I recently conducted a social media experiment by “unplugging” while I was on vacation at sea to Alaska.
On the trip, I saw humpback whales, icebergs, dolphins, sea lions, mountains and more ocean than I could imagine. On this trip, I also took the chance to not check personal nor work emails, voice mails, the current news, Facebook, Twitter, Four Square, etc. I didn’t even call home to check in, which was really hard to do. But I did it to relax my mind from everything.
Once I was “off”, I felt a calmness that only a clear mind could give. I caught myself having meaningful conversations with my spouse, reading, writing my thoughts down, looking outside, and thinking again. I felt inspired to want to be creative again, and it was really exciting to think that the sky was the limit with what my mind wanted to reveal itself, even if it was just for a short time. I truly felt free from the constant interruptions of work and the daily juggles of life. It reminded me of when I was a girl, completely off the grid without having to depend on checking my “crack” berry at 9 p.m.
I was even drawing and writing again in my journal, which I had not done in a very long time. It was an extremely calming and relaxing experience.
The funny thing is, once I hit dry land, I felt the itch to just check and see what was going on in the world. It started off with an innocent Foursquare check-in, while I was en route to the airport. Not long after that, I was checking emails, voice mails, texts and FB.
It’s unbelievable because at first when you think you have enjoyed being “unplugged” the old habits kick in and you can’t help to want to know what the “plugged in” world has been up to. When I turned everything back on, I was right back on the speed track of download and upload with little interruption.
Even though the experience with being “unplugged” was short lived, I still feel that I took advantage of the moment by experiencing life as calm as I could make it. There were moments when I just slept for hours, looked outside to see the ocean and breathed in without the self-made stress of the world.
These days of instant messaging, it’s almost impossible to take advantage of our “free” time to get away from all of the noise of advanced technology, but I highly recommend it.
Even if you are able to experiment for a weekend, at your home, just try it to see what you will discover.
Even your phone or laptop has to be turned off every now and then to recharge. The same goes with yourself, you eventually have to unplug and re-energize your own personal batteries.
Being unplugged is just as important as being plugged in, because you owe it to yourself to take time to pause, recharge your batteries and stop to breathe and look at your surroundings. Even though you may not be on a beautiful vacation, there could be a place where you can watch a sunset without checking emails or tweeting about it, or just spend quality time with family without the TV blasting in the background. You owe it to yourself to take a recharge moment to have a clear mind.
Our time to unplug is our own. Is it too much to see if you could give it a try, at least once a year, if not more often that that?
Laura, what an inspiring post. I want to fully unplug during my vacation too. It almost feels impossible (or like some decadent treat that is just out of reach for me). But I want to. I’m going to try to do it.
So glad you enjoyed your vacation!