offline is a luxury

If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you reach for is an internet connected device only to spend more time there than you intend to, chances are pretty good that you are wasting a substantial amount of time on a regular basis that could be used in a productive way, or even to just mentally prepare for the day ahead of you.

The internet can be a wonderful tool to use in a myriad of ways, and the most frequent use by far is communication. Keeping in touch with people online is fun, useful and often necessary, but finding balance is crucial. Balance is what people have trouble finding. Most of us know a handful of people who periodically and publicly announce their upcoming breaks from social media, and then either end up not actually taking said break or only remain offline for a short period of time. This inability to stay away could indicate some deeper issues. If you really have the desire to disconnect, you will do so without hesitation or returning so soon.

Apart from those who have a tendency to overshare on social media, most of us are only comfortable sharing about 10% of our lives publicly, which doesn’t even scratch the surface of reality and yet we still feel insecure looking at other people’s lives and in comparison convince ourselves that theirs are significantly better than ours. They probably aren’t.

Are you addicted?

There is no denying that we have become overly dependent on technology, or even more so addicted to it. Experiencing those phantom vibrations or having a constant urge to reach for a device that isn’t even receiving notifications could indicate an addiction to technology.

We were not designed to be this wired to massive amounts of information, and the overuse of technology has shortened our attention spans and made us anxious and slightly delusional. Technology negatively influences our sleep habits and warrants it nearly impossible for us to shut our brains off. The more time we allow ourselves to spend engrossed in video games or scrolling through nonsense, the less time we spend being physically active, working to improve areas of our careers and personal lives, and experiencing meaningful relationships. We socially isolate ourselves by residing in our own little worlds, even while in the presence of other people.

Shut it down

Escaping from the internet for a good amount of time everyday can make a huge and positive impact on your psyche. It is particularly important for those of us who have jobs that require us to stare at screens all day to not go home to stare at different screens.

If I neglect to sit with my thoughts daily I start to feel really overwhelmed. Whenever I share this with people I think they envision a lunatic staring at the wall in a deafening silence, so if a picture must be painted this looks more like sitting outside with a cup of tea or glass of wine, in a place where nothing can rob me of my decompression. Whenever my mind is particularly heavy I write down everything that is bothering me in that moment and that in itself offers profound relief.

Whatever impact we allow technology to make on our mental and physical health will be to our own determent if we fail to engage in moderation. The benefits we gain through technological advancements should always outweigh the negative effects, but that will always depend on how we use them.

And no, the irony was not lost on me that I wrote this entry online 😉

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