Last week, I decided to take a few days to unplug. It wasn’t a strict technology hiatus, though. God knows, I need Google Maps just as much as any other millennial. So, while I didn’t give up my phone entirely, I did keep it in my car for a few days where it would be out of sight and mind until I got lost and needed directions. While I was [mostly] off the grid, I came to a realization: I waste a lot of time on my phone. Unplugging allowed me to use my time elsewhere. I did summer homework, read the first half of a book, played outside with the dog I was sitting, and even took a mindful joyride. I can guarantee none of those things would have happened, had I been scrolling through Instagram.
During the unplug, I took time to recharge. At some points, I even got bored. As crazy as it sounds, I forgot what it’s like to be bored. With entertainment at my fingertips, I’m never more than a click away from having something to do. As it turns out, though, a small dose of boredom can actually be refreshing at times. Most of the time, I’m overstimulated and stressed, trying to juggle a hundred different tasks on my to-do list. So…I can do boredom.
Being bored honestly motivated me to do the things I’d been putting off, like laundry and homework, for instance. Without my phone as a distraction, I can bust through an assignment and zip through a few chapters in a book in no time. Once my brain gets tired, instead of mindlessly scrolling through my feed, I can step outside for some fresh air and play fetch with a pup in the yard. At one point during the day, I wasn’t feeling my normal self, so could’ve hidden behind my screen, ignored my feelings, and persisted in my negative mood, but I instead decided to go for a drive. Driving aimlessly, one of my favorite self-care activities, allowed me the space to do some soul searching and relaxing (and I didn’t even need Google Maps to find my way home after taking a bunch of random turns!).
I’m honestly not too thrilled to be back on my phone. I hate being “on-call” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It is a challenge to disconnect, though, as we live in a society where cell phones are almost a necessity. Sometimes, sending texts is simply easier than a full conversation, but wouldn’t it be nice to hear someone’s voice instead? I’m one of the small fractions of people who still have a landline, but I’ve never given the number out, so no one knows to contact me at home. I will admit, cell phones are super convenient when you need to get quick messages across. So, rather than expect myself to eliminate the cell phone entirely, I’m pushing myself to simply use it less frequently (i.e., spend less time on Instagram).
Last week, Katie gave us a friendly reminder that “self-care is not always cozy.” So, warriors, I encourage you to unplug this week. It may be slightly uncomfortable at first and you may have the urge to pick up the phone and scroll, but…you may be surprised by what you can do once you get your time back! I do need to finish the book that I started, so I may need to put my phone in the drawer again as well. Who’s with me?
Peace and hugs!