Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Why it's important to unplug every now and then

The irony of a title like that on a post you need to read while plugged in, on the day after an Election that had most of us glued to the phone/computer/TV despite our best efforts not to be, no? Anyway. I thought we could use this reminder today of all days. 

To most people, the fact that we’re so connected is a net positive. Especially in a year where we have been discouraged from face to face gatherings so we can slow the rate of infection during a global pandemic. Being so connected means we get to keep in touch with people a lot more easily, to learn and explore other perspectives, and to connect with others across the world on any topic under the sun. However, there’s no denying that there’s a lot that can be missed if we don’t take the time to unplug once in a while. Here are some reasons you should schedule some time away from the screens in your life.

You need face-time with the people that you love
There are naturally some pretty big barriers to getting a lot of family time in 2020, with smart people taking precautions against the ongoing global health pandemic. However, if you’re taking precautions to be as safe as possible, it’s important to water your relationships with the face-to-face time that they need even though that his hopefully a much much much smaller circle of people than you would normally do that with. There is no replacement for face to face connection. Most of us have felt that keenly this year. Go about it safely. Ask questions where people have been and how they have been masking like you are interrogating a suitor who could also be a serial killer. 

Shut out the voices once in a while
If you’re active on social media, on the blogosphere, or in any other big online communities, is is sometimes overwhelming to constantly be at the whim of a barrage of thoughts, hot takes, and full-blown editorials from all corners of your online community. Apps like these ones shown at Inc can help you put timed blockers on things like social media. For one, it helps you take a break from those voices, but it also helps you be more in the moment without constantly checking your phone. There are also about a zillion of you out there who need to turn off all of your notifications. 

Get outside
The natural world has a lot to offer in terms of improving your mood, busting your stress, and offering some real physical health benefits. Even getting into something as seemingly mundane as fishing with Tailored Tackle and such can help you get a much deeper appreciation of nature, the kind that simply can't be fostered by looking at it through a monitor. GET OUTSIDE. Breathe fresh air, look at the sky, engage in some landscape photography (if you use your phone for pics like I do, my tip/trick is to put it in airplane mode so it's merely a camera, not a phone), ground your feet into the earth, and just freaking BE. Be out there until your shoulders come down out of your ears. Bask in the sun, walk in the rain, sit and be still. Whatever. Go outside. Every day if you are able. 

Sit with yourself
Aside from spending time with your family, you should also consider spending time with yourself. I love to be alone, so much. I wish more people grasped how great alone time is for your mind and spirit. Getting right with who you are is the foundation for so much. If you need some help getting right with yourself and something like mediation interests you, learn practices via Gaiam that can teach you to spend a lot more time with your own thoughts. You can learn how you tick, get some perspective on your own challenges and stresses, and even address some habits that you have had a hard time getting under control. Simply put, being so online all of the time can stop us from focusing on our own internal worlds, which usually isn’t a good thing.

No one is suggesting that we all do away with all of the screens in our lives. Well, some might. But for those looking for more rational courses of action in a world where we will likely never get rid of social media, the above tips might help you disconnect enough to feel more balanced and whole without a screen.

Be good to yourself today, friends. 

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