National Unplugging Day 2013: 5 Mental Health Considerations

nationalunpluggingday

From sunset on March 1 through sunset on March 2 we celebrate a National Day of Unplugging 2013. It’s a time to disconnect from our electronics: laptops, phones, and videogames should be stowed away. Our country has developed a dependency to these devices, so no one expects that it will be easy to take a break. And while one day sounds like it will be manageable, many people will be tested. They will have an opportunity to see just how reliant they are to plugging in. Here are 5 mental health considerations, hopefully nonjudgmentally, while being unplugged:

  • How does being unplugged affect the way you engage to yourself? At what moments do you turn to use your device? What’s happening emotionally at these times? Are you relying on electronics to dull your internal experiences? Studies show that being in front of a lighted screen is impacting us, that we as humans are experiencing more depression and anxiety. Are you flooded with these uncomfortable states of mind being unplugged?
  • How hard is it to keep the devices off? Monitoring how difficult to stay away is important. Social media and electronic usage is addictive. Wanting anything too much is a bad thing and affects your quality of life. If the day feels extraordinarily hard to get through or if you can’t at all, you might have a bigger problem.
  • What do you do instead? Are you surprised at what feels appealing to you now that you are unplugged? It’s easy to lose track of ourselves, what we like, what we need, and what we are good at in this life that moves so fast. Unplugging could be a chance to feel your roots, to reconnect to an activity that somehow got lost. An opportunity to bring back something you enjoy into your regular routine.
  • And if a parent – How does being unplugged affect the way you parent? Are you more engaged? More tired? How much do you actually rely on electronics to get you through the day? Unplugged day is a chance to role model a way of life that is very difficult for most of us. Try your best to highlight it for your children, make it a celebration, and have a small party. Show them the importance of taking an electronic pause.
  • Don’t judge yourself. None of the above is helpful if it comes with heavy judgments on you. If this is the case try to take a deep breath and a step back. Remember that all people have difficulties; that we all struggle at some time. Make the goal to simply understand how electronics are impacting you and make changes that make sense.