My Plan To Unplug: How To Get Back To Zen

A few weeks ago, my sister Marabeth and I went on one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. It wasn’t a tropical beach and it wasn’t a chic, decadent city either. In fact, it was only about an hour away from where I live in Los Angeles. The Ranch at Live Oak in Malibu is a place where people go to unplug and go off the grid from their everyday lives. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of gotta go here, need to pick this up from there, return this call, reply to that text and so on. We all need time to stop and smell the roses, literally.

At the Ranch, they put us through a different kind of bootcamp that I’m used to. It’s not at all the high-impact sweat session that I usually fit into my schedule. They had my sister and I slow down, go on five hour long hikes, take yoga classes and even encouraged a daily nap! The menu was vegan, clean and delicious. This all lends to gaining a sense of serenity and clarity. We were definitely feeling it. Waking up at 5:30am originally sounded like a horrible idea, however I discovered it’s actually a productive way to go about my day. I like waking up with the sun and I’m motivated to continue doing it. Spending an extended time in nature was truly refreshing in every way. There weren’t any errands to do, no cars honking, zero phone notifications, it was really… nice.


You don’t have to jet to the Pacific Coast to achieve what the Ranch calls “fitness and wellness immersion.” This is something everyone can and should make time for. I’m going to make a real effort to block time out in my calendar to create my own Ranch experience at home.

Below are are some of my plans for recreating my Ranch experience. Even if it’s only for a few hours every week, I plan to unplug on a regular basis.


My “Ranch in the City”:

β€’ Wake up extra early so there is more time to enjoy the morning
β€’ Turn the phone on silent or better yet, leave it in a drawer
β€’ Take Harley and Lexi for long nature walks or hikes
β€’ Plan ahead for clean, good feeling meals that don’t make me feeling like I just ate an entire pizza.

Mmmm… pizza. Focus, Jules!

What do you guys think? How do you like to unplug?

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Comments 14

  1. I love these tips! One thing I’ve been making a habit of is eating my meals outside by myself or with my family. It gives me time to reflect and truly focus on the nutrients I’m putting in my body, with the added benefit of getting some fresh air and enjoying nature. Much better than sitting in front of a tv.

  2. This is great!
    Everyone needs to disconnect for at least a few hours each week to get centered. I am trying to do the same, just can’t seem to get myself up early in the morning for some quiet time. I will get there though!

  3. Positive advice, Jules! In this whirlwind called life…taking time to unwind is essential! I was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 mos ago and just finished treatment. In order to remain cancer free, I must change my lifestyle! So everyone start now… Jules has got it right!

  4. I’m all about this!!! Meditation, yoga, swimming, a nice bike ride.. And the list goes on. Definitely no phones when with friends or family, early mornings to prepare for my day, and lots of mindful eating and drinking. More ‘being’ , less thinking. Recently read ‘The power of now'(which Derek recommended in his book), and that has been tremendously helpful. Also taking Arianna Huffington’s ThriveOCourse at the moment. I love your vibe Julianne!!!! Xxx

  5. Looks amazing! I recently went to Chiva Som. We were not allowed to use any electronics outside of our room. It was wonderful! A week full of healthy food, mindful eating, being present, and getting still.

    I’m making the most of being in between jobs. I wake up without an alarm, have coffee, read blogs, go to the park, meditate, do yoga, prepare clean foods, read, and study homeopathy. I’ve also been looking for one thing that makes me laugh everyday! Life. Is. Good.

  6. Animals are a great way to unplug. just sitting on the floor playing with the cats. And if you don’t have any of your own go to a local pet store or animal shelter. you will lose time and won’t care because you are so relaxed petting them or even just watching the fish swim around carelessly.

  7. This post is so timely, for me. My work place is starting Monday Meditation at lunch time (for 30mins), and I want to start charity walks we have along the coast here, at or near Byron Bay! I just wish I could coax someone to come along with me!
    If not, I’ll still go along, getting out of my comfort zone, and doing lone hikes.
    I heard someone complain about not having enough time to themselves, or to exercise… the personal trainer’s response was, ‘So get up earlier’. Simple as that! It made me do the same πŸ™‚ I love some quiet time before my babies wake, before it’s the crazy, hectic, manic hour or so getting them and myself ready for daycare/work. More time to enjoy the morning, slow down a bit, and start the day on a high note πŸ™‚
    We have lots of retreats around Byron, but they’re soooo expensive. A beach walk is always free, though πŸ™‚

  8. My FiancΓ© and I will take an hour an evening or a whole night during the weekend and put our phones in a drawer & on silent. Do whatever we want or feel like doing and just enjoy each others company. It’s awesome. I really recommend it for anyone. πŸ™‚

  9. Hey Jules! Greetings from Sweden! Love the tips, and a really good thing to be self aware enough to know when this is needed and actually dial down for a little bit.
    I had to really think about when the last time i slowed down a bit and unplugged, and it was last summer, going to the beach on a warm day, prefferably without the crowds. I just cant sit with my phone with that kind of view of the beach and water, just sit back and relax. that’s what i like to do.
    Lots of love! Xxx

  10. This came at a perfect time to read. I have been wanting to unplug for many reasons. After giving birth this past august I’ve found myself scrolling facebook, playing games on my phone, creating pin boards I have no intention of using, while nursing my baby or even on sleepless nights. I don’t want to set that example raising my kids, for one I hate when I see ppl glued to their phones out to eat or during anything that could be an interaction with who is in front of them. It’s time to put the phones down and see what is in front of you, let life happen!

  11. You are amazing!!! You and Derek are so talented but so down to earth and kind hearted people! This is such a amazing thing to write about because everyone needs to do this!! We all need to stop leaving such crazy busy lives and take time to be with family and friends! πŸ™‚

  12. I am all about meditations and peaceful places to zen out. It’s always a great idea to get away from civilization. For me just getting up in the morning, really early and just watching the sunrise. Walking in the neighborhood for a good hour and a half. Then, do some relaxing yoga for 30 minutes with relaxing music. Then, taking a nice, hot bubblebath with candles, also with music. Then, eating a healthy nutritionist breakfast.

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