How to Unplug From the World
Growing up in New York City, time passes quickly. There's always something happening, whether it's a social event or a longer day in the office. Everyone hurries off the train and people don’t even stop to breathe - we’re all just rushing to get somewhere. We are so occupied with the thoughts of arriving at our destinations that we forget to just pause for a moment and think about the effect stress has on our mental and emotional health.
Looking at my Google calendar for next week, I’m already anxious about the things I have to do, how quickly I have to get them done and on top of that, finding a way to keep myself sane while doing them. As much as I love the feeling of accomplishments, I have also learned that finding a balance between work and play is a necessity; finding time to breathe is not just healthy, but can boost productivity.
Unplugging from the world is an act of self care. It's to take a moment to put everything down and realize that the social media world and the busy colored tabs on your calendar can wait a moment while you focus on you. Here are some ways I unplug from the world:
As a writer, journaling is my (favorite) way of ventilation and therapy. I use the notes app on my phone often, but I also have an abundance of physical journals that I love writing in. There’s just something about being able to physically write out my feelings and thoughts that calms me down. Whenever I have too much going on in my life or on my mind, I write it down - this helps me see take a step back and evaluate everything as a whole, before I freak out and let my worries get the best of me.
Take a break from screens
You don’t have to go as far as doing a ‘social media cleanse’ that comes with potential mental benefits, but the first thing I do when I want to unplug from reality is to not check my social media platforms and emails. I had a bad habit of checking it in the morning and at night, leading me stressed before I got into the office and before bed of what I had to do the next day.
Don’t start your mornings and end your day by scrolling through your Instagram feed. This leads to comparisons and reading too much into false realities of other people’s lives. Instead, wake up and have a cup of tea or leave a book on your nightstand so you can’t miss it or forget to read it before bed.
Staring at screens all day, whether it’s television, your phone or a computer, can have negative effects such as long-term eye problems, and phone addictions leading to anxiety, stress and depression. Take a break from it all and challenge yourself to go screen free for one hour, two hours, three and so forth. Trust me, you’ll be so proud of yourself for doing so after!
Read a book
I’m always behind on my Goodreads challenge, however, I still aim to read at least 20 books a year. While working a 9-5, a startup, writing and creating content for social media is time consuming, I make an effort to read on my train rides to work. When reading, I forget about the rest of the world and just focus on the characters in the story. There’s something relieving to know that for a moment, a book can take you to another world and you can fall in love with these characters that you know so well towards the last chapters.
There are many benefits to meditation such as anxiety control, stress reduction, generating kindness and being more self-aware - no wonder it’s trending nowadays. Raised a Buddhist, meditation and mindfulness should come easy, yet I can’t seem to sit still but practice makes perfect, right? I’ve been using the trial version of Headspace to help me start.
Be one with nature
This is my favorite one; even if I’m not stressed, I love immersing myself in nature. I’m fortunate enough to live by the ocean and also have a balcony, where I can drink my morning coffee or tea and just collect my thoughts for the day. In Florence William’s book, Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative, studies show that a 15-minute in the woods can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and cognitive performance improves when people are exposed to nature for 45 minutes.
So go hug a tree, bathe in the sun and watch the waves hit the shore. Let nature consume you and allow yourself to relax... you deserve it.