“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
For sure, the Eagles meant something different with these lines in the song “Hotel California” – but when I heard them the other day while jogging, I spontaneously thought, “Yeah, that’s what life feels like right now.”
Aren’t we all somehow “caught” in a situation from which we can’t escape? We have to endure, persevere, keep going. This requires energy, confidence, a healthy body and emotional balance.
And the best way to strengthen these resources is to realize that – even if we have to stay in a situation – we can “checkout” at any time – in other words, there are always opportunities to take small time-outs, to unplug. Especially when things get too much for us, some kind of checkout is particularly important.
How often do we get stuck in everyday situations – be it the traffic jam on the highway, the wait at the doctor’s or the line at the checkout at the supermarket. Instead of struggling through it, it often helps to press the pause button for a moment. And sometimes the emerging, relaxed attitude leads to options opening up that ease the situation.
That’s why I would like to invite you to include “checkouts” in your life in order to come to rest – even if it’s only for a short time – to recharge your batteries and stay calm and healthy.
Basically, it is already a checkout if you consciously change your activities. If you sit a lot, stand up. If you look at the screen a lot, let your eyes wander into the distance. If you have ti talk a lot, allow yourself times of silence. If you work inside a lot, go outside, etc.
The following checkouts do not take much of your time, but they are very effective. And if you prefer to do them in a quiet place, here’s a tip I often get ridiculed for: a perfect escape is the toilet.
“Check Out any time your like” – 11 Tips
1. 3 times the Breath –
Stop whatever you are doing now and close your eyes. Bring your attention to your shoulders. On the next exhale, drop your shoulders and consciously let all tension leave your body. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly and repeat the following breathing rhythm three times:
Breathe in consciously and for a long time.
Hold the breath for a moment.
Be aware of the “still point” between exhalation and the next inhalation – then inhale again.
2. Focus Play
Look up and choose an object in the distance to focus on.
Consciously notice that all impressions in the surroundings of this object become blurred by this focus.
Now choose another object that lies in the same line of sight, but is closer to you.
Now direct your eyes and focus on this object and notice how again everything that seemed sharp becomes blurred.
Switch your focus between these two objects 3-5 times.
3. “We think too much and dance too little”
Put on your favorite music and go wild dancing.
Level up: loudly sing along 😉
4. 5-4-3-2-1 Method
Stop what you are doing and thinking. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a stop sign.
Open your eyes again and
List 5 things you are seeing right now.
Then turn your attention to sounds and count 5 things you are hearing.
Afterwards, focus on 5 things you feel and name them.
Next, notice 5 things you smell and name them.
Start over and practice 4 more rounds: 4 things you see, 4 you hear and 4 you feel, 4 you smell. 3 that you see, 3 that you hear, 3 that you feel, 3 that you smell, etc.
5. Beginners Mind
Perform the next activity as if you were doing it for the first time. Reduce the speed of execution and look at everything with curiosity and fascination.
6. Fresh Breeze
Get up, open the window.
Stand by the window and just look into the distance for a minute.
Level up: Take a short walk (no matter what the weather!) and combine it with checkout #4, #8 and #9.
7. Upside Down
Consciously perform the next activity “the other way around”, e.g.
Operate the mouse on your computer with the other hand.
Write with the other hand.
Walk a few steps backwards.
Intentionally put on two different colored socks etc.
8. Digital Detox
You probably know this one: go offline for an evening – or for an hour to start with. No PC, no tablet, no cell phone, no radio, no TV – just “switch off”.
Take off your shoes and walk barefoot for a while –
On the carpet, the floor inside and outside.
Consciously notice how the ground feels under your feet.
10. Get Tense – to Relax
Stop what you are doing.
Take one deep breath.
Now tense all the muscles in your body at once:
– Inhale deeply to tighten your chest
– Strongly form fists with your hands
– Pull your shoulders up and push them backwards
– Tense your abdomen by pressing it toward your spine
– Tense your jaw muscles
– Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth
– Tense your forehead
– Squint your eyes
– Hold the tension for 5-7 seconds
– Let go and enjoy the relaxation!
RAK stands for “Random Acts of Kindness” – small gestures of generosity. Do something kind for someone – spend a smile, help carrying bags, hold the door open, pay the coffee to go for the person behind you in line, etc.
In addition to these “express checkouts,” it’s a good idea to regularly schedule longer time-outs into your daily routine that benefit your well-being:
– Cook healthy meals and eat with pleasure and awareness.
– Exercise and sport units
– Power naps
– Walks in the fresh air …
And if you need a song to check out, here’s the song to the article: