Unplugging, The New Freedom

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"The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug."

Pico Iyer

 

Are you scrolling on instagram at night as you fall asleep?

Grabbing your phone as soon as you wake up in the morning?

Refreshing your Facebook feed every 10 minutes?

Checking your phone even though there was no sign of new messages coming in?

Are you feeling over-connected?

There's a good chance that the answer is yes.

 

There's no arguing that technology is a wonderful tool and can make magic happen by being connected with people around the world for all kinds of reasons and help us in our every day life, work or travels. I'm thankful for it as it allowed me to create my dream job. It creates freedom, but as many things in life, lines get blurry and we become so attached that we lose somehow bits of that freedom.

Being connected all the time is bad for our productivity, our relationships, our brain and our connection to others. It is linked to anxiety, depression, stress and fatigue, and impact us physically too as we are usually not moving our bodies. 150 times a day - that's the number of times an average person checks his/her phone. We're living on autopilot most of the time and we're not even conscious of our habits.

 

 

I spent a week in the swiss alps recently and the benefits of being in nature, connected to the sun and rain, the mountains and trees have been plenty. I've read a whole book, hiked everyday, got full nights of sleep, and felt rejuvenated. I really needed a break from the city, the heat and technology. My energy was all scattered and spending hours staring at my screen, hoping that brilliant ideas, inspired posts and other work will flow suddenly after hours on the computer. Between social media notifications, scrolling down feeds and other distractions, it can be easy to get lost in the online world and feel like your head is spinning. The result for me was low productivity, feeling drained, short attention span and uninspired. So I headed to the mountains for a mini-retreat. Fresh air, nature, magnificent views, silence, no wifi, just books. Connecting my body and mind. Replenishing my soul. Since I've been back, I've been inspired, creating and writing. My energy and vibe have been rising high.

 "Doing nothing has become one of the lost luxuries in these hectic times. But doing nothing, even for five minutes, can be rejuvenating. Go for it: You – unplugged." 

Joan Marques

 

Unplugging from the online world to spend more time in the real world is essential for our wellbeing. Even though we can't always escape to the mountains or ocean whenever we wish, we have the choice to switch off and go for long walks, for putting the phone on airplane mode when we want to focus on a project, doing a few sun salutations or stretches when feeling stuck with work instead of reaching for the phone.

 

Have you ever thought about how it makes you feel in your body & mind, to be connected 24/7?

When was the last time you were completely disconnected from your phone, computer and TV?

 

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Ann Lamott

 

 

 

How to slowly unplug ?

It's not about becoming extreme and staying away from technology but making a conscious choice of using it more wisely. Staying in control and not let our devices consume us.

 

Switch off.

Choose one day a week or maybe just a few hours everyday when you leave your phone switched off. Make it a ritual. It could be sunday all day or evenings. Find what works for you. Implement a "no-phone in bed" rule.  Keep your phone away- out of sight at home and work.

 

Honor your time.

Think about the time you'll create for you. Use it to spend time in the outdoors, with friends or doing something creative. It will not only give you a break but relax your mind as well. Give yourself one or two hours in the morning before checking your phone. Take time for yourself. Switch off your phone at 8-9pm, so you can have a chill evening.  As your body needs a break from food at night, your mind needs the same. Think about what kind of morning or evening ritual you'd like to create.

 

Mindfulness.

Be present. Paying attention to how we use technology and being more mindful of how we spend our days and how our body and mind are feeling. Keeping our phone away as we walk the streets, in public transports and especially while out with friends. Focusing on the people and our surroundings instead of seeing life through a screen. Enjoy that concert or sunset instead of experiencing it through your phone screen.

 

Connection & Self-care.

Using this time to connect with yourself, to spend time with loved ones, to sleep and rest, to move your body, to create, to enjoy your meal and savor the present moment.

 

 

 

When we write our ideal day or reminisce about our best moments in life, I'm pretty sure it doesn't include a phone, TV or computer, but outdoor adventures, exploring the world, belly laughs with friends, stargazing on a hot summer night. Those are what makes the final cut in our life movie. So why do we spend so much time doing things that don't really matter in the end?

What's your thoughts on this? How do you unplug?

Would love to hear from you. Share in the comments below if you've felt the need to unplug and how you're handling the social media and technology wave to stay centered and focused?