As a voiceover artist, it can be hard to unplug. What if that dream audition comes in as soon as you’re offline? What if you land the national campaign you’ve been waiting on? And with all the smaller, lightweight recording equipment available these days, it’s pretty easy to take your work on the road (just look at all the pillow forts on social media). But every once in a while, particularly as we enter the busy holiday season, there are many reasons to TRULY unplug.
Benefits like no other
Unplugging from society, even if just a little while, can deliver immeasurable benefits. It allows us to take a break from the demands and influences of our constantly connected world, benefitting mental, emotional, and physical well-being in a way that is hard to come by, particularly for voice actors who wear all the hats in the business.
I dared to fully unplug this summer. Yes, it was intimidating. Yes, it was uncomfortable. And yes, it took several days to let go mentally. But in the end, there are so many reasons I can’t wait to do it again.
take away the option
Admittedly, I didn’t have a choice about staying connected. I went on an 8-day horse-packing trip in the Montana wilderness. This area has ZERO access to the outside world. No cell phones or wifi, just pure face-to-face communication with the people and horses you’re with.
Our group of 10 was led by Mills Wilderness Adventure guides into the middle of the Bob Marshall Wilderness - more than 1.5 million acres of roadless protected land full of waterfalls, lakes, and dense forests (and grizzly bears). “The Bob,” as it is affectionately called, stretches across Northwestern Montana just south of Glacier National Park, often called the “crown jewel” of the US Wilderness system. In 10 days, we rode nearly 100 miles, climbing 15,000 feet in elevation over steep mountain passes, across endless valleys, through crystal clear rivers, and on slick granite slabs where horseshoes slid precariously to their next solid step. We often asked our guides what the “pucker factor” was to gauge how many cliff-edge trails or loose inclines we’d traverse that day.
Embrace the Distractions
That extreme change in environment made it easier to disconnect - how challenging, wild, sometimes frightening, and always beautiful this trip was. You couldn’t help but be in awe of your surroundings. Whether by the momma moose and her two babies that wandered into camp for the salt lick, or the bear we passed on a hike as it chased and then devoured a deer in the creek (I’m not exaggerating; this was intense), or enjoying delicious meals cooked on an iron griddle and slow-baked in a Dutch oven, or washing away dust and sweat in the ice-cold river after a hard day’s ride. So many things made this trip magical - things I likely would not have fully embraced or enjoyed if trying to keep up with life and work online.
Experts will tell you unplugging is excellent for your mental health. It reduces burnout, information overload, and stress. It gives you time (or forces you) to self-reflect, daydream, and improve face-to-face relationships. It increases activity, benefitting physical health.
No doubt, all of this was true on my trip. But even more important, disconnecting let me be present so that I experienced my vacation entirely, which made me OH SO HAPPY.
I can’t wait for the next opportunity to fully unplug.
Do you ever unplug or always stay connected?
I'd love to hear about your experiences!