Create a life that feels good on the inside not one that just looks good on the outside. – Unknown
Step One: Unplug
Ever since I started my Online Marketing studies last fall, I’ve been hyper-plugged into the internet and spend hours and hours online every day. On top of working on a computer most of the day at the office, I go home, walk the dog, eat dinner and then turn on my laptop and TV around 7:30 or 8pm (with my iphone resting right beside me, beeping periodically with notifications). I try to turn both off at 11pm but, more often than not, it’s midnight by the time I shut everything down. I usually plan on being online for maybe an hour or so and then I get sucked into Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and, of course, our wonderful WordPress. Before I know it, it’s 11pm and I haven’t even started my homework, so I do an hour of work online and then finally off to bed, with my eyes burning and brain racing.
Since I’ve started this routine, I’ve noticed my sleep has become, well, let’s say not restful at best and often I wake up exhausted. So, what do I do then? I make a ridiculously strong pot of coffee that gives me a quick, jarring boost of energy (with some jittery anxiety added in) and, boom, I’m stuck in a vicious, energy-draining cycle.
And, maybe even worse than my tired, bleery-eyed mornings, I’m worried that with all of my social media activity, I might eventually become one of those people who put more effort into their online image than their real, honest to goodness, life. You know, the ones who post constantly, usually about the fabulous places they’re going and amazing things they’re doing with hourly selfies to chronicle their adventures. Do we really even enjoy those amazing experiences if we’re almost compulsively concentrating on facebooking and tweeting and instagramming our every move?
I know it’s been scientifically proven that we all get a big hit of feel-good dopamine with all of those social media “likes” on our posts but we also get that hit of dopamine by connecting with the flesh and blood people we’re hanging out with too. But that only happens if we actually stop checking our smartphones and give ourselves a chance to connect with them (I’m really guilty of this bad behaviour too).
Anywayyy, I’ve decided it’s high time to take a step back and tackle this internet dependency of mine.
How will I do it, you ask? Like this:
- One hour of laptop time in the evening. No matter how enticing Pinterest and Facebook are, one hour only. No excuses. I’ll remind myself that social media sites will continue to thrive without my constant input.
- Put my iPhone in a kitchen drawer. No social media/internet surfing allowed after 8pm. The phone will only be taken out of the drawer if someone calls and then put right back in again.
- For the moment, no TV. I binge watched three hours of the Kardashians last Sunday and then watched a new show about horrific plastic surgery mistakes and addicts (the people who just won’t quit no matter how big their lips/breasts/cheeks get) called Botched and, by the end of the evening, I think I felt my IQ drop a couple of points. No more reality TV for me. My goal is to keep the television unplugged for the summer and, in the fall, decide if I plug it back in or not.
And what will I fill all of my “unplugged” spare time with? Music, reading, daydreaming and much, much more, of this: