Technology is my jam. I love technology. This blog in many ways proves how much I enjoy spending time with an online community and utilizing the technology at my (often times literal) fingertips. I’m cool with technology.
But there have been days when technology has sure felt like its place on the pedestal of my life’s priorities has become a bit too high. When my mind needs a rest, I’ll sometimes “rest” while scrolling through social media, and if I’m being honest, it’s not much of a “rest” at all. More of a mindless zoning out and staring that isn’t doing my body or soul any good.
If you’re on social media as often as I am, I’m sure that you can relate to this short list of reasons why being constantly “plugged in” isn’t always the best habit:
- Envy: While not all interactions on Facebook or Instagram are negative, there are still plenty of opportunities for jealousy as we scroll through our feeds. From vacations to body image to the number of written birthday messages, social media can certainly make the user feel “less than” other members of that online community. Logging off and powering down can helps us focus on and be grateful for the blessings we’ve been given rather than comparing our blessings to someone else’s.
- Fear of Being Left Out: The constant stream of live events that are so frequently posted online (from parties to vacations to what we’re eating for lunch) begin to foster a fear that if we unplug our devices, we’ll somehow manage to “miss out” on all that’s going on in the cyber world. Furthermore, if you have nothing to share, you also feel like you’re “missing out” in joining the ongoing posting party. Powering down is one way to acknowledge your present circumstances with gratitude and contentment.
- Lack of Productivity: We all know how dangerous it can be to visit Facebook for “just a quick minute.” It’s like going to Target to buy only one item, or trying to eat just one Pringle: it never happens. Thirty minutes later you’ve scrolled through you’re entire newsfeed, refreshed it twice, and took a weird quiz about which Disney Princess you might be. We all know that we’re less productive when we’re plugged in. Turning off our screens and getting some fresh air can do wonders for our productivity. And our creativity.
- Pain: Sure, social media can certainly cause mental and emotional pain. But let’s be honest here: sitting down, hunched over a computer or staring down at your phone can sure cause some physical pain. Neck, back, shoulder, and eye strain sure sound like good enough reasons to take a break.
Obviously being plugged in to these online communities isn’t inherently a bad thing. There can be so much encouragement and support and friendship that can grow from social media sites. But when the “cyber world” begins to be a substitute for acting and participating in the “real world,” unplugging can be the smartest option.
Here are some practices to try if you’re looking for ways to unplug:
- Set a Timer: If our kids need to be monitored so that they’re not spending too much time online, then why shouldn’t we? Set an actual timer for the amount of time you’re allowed on social media or online. Then, when it beeps, power down. Take a walk outside. Play with your kids. Say hi to your neighbors. Talk to some real people.
- Make Time to be Media Free: Choose a time during the day that you will consciously choose to be media free. Maybe you decide to unplug after a certain hour—like 7pm. Maybe you refuse to turn on your phone during your lunch hour or before your family goes to bed. The time of day isn’t important; it’s the powering down and sticking to it that matters.
- Power Down Your Mornings: Wake up and get ready for your day without checking how the cyber world is doing. I’m sure they’re all getting along just fine. Instead, prayerfully prepare yourself for the day ahead. You might discover that you feel more prepared and energized for whatever is to come.
- Take a Vacation: Maybe you need an extended break from technology or the online world. Take a month off.
Do you have any other practices that help you power down each day? Share them below! Or turn off your phone or computer and go for a walk.