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Why You Should Disconnect from Social Networks Once In A While

Why You Should Disconnect from Social Networks Once In A While

Last week, I embarked on my month long challenge from some of the social media networks I frequent a lot, too much in fact. Yesterday was the end to my first week of the challenge.

Here’s an overview of my routine before I took the challenge.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is reach for my phone, off my alarm, and scroll for updated feeds on my phone. During my commute to work, I would be checking several social apps updates, and usually find the same news.

Over meals, I would be at times be posting pictures of new dishes or restaurants. I would constantly be conscious of checking in, trying to learn ways to capture selfies, sieving out better photos to upload and thinking up witty posts. At home, I would be multitasking and sub-consciously scrolling and re-scrolling feeds even when there are no updates. At the same time, I was also subscribed to email newsletters from same sites.

Recently, I found myself being hooked on to constantly checking for feeds and notifications. It was eating up a lot of my time and energy. Besides, I was allocating a portion of my attention to mindless scrolling, wishing for things that didn’t matter to me and wasting time unnecessarily.

The Start of My Challenge

A day before my challenge, I posted a note on my personal page that I was taking a month break. I then proceeded to uninstall the apps on my phone. On the first day of my challenge, I had to consciously remind myself to stop reaching out for my phone or stop wondering if anyone has liked my last post.

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On the second day, I was still slightly affected by the lack of connection with my friends (acquaintances) virtually. I was tempted to steal a peek from the shoulders of others, but I managed to pull myself away. I began to unsubscribe from emails that I’d always delete without reading on automatic mode.

The third day, I was able to focus with full attention on my work without reaching out for my phone. Lesser emails were coming in and I took lesser time as well. I gathered that the more important news to keep updated would be from the news platform so I subscribed to notifications from news station.

On the fourth day, I started paying attention to my surrounding and noticed that most were looking into their phones either on social feed or watching videos. At meal times, I felt a tad conscious of not taking photo or reading on phone while eating.

On the fifth day, I began reading more news from news notification, unsubscribed from more newsletters that I had signed up earlier and had more quality emails coming to me like LifeHack and Highbrow. I completed my work lists that I had been putting off for a while without being interrupted.

On the sixth day, I feel more productive and less consumed by the addiction to my phone. I slept earlier.

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Today, I am not as tempted to log in to the social media sites nor hooked on to my phone as the week before.

Here’s what I realized…

While it was hard to disconnect myself from the more than ever connected world, I began to slowly realize and understand certain aspects of me that I’ve never paid attention to.

It was hard to turn off, but when we do, our senses open up more. I began to enjoy my meals without having to religiously take photos. I visited places without bothering with connection to check in or take selfies. I immerse myself in the experience and the company I am with. I didn’t even have to think of what to post, re-write my thoughts or edit my grammar, let alone thinking if someone has liked my photos or posts. I began to enjoy the scenery and watch in awe how the city has changed when I was busy looking down.

Clear the mindless clutters. There’s something about them that hooks us on. Be it watching videos after videos, or reading posts of others, it seems like a never-ending process. By the time we realize it, we’ve probably spent a few hours just doing the finger exercise and become too tired to do anything else. Plus, most of the stuffs we see, though entertaining, are not as important as we think. A week into the challenge, I don’t feel I’m missing out much at all.

More time for productive work. I was able to do more other than being on the apps all the time. I spent time re-organizing my tasks and schedules. I cleaned up my inbox. I wrote more articles. I completed more work in office and to-do lists at home. I am clearing myself of my mind clutter at the same time.

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Switching off is necessary to re-connect with ourselves. Being connect all the time keeps us engaged all the time, we would always be switched on mentally, one way or another as there would always be a constant reminder ringing in our heads to check these apps and read those notifications. I made time to cook my own meals, read books and chew with mindfulness during my meals. I’m sleeping earlier and reading less in the dark which is great for my eyes. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to stretch and look outside the window, smiling to be greeted by dawn.

In a matter of days, my lifestyle has changed just by removing one habit that I have unhealthily built up and incorporated into my lifestyle without me realizing it. Instead of feeling the constant need to check my phone or reaching out and automatically opening apps to check for repeating feeds, I started exploring other channels and find myself enjoying more useful and quality articles and sites that will help me grow.

Disconnecting has brought me closer to reality, I re-learned how to look up when walking, to spend time being connected with those I care and improved my sleep quality.

We are so connected virtually yet we’re disconnected from those we actually care about in reality.

While being great communication tools, we get engulfed in the emotional and psychological ties when we get captivated by them. At the end of the day, would the likes and loves we collect from our selfies, photos and photos have meant anything? Would we miss the pages we follow fervently if they’re gone one day?

I am on my second week of challenge and I find myself holding on less and less to online connections. I began to pay more attention to real connections (real conversations over meals, no risking my life on the phone when walking, making time to prioritize real work over notifications) and I am enjoying every moment of it.

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If you are up for the challenge, try it for a week and see what resistances you will feel (even now thinking about not being able to check your feeds and notifications), the effects during the challenge and what happens when you have been disconnected for a week.

What would you have missed?

Or would you be missed at all?

I’d think not, but even if you would be missed at all, the real connections would know where and how to reach you.

Featured photo credit: Pablo via pablo.buffer.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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