In continuation of yesterday’s post…
I’d like to share what I have been doing to unplug and slow down. And I do mean practice. This is work. Even after the initial discomforts, it is something that I’ve been needing to consciously put into place. Even schedule and plan. Maybe this is not needed for everyone. But for anyone like me who is sensitive to overstimulation yet finds themself easily lured into the distraction of to do lists, productivity and anything to make the time pass, it may need to be a bit more regimented than a more stereotyped vision of “self care.” One day it
may will feel more like a luxurious gift to yourself, but at the beginning, it could be a bit disguised.
1. Find ways to replace your phone/computer with real paper
I began using my new fancy phone’s calendar to keep track of my appointments etc, which only gave me one more reason to go to it. I have now ordered a beautiful little planner that I am so excited to be able to use instead. I am also writing my grocery list on a magnetized fridge paper pad and putting it in my purse instead of making a list on my phone. Try bringing around a teeny notebook that fits in your purse for jotting down those ideas or reminders.
2. Get a watch.
Its way classier.
3. Unsubscribe to emails and notifications.
Click that little shrunken “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of each one of those emails you once signed up for and now simply scroll through (or delete) but never actually read.
Take your phone off of all its notifications! Yes this means Instagram. I’m not saying get RID of the apps on your phone, but you could actually click on the BUTTON when you want to see the likes and comments or messages you’ve gotten. It’s way more exciting that way. Rather than seeing each one as it comes, go into the app half way through or at the end of the day and BAM – suddenly you have 50 new friends all at once! Same goes for Facebook notifications, snapchat, emails. Make it more intentional and actually click on the dang button. When it isn’t lighting up your phone every 5 minutes, you start to forget about it. Without even realizing it.
4. Tell yourself you do not have to respond right away!!
You can respond to that email later tonight. They aren’t expecting an immediate response anyways. Heck that’s kind of off-putting. And that person that texted you will only think, “oh she just must be busy doing something cool and REAL-LIFE-ISH.“ Your response will be just as warranted an hour or two from now. Practice telling yourself, “It can wait. It can wait!”
5. Don’t take it into the gym with you!
I know most people (everyone) use their phone at the gym for music, timers, to record their reps etc. But it can also be a time waster and a distraction. My gym sessions tend to be the time where I do most of my thinking – which is good – but when I have my phone with me I start to feel like I have to write down every thought that comes up. Then my workout turns into one big phone vomit where I leave the place with 5 new memos and a 10 screen to-do list. Not to mention I double the length of my workout and spend no where near the time allotted to actually working out than I should have. Thus taking away from my goals. Use your workout to let yourself think the thoughts, but trust that you will remember what is important and write it down/text that person when you are done. Either leave it in your locker, give it to the desk, or put it in a distant corner and tell yourself you will only check it between every 2 sets of exercises etc.Put the phone down! You do not need to respond right away! #putthephonedown #userealpaper #unplug Click To Tweet
6. See the urge
It’s taken me a long time to be able to do this in a way that benefits me. When you feel the urge to look at your phone etc., really take note of it. Sit there as long as you can just telling yourself, “Alright, so here I am with open time and look at me really wanting to go to my phone. How interesting.” Ask yourself, “Do I really have something to go to my phone/computer for? What will I do if I pick up my phone/open my laptop?” Then make your decision. Whatever you decide to do, you will have a new level of mindfulness behind it.
7. Literally schedule in those times to take yourself to a cafe with just your journal or novel, or to take a walk without your phone. Plan these times into your week like you would any other kind of appointment or errand. See it in your planner as a non negotiable and schedule other things around it. You don’t have to do it forever! Just choose a length of time, dedicate yourself to it, and know that when it is up you can go straight to your screen and get back to your social media.
8. Choose ONE thing to do/one article to read
If you feel like you have a number of things on your phone you want to do, or numerous tabs up on your computer you “need” to read, choose one. Do that one thing with full focus and intention, and tell yourself you can go to the next thing later on that day. Doing one thing with more intention will feel much more in control and less anxiety producing then skimming through tab after tab in a half minded fury.
9. Be mindful of when you are NOT doing it.
We aren’t perfect. We can have this goal to live a certain way, decrease our anxiety, be kinder to ourselves etc. etc…. and still have plenty of days where we give in to our old habits and find ourselves right in the place we told ourselves we would not be. I’ve had many days since this goal of mine where I found myself – yet again – spending an entire break on my phone, or entire evening on my laptop. Or where I have been extremely aware that I was making to do lists in my mind just to distract my thoughts from unwanted feelings. The difference is when you are able to say, “okay so THIS is exactly what I’m working to get away from. THIS is not what I was wanting to be doing.” Or even, “Ugh this is totally going to make my anxiety worse.” Keep doing it… accept that your goals just aren’t going to win that day… forgive yourself… and just see that this is the thing you are trying to get away from.Being mindful of when we are working against our goals is actually a step towards them. #goals #happiness #health #anxiety #unplug Click To Tweet
10. Use writing prompts
Sometimes the thought of taking out a journal and writing something introspective just feels like far too much energy required. Hence why coming home and opening up a laptop to mindlessly scroll through tabs and Facebook feeds usually wins over. I’ve been coming home in the evening and opening my laptop out of habit, but then finding myself sitting there thinking, “I don’t even have anything on here I wanted to do. Why am I on here!?” Having a book of writing prompts near by gives me an immediate outlet and eliminates any extra brain effort to get started. There’s many journal type books out there full of writing or drawing prompts… I’ve been using this cool magazine I got months ago and just bought one for list prompts! I think they are a wise purchase for all of us.
I know this two-parter was really long, but its something I feel very passionate about right now, and something that I see is really vital to my health and happiness. I’ve learned that I try to find ways to run away from my thoughts because I am scared that if I am not always “doing doing doing,” my depression will come back and I will feel sad.
Sometimes, yes, the open time brings in a lot of sadness. That is something deeper that I am back to working with my therapist to try and figure out. But as soon as I started literally practicing these changes, I began to feel better. Since making this my work, my anxiety has significantly decreased. It’s sometimes still uncomfortable and I most definitely still feel that pull to go to my phone or laptop in open time to run away from the thoughts in my head, but I’m working as often as I can to put these things down and learn to not be scared of what comes up. My thoughts can’t hurt me unless I let them.
Ten ways to help you unplug and slow down. #anxiety #unplug #slowdown #mentalhealth #happiness Click To Tweet
Do you usually have a number of tabs up on your computer?
Do you feel like you need to respond to texts or emails immediately?
How do you unplug? How does it feel?