Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your surroundings? Things are going fast? Feeling a tad green with envy due to a post some so called local celebrity posts? Scrolling down the screen and wishing you were here or there, just about anywhere but here? I bet you the answer is a yes to all the above. We live in a fast paced world, we’re trying to catch up with everything and everyone, but that’s just inhuman, we can’t be at two places at once, we can’t make everyone happy, we can’t be there when we should be here. We have evolved since the days of the caveman, no more slacking and playing it cool for the lack of priorities. And why do we think that cavemen slacked around anyway? They had to hunt for food, we hunt virtually, they had to find shelter, we have shelter but aren’t satisfied so we move things around, they had to provide for their families, so do we and more. The only difference between now and then is technology. This big bad word that you see here is both a blessing and a curse in disguise.
Admit it, you hate the fact that it is true! Technology has made things so much easier now, keeping up with the world; no more watching the news on TV, you can simply find it on an app, you don’t need a radio to listen to something entertaining (except maybe for amazing rap songs every Saturday evening with Big H), you can download a podcast or listen online. We all feel nostalgic about the days of Saudia 1 and 2, we miss turning that darn dial in time to watch Pink Panther, bottled pepsi anyone? It’s a lot to handle in such a short time, the amount of electronics that surrounds us nowadays can put you off your game for sure. So why not disconnect? I’m serious, why don’t you?
The late Steve Jobs, father of Apple, once said “We’re born, we live for a brief instant and then we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology isn’t changing it much — if at all.” So do we make it seem like technology is? We’re making it seem like we and our phones are conjoined twins, our laptops are our safe havens, TVs are our escape from reality, but they are not! We don’t need statistics to remind us that we are attached to our phones to a level where scientists are now naming diseases caused by using electronic devices. Don’t believe me? Read “cell phone checking” a study conducted by the University of Michigan, just to be sure. Technology addiction is a major stressor and we are disconnecting from our human selves, it’s time to get back. Think of it as a challenge, and don’t be naive, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Start small, I’m not suggesting to throw out your phone and electronic devices all together now, what I’m suggesting is to shut them off and place them in a drawer somewhere in the house while you literally can sit and not hear a buzz of the phone or ping of an e-mail. Start with an hour a day, then go ahead and increase to let’s say 3, it’s not the end of the world yet, then go on to 5 or 6. This doesn’t include the time when you sleep, no cheating, I see your phone’s light illuminating under those sheets. If you’re a career woman or man, create some boundaries and request your colleagues to not contact you outside office hours unless it’s an emergency, and you need to define what this emergency is. No Ms. New Assistant you may not contact your boss because you don’t know how to create a spreadsheet, use the Internet and learn it yourself.
Many of us use our devices as a means of escape from the outside world but you’re in a bubble looking in. That’s not how it’s supposed to work though, you shouldn’t be disconnecting from people, it’s the other way around. We’re not all equal, so we’re not all forthcoming and straight forward, some of us are shy and awkward. This will not help the latter, instead they’ll feel more out of place and awkward because they can’t create two sentences on their own. Try reading the newspaper, yes the paper, in a cafe and smile to your neighbor, maybe share coffee tips and that can start up a conversation. How about putting your phone on silent, place it in a special basket and enjoy a meal with the family while starting a conversation, throw in a joke or two, they’re still your people and will laugh at your silly jokes.
The reason why it’s important to disconnect is not only to relieve your eyes from the light emanating from your devices, it has more effective results. Ever get tension headaches? These can be relieved with less exposure to electronic devices. Dry eyes? Yes, your eye blinking rate slows down when you’re close to screens. Neck strains? Yes, please speak to the person in front of you instead of texting, or give them a call. These are just small tips.
You don’t need to abandon humanity and live in the woods or desert or on a deserted island (although that does sound intriguing but still no need). All you need to do is to disconnect, shut off your wifi, log out of social media sites, no need for excessive texting, just pick up the phone (if you have one) and talk and take Fridays off, reconnect with your family and play with your kids, do you still remember crayons?
Are you breathing easier now? Try it, the world is still spinning and there’s more to explore.