Hiding under a box is pretty easy to try. This is especially true when everyone says turn off the noise. Think about it. How much time did you spend watching Netflix this week? It’s an escape mechanism. There is nothing wrong with that. But, the more you tune out, the longer you’ll be out of the loop. How much time did you to devote to activities that make you a better person?
A lot of folks like to unplug or check out but what does that entail? Does it mean you are simply removing yourself from social media? And, if that’s the case, why? You really can’t see your friends having fun without being jealous?
Why else? You can’t handle politics. Most in America can’t, and that’s especially true in these times. But, you can’t handle reading what is happening in the world? Are you that big of a wimp? Or, that self-righteous? Maybe somewhere in between.
You may check out because of work. This is admirable. It is often stressful and requires balance. However, why do you suddenly setup a time to unwind from work? Why can’t you simply get on a schedule that you stick to and check out routinely. Explain this to your managers, or don’t. But, try to not answer the call or email until a time you choose. See if they even notice or care.
Finally, what are you doing with the time you gain when you disconnect from whatever is causing you grief or stress?Give this some thought. For instance, if you check out from politics and exclusively read entertainment or sports news, have you bettered yourself? If you disengage from work once or twice a month but go right back to your cycle of stress and anxiety, have you really helped yourself? If you remove social media from your life but return to your jealous, envious, or lustful ways, what have you accomplished?
You see, we read countless articles that tell us that checking out is wise. Most of them stop there. They may suggest we spend more time with the family. The other tips are often to read and exercise more. The point is, most of the advice is rooted with minimal and actionable ideas.
This is what you should do. First, examine what you replaced the task with when you unplugged. Next, your goal is to move further from this point. What does that mean? Think of this. If you replace task X with solution Y, weigh the benefits you’re getting. See how sustainable this replacement is, and what other solutions are out there to try. The goal needs to be a long-term fix. If you genuinely want to disengage from politics, social media, or work, you must turn it into a lifestyle, versus a temporary band-aid.
You would never read about a diet, exercise routine, or any other type of self-help and assume you should try it for thirty days and then never go back. You would hope to develop this into your life permanently. It seems the self-help suggestions haven’t evolved to that level. Removing Instagram from your life is fantastic, especially when the average person is spending almost an hour on social media per day. But, what are you doing with those 21,900 minutes each year?If you switch from Instagram to playing a game on your phone, or aimlessly scrolling through sports scores and celebrity gossip with those new-found minutes, what was the point? You might as well have stayed on Instagram.
This is true to disengaging from politics, or occasionally checking out of work. You have to understand it is necessary to add something new to this time slot, and this could be a large time slot to fill. That something should be repeatable, and beneficial to you for the long-term.
Be mindful of that. Understand you can’t solve it with one solution, but if you give yourself a basket of things that better your life and fill the time well, then you’ll succeed in making this temporary move a lifestyle.