panic -- where's my phone? -- went away.

Instead, I felt a peaceful calm interspersed with bursts of passion and creative energy.

I slept better at night. I woke up feeling refreshed and relaxed.

If I hadn't unplugged, this vacation would have been completely different.

It would have been a normal working weekend, a normal workday, just in a different time zone and hotel room.

I wouldn't have had the "space" to enjoy Costa Rica as much as I did, or have the time and opportunity to form such close bonds with new and old friends.

And I wouldn't have recharged, which is the whole point of a vacation.

My New Normal

The next months are absolutely bananas in my world, with two major projects happening at the end of this month and then moving house this weekend.

But because I unplugged on this vacation, I'm fully charged and ready to rock.

Let's do this.

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