What happens when you unplug?

Is it really worth the hassle?

Great things happen and YES, it is absolutely worth it!

Tree illustrating the plethora of social media options

Our last post gave a status report of overload that we knew would be unwise to ignore.  We decided to take a more aggressive approach and disconnect completely from the noise.  We did not have a time frame going in but within a few days, we both sensed that it would be for the majority of June.  So what happened?  What did we learn? Where do we go from here?

First of all, stepping away was actually easier than I expected.  I logged out of every app on my phone that would give me information and closed the tabs I keep open on my laptop.  Just this step was enough to retrain me every time I automatically clicked an icon.  I’ve done this in shorter bursts before so I knew what worked for me.  My husband deleted apps completely so different strategies work for different persons.  I made sure to line up the things I would do instead: books, art supplies, and coloring books.

I think the biggest benefit I experienced personally was the quieting of my brain.  (Justin will share his experience by video on our IG account.)  A couple of weeks in, I stopped and noticed that I hadn’t even realized how much of a constant buzz was happening in my brain at all times before the disconnect.  It’s hard to explain but my brain physically felt relaxed, like a muscle at rest.  This translated into a greater ability to be present in conversations, and a greatly reduced feeling of stress.  Unplugging has been called a “reboot for the brain” and I understand what they mean now!

The other major benefit was the opening up of space to do things I missed: reading, art and spending time outside.  To the several books I had in my TBR pile, I added Almost Amish as a way to engage this technology disconnect even more.  (A great read actually if you are wanting to pursue a simpler lifestyle in the modern world.)  I went on more walks with Justin, we enjoyed more conversations and I am convinced that the additional space I opened is the main reason I gained as much spiritual insight into current concerns as I did.  It’s amazing how much you can hear in your spirit when you create quiet.  I didn’t set out to do a gratitude practice but I have noticed us taking inventory more frequently of what we have to be thankful for.

As June came to a close, I found myself not looking forward to returning to contact with the outside world.  My hard-won peace was something I did NOT want to give up but I knew that I had to find a way to engage the world for the benefit of my work.  In the process of helping a client with her technology struggles, I discovered more about iPhones’ new focus features and I spent the last few days of the month setting up app limits.  That felt comforting for a little while but I still dreaded the onslaught of commentary on what I tangentially knew were a plethora of social ills and global shenanigans.  I have carefully chosen voices I follow on Instagram who do a great job of discussing the things I care about but I knew I was not ready for a sudden dive back into the deep end of the pool.  I actually missed them as people I’ve grown to like and appreciate but did not know if I was ready for their passionate content.  Then, I had an idea: create a new IG account specifically for these folks and follow them only from that account.  In this way, I could log in and consume that content on a schedule I determined versus having it mixed in with the fun, laughs and love that I enjoy on that app.  Starting last Friday, I checked my messages and notifications in the apps, finding myself with zero desire to scroll the feeds.  We shall see how I transition back but for now, I hope I retain this disconnect from the dopamine loop that technology creates.  I’m leaning more toward Pinterest, Wordscapes and funny YouTube videos for entertainment and hoping that app limits keep reading front and center.

How are you managing global overload?  Let’s crowd-source solutions so we all benefit!

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