Everyone Should Try Unplugging

When you’re a full-time college student/new adult trying to figure out how the professional world works, you might find yourself on your phone constantly. I know I do. Whether I’m replying to emails all day long or opening and closing Instagram every few minutes out of boredom, I’m always plugged into some sort of media.  

It’s been proven that getting a notification on your phone gives you endorphins.  Let’s face it, we are addicted to notifications. Don’t get me wrong, being excited that someone wants to message you is totally normal and a good thing.  Texting and chatting through social media is awesome and convenient, but--and don’t let me sound like your Dad by saying this--whatever happened to good ‘ole fashioned, face-to-face conversation?

This isn’t me shaming everyone who only talks through text.  I’m totally guilty of being too reliant on my phone. I’m also guilty of acting totally different online than I do in real life.  I’m writing this to remind myself that unplugging for a week is doable--I know because I’ve done it.

About a month ago I went without my phone or any other technology for a week while I was on a Service Immersion through DePaul.  While the task at hand intimidated and quite frankly scared the sh*t out of me, unplugging was one of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip.  I thought it would be extremely difficult and that some terrible disaster would occur while I was absent, but it turns out that wasn’t the case.

I missed absolutely nothing.

In fact, it only took me about a day to get over my uncomfortableness.  I kept reaching for it in my back pocket even though it wasn’t there, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, and I had to sit in awkward silences.  Luckily, my experience was unique in that everyone in the group was without a phone, so it was an uncomfortableness that we had to go through together.  It quickly became a thing of the past.   My week without a phone was absolute bliss.  I felt happier not comparing myself to others on social media, I felt less stress without the constant reminders of tasks I had to complete for work, and most importantly: I learned how to have a genuine conversation.  That was something I didn’t know I forgot how to do. Something I realized is that with social media, it is so easy to change yourself to impress others. And those tendencies carry with you into the real world.

Now that I’m back into the real world, I’ll admit, I’ve gotten sucked back into my phone.  It’s hard to put it down when people are reliant on you and, you still haven’t kicked those bad habits of endlessly scrolling through social media.  But, I’m actively trying to reduce my negative phone usage. I always have Do Not Disturb on. I started reading again. I may still use social media the same amount, but I’m practicing authenticity in what I post because... living a double-life is hard (did we learn nothing from Hannah Montana?).

I encourage everyone to try unplugging at least once--whether it’s for a day, a week or a month!  No matter how much you love your phone, you’ll be amazed at how freeing it feels and you’ll never want to answer an email again.