Find a Day to Disconnect



I am a bit late with proclaiming my New Year’s resolution, but not with trying to enact it: Find a Day to Disconnect.

It took me a while longer this year, than normal, to agree to taking down the Christmas tree and put away the remaining decorations. I particularly loved our tree this year and we were involved in a Christmas project, which truly symbolized everything the Christmas spirit should be, so yes I wanted to prolong the joy a bit longer, but it was more than that, I was not quite ready to let go of the holiday season and swing into my Connected world with the vengeance it demands.  You may well be able to relate to this feeling, regardless of how you feel about Christmas.

But as February arrives, filled with endless demands both professionally and personally, I would like to suggest that we all find a way to disconnect, even if it is just for a day.

The advantages of being Connected hardly need touting; we all live in a world dominated by technology, where cell phones, the Internet, social media . . ., not only help us to stay Connected with friends and family who are miles away, but allow us to telecommute, to research infinite subjects without ever leaving our home, to shop, pay our bills, and manage our lives, regardless of where we are, all advantages that are well worth the cost of our Connected lives.

I am not advocating that we disconnect permanently, we could not even if we wanted to; but I am suggesting that as our lives ramp up again, that we find a way to limit the impact of the wonders and the stress of our endlessly Connected lives bring.

Obviously, it is wonderful that we can receive phone calls almost anywhere we are, but there is also an element of stress involved in having to worry that you may miss a call in the grocery store, because of a bad connection, especially if it is a call you are waiting for from someone you want to speak with; however, sometimes it is better to miss a call. If it is important, they will leave a message, and you can always call them back; but if it is just a call to talk about your insurance or to remind you that you have a doctor’s appointment, it can wait.

I am entirely guilty of reading and answering business email after my work day has officially ended, and on weekends; why not you say, you have an extra ten or fifteen minutes why you are waiting for the dryer to stop or the first coast of paint to dry or the grill to heat up, but I find it is not so much those fifteen minutes spent addressing the email, which impact my day, but the content of the correspondence, which wiggles its way into my weekend, never truly allowing me to step away from the job.

But I am not just suggesting that we disconnect from our interactive digital world; I think it equally important to turn off entertainment, social media, and even the news! We really do not need to know what is happening in the world at large or our own smaller world, all of the time or in real time.  I know it may seem a bit sacrilegious, coming from me, but you may be surprised at the benefits of tuning out, at least for a day or even a few hours a week.

If the thought of disconnecting scares you, you need to step away even more than I do! Start small, tell yourself one day a week, you will put your phone in the top drawer and will turn off your computer and IPad after dinner until bedtime, then go ahead and give it a fast browse before heading off to sleep, as you form this new habit.  I promise you will soon find that you have not missed out on any ground breaking news, and instead actually enjoyed that walk around the block with your dog.  From there you can build up, to say one whole day, hopefully a week, but if not shoot for one day a month, where you will soon find yourself looking forward to not checking social media or watching some television show.

Our lives are too busy and too hectic and too stressful; we have traded waiting in line or waiting for the mailman or waiting for the six o’clock news for a world of immediate gratification, which can indeed be gratifying; however, while we have lost the wait time, we have also lost the casual conversations with the person in front of us, and lost the joy of anticipating a letter or a package, and the pleasure of sitting down to be informed.

Now, I am not saying that I have achieved a day of being disconnected, but I am trying, for the moments when I have managed to step away from my Connected life, I find myself reading an old fashioned book or talking to my neighbor and feeling happier, more relaxed, and oddly more Connected to life!

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