Disconnecting

In a world of almost constant text and iMessages, e-mails, phone calls, Instagrams, tweets, and Snap Chats, there is little time away from smart phones, laptops, and tablets.

A recent study showed that 90% of young people wake up with their smartphones within reach, and I know personally that I am guilty of this every single night.

With so many constant connections to others, the outside world, and often times the stresses of our lives, do we every truly get a break? I mean, we get out of class only to receive and send texts to groups about projects, get out of work to come home to an inbox of e-mails about pending assignments and upcoming meetings.

When, if ever, do we disconnect and have time that honestly and truly belongs to ourselves? I believe the answer to that is not very often.

As it is almost impossible to escape the buzzing and ringing of all our electronics, there needs to be time, at least once in a while, to have quiet.

Here are ways I’ve managed to find to disconnect and actually breathe:

  1. Find something you love – when I’m looking to take a breather and totally disconnect, there are two go to activities for me: reading and baking. During both, I put my phone and computer aside and just enjoy what I’m doing – no distractions. When I’m baking I love putting on Pandora and simply enjoying making whatever it is I’m making. When I’m reading I love being so immersed in a story that I feel as though I’ve become a part of it. Finding something – anything – you love that inspires you enough to separate from the technology that is ingrained so heavily into our lives is the best way to truly unwind.
  2. Turn your electronics OFF – even though it’s difficult, even if it’s just for an hour a week, turn off your phone, laptop, iPad – all at the same time. Free yourself from them for a little while, even if only to see that you can.
  3. Do something you that prohibits electronics – take time to work out, take a bath, or do something that will prohibit you from using electronics. Doing something that mandates that separation is a great way to relax your mind without even realizing it.
  4. Remember that it’s ok – I used to be totally wrapped up in technology, obsessively texting and checking emails at all times. During dinner, during movies, in the car, right when I woke up, the second before I went to sleep, even in the middle of the night any time I woke up. To be honest, it was completely crazy. It was almost as if I thought that me being disconnected and letting an email go unanswered for even the shortest amount of time equated to the end of the world. When I came to realize that it was ok to have that separation and take time to myself, life became so much easier and so much less stressful.
  5. Be present – like I said before, there were so many moments where I was checking email or hiding behind my iPhone when I could have been enjoying the moment I should have been living. Disconnect in order to be present in the moment. Enjoy the company of who you’re with and show them that you appreciate them and respect their time enough to actually be there instead of typing away on your phone.

It’s definitely hard to disconnect…I’m certainly obsessed with my laptop and phone and that’s something I don’t see changing. But taking the necessary separation at times is a perfect way to unwind and a vital part of life.

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