Anne Lamott once stated, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.” There are so many benefits to being plugged in and staying connected through social media, emails, and texting. There are also many benefits to taking time to unplug and disconnect from those things for a certain period of time. Have you ever found yourself feeling more tired and drained after scrolling through your phone? Most of us having experienced this at some point in our lives. If you have felt this, it is probably time to disconnect and unplug, if even for a short period of time. It is nearly impossible to completely unplug, but it can be so beneficial to practice every once in a while, maybe once a week or even once a day if possible. Here are a few tips on ways to help unplug:
Be intentional. It is really important you are intentional whenever you are on your phone or computer. Whenever you are on your phone, ask yourself why you are on it. If you happen to open Facebook, ask yourself why you are on the app. When we have our intentions set, it will lead to more awareness, and help our mental health overall.
Create an unplugging system. I understand that unplugging can be difficult. Especially when we live in a world where people expect immediate responses, so for many people the thought of unplugging is a difficult one to process. Something that could help with this is to create an unplugging system if when you are going to unplug. Maybe you don’t check social media over the weekend or maybe you put your phone in the other room, so you are not distracted by it. Another option could be to log out of all social media accounts, so you are not tempted to check them. There are many different things you could try to help yourself disconnect from the internet.
Practice mindfulness. Ultimately, the most important thing is being aware of your time spent plugged in and how it is affecting you mentally and emotionally. Our phones, computers, social media, etc. are not bad things. They serve many wonderful purposes and have many benefits to our mental health. It is just crucial to be aware of how technology is making you feel. If you are checking social media and it is making you feel anxious, sad, guilty, jealous, or any similar feelings, it is probably a good idea to find some sort of system to be able to unplug for some time. If checking social media is making you feel more connected and even happy, then you more than likely have a healthy relationship with checking your accounts. Simply being more mindful of the reasons why you are checking your phone, how much time you are spending checking your phone, and the way it is making you feel, is a very important first step and will help your overall emotional well-being.
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profit organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.