During this time of year, many of us are facing the reality of spending extra time at home due to multiple reasons such as having/taking time off of work, the kids being out of school, getting company, catching an illness, etc. When this happens, how do you spend your time or what is your go-to activity? Bing watching Netflix? Streaming YouTube? Playing video games? Playing on your phone? Calling/texting/chatting with anyone you can find? Surfing Amazon or eBay? While those can be great distractions and time killers, what happens if you (and everyone in your house) turn everything off and unplug?
It’s a dreaded request for sure, but what does that exactly look like? Simply put, to unplug means no electronics of any kind such as phones, computers, or games are allowed anywhere but in a designated area such as a charging station. Before you scream and throw your hands in the air defeated, let’s do a quick check in. Ask yourself these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What do I like to do?
- What motivates me?
- What is my hobby?
- What makes me happy?
- What do I want to learn?
See if you can make a list of at least 3 legitimate things for each category. It may be difficult for those who are used to being attached to their devices for most of the day, as they tend to have a hard time answering these questions.
If you need to, call a family meeting and work together, just make sure to have all electronics out of sight and mind so that there is no temptation. If just reading this throws you into the midst of an anxiety attack (which is a real reaction), perhaps you should ask yourself why do you need your electronics? How does it make you feel? What did you do before they were around? How long can you realistically go without them? What will actually happen to you physically and mentally if you unplug for a few hours? Will you survive? If your mind jumps to the negative or impossible, lay/sit down on the floor and take a few moments to breath in ……… and breath out……… equal breath lengths for both inhale and exhale, repeat 3x and relax. Now, re-think the questions calmly. Can you answer them?
Surprisingly, this is a common reaction and many people don’t realize how reliant they are on their electronics until there is a threat of not having them for a significant period of time. Perhaps the best thing to do is start with a small unplug time, how about 30 min? Then gradually add 30 min at a time on until you are up to 2 – 3 hours. During that time, you can go back to your answers to the above questions and choose things to do. There are no correct answers for everyone, but perhaps you would like to learn how to make pasta, knit a hat, play a round of family board games, decorate your house, clean out your closet, bake, organize the garage, build a birdhouse, take a long bath, take a walk, take a hike, bird watch, go to the mall and people watch, visit a museum, read your Bible or a new book, color, paint, draw….the possibilities are endless and you do not have to do them alone, let family and friends join you and hold each other accountable. Do it slowly and do it intentionally, joining your mind, body and soul. Enjoy it.
It’s time to unplug, and really truly appreciate some quality time with yourself and others. This is a perfect time to model self-control and show yourself, your spouse, your friends, your family, how much you appreciate each person for who they truly are. This is also a perfect time to re-invest in you, what you love and what makes you happy.
Selena is currently completing her Masters of Science Degree in Counseling from Crown College. She obtained her Bachelors of Science degree from Crown as well, with a double major in Educational Studies and Christian Studies, and a minor in Psychology. Selena’s professional experience has included a wide array of educational and personal growth mentoring with children and adults of all ages, and in a variety of settings and levels.