A couple of weeks ago Lindsey and I spent a weekend camping with our family Up North. It’s glamping really, as we weren’t without anything butttttttt (drumroll please) cell phone service. Until it was unavoidable, I didn’t realize how much my soul needed this time to unplug.
When we got back to the land of wi-fi I realized just how mindless I am with my phone usage. I check for notifications out of habit (even though I have them turned off for most of my social apps). Often, I pick up my phone to do one thing and get distracted by 15 others. Now there are a few seemingly obvious solutions to these problems (like reverting to a flip phone or turning off wi-fi) but neither option really works for this blogger – mom-tographer – directionally challenged – modern woman. Haha!
So in listing these 5 benefits of unplugging (I’m sure there are even more!) I hope to continue to be more mindful of when my soul needs this.
5 Reasons to Unplug
1. Create Space
I’m finding it difficult to put into words the mental clarity and peace that I felt simply from not being able to browse the internet. When connected we are bombarded with hundreds of different opinions and pieces of information that our brains have to cypher through. Until my mind wasn’t busy doing that, I didn’t realize how exhausting it was. Unintentionally, I had created space for my mind to decide on it’s own what was important to think about.
I even found myself able to have a conscious mindset shift when I felt myself getting uncomfortably competitive at a dice game. Recognizing that my knee jerk reaction to my little brother attempting to explain the game directions to me was kicking in (I can’t deal for some reason! Haha), I realized it was up to me whether or not we had fun. So I made a decision to let my annoyance go and have a good time! Had I been able to be distracted by my phone, I likely wouldn’t have been able to do that.
When cell phones came into our lives as teens we had a no cell phone rule during family time. As Smart phones came on the scene, even my parents couldn’t resist the allure. It’s easy to be so connected with everybody, EXCEPT those right in front of you.
In fact the only deeply connecting convos I get into these days, happen when my cell phone is either put away, in another room, or my sister and I are FaceTiming with said phones. A disconnect happens in every other conversation where cell phones are present. Here’s the thing, this is the way of the present and the future. I’m not mad about it. I just want to be mindful of it and make conscious decisions about when it is important to be fully present.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been tricked into believing that sitting down for 15 min and scrolling through social media is a form of rest. But let’s be honest with ourselves, it is 100% not genuine rest. I often find myself thinking I can recharge with a quick 15 min before tackling the overwhelming to do list floating around in my mind. I’m often not even clear on where to start on that to do list and 15 min inevitably turns into 20 or more. When I’m done I feel no more ready to start than I did before the “break”.
As I mentioned before, it is exhausting for our minds to have to cypher through so much information. I felt more energized during those 3 days than I have felt in a long time. If I needed more proof that energy (at my age and level of health) is a mind game, there it is.
I would do far better to sit down and brain dump all the things that are on my mind in order to gain clarity on my goals for that day. Or take 5 minutes to meditate and speak life over myself for the day. Even taking a few minutes to call out any negative thought patterns and replace them with truth would be a much better use of my time.
Busyness is not the problem. It is a fact of life, and has been. Even if you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, you will be busy from sunup to sundown. The problem is that we don’t realize that even in the busyness we can be at rest.
I want to reconnect to that rest by taking moments to unplug throughout my day.
4. Embrace Boredom
I found myself telling the boys it’s okay to be bored. There were many times that I was bored as a child and I’m still alive to tell about it. But I realized that there are very few times in my adulthood (so his lifetime) that I have had the opportunity to or allowed myself to be bored.
Even while getting ready, I am usually listening to a podcast or a sermon. When that wasn’t an option though, I didn’t miss it. I didn’t feel bored like I usually expect too. Instead I enjoyed the process of putting on my makeup, and chatting with my mom and sister as I did it.
Boredom heightens our imaginations, as both adults and children. Jesus tells us to be like little children and I think adults and children differ most in the area of imagination. Imagination is something I want to cultivate both in myself and my children. Unplugging and allowing myself to be “bored” helps me to imagine my potential and future possibilities in life and business, and to be my most creative.
5. Support Mental Health
I fully believe that we are in control of whether or not social media affects our mental health negatively. The problem is many times we don’t realize we are in complete control of what we consume or that it is even affecting us to begin with.
I shared on social media this week that I thought I was good at this quote “Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own”. But then I spent a day scrolling through body positivity quotes for this post and felt so much different. Instead of feeling like I needed to go workout for an hour and try a new diet, I felt empowered. I found myself smiling when I caught my appearance in a mirror. My husband appreciated the bounce in my step and the flirtation that followed.
And this was a day that I hadn’t gotten ready and was still not feeling 100% from a cold.
This was a stark contrast from how I usually feel after scrolling social media. The women I see are worthy of body love, success, and influence, but I am not. At least that is what my mind is often telling me.
You can of course choose who you follow. But even seeing a lot of awesome people doing awesome things can affect you negatively if you aren’t in the right head space. Know yourself. Have self-control and unplug if you aren’t in a good place, or the moment you become aware of it.
Do you need to unplug?
Could you benefit from unplugging in any of these areas? Unless inevitable, it might feel overwhelming to unplug for 3 days like we did. Start small and don’t give up! It will be worth it!