Day 16: Unplug

Years ago I worked with a lovely woman, who used to change the message on her answering machine every Friday and advise her callers that she was away at the cottage. One day, I asked her where her cottage was located as she lived in a different province from mine. “Oh, I don’t have one,” she said cheerfully. “I just put that message on so people will leave me alone.”

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash Image shows a white house with an upper deck surrounded by trees.

Now I don’t have a cottage either, but I do try to unplug, to take a social media sabbatical, if you like. Early in the pandemic there was lots of chatter about doomscrolling. Wired Magazine did an interesting piece on how doomscrolling won’t stop the apocalypse from happening, but it will affect how prepared you are mentally to deal with it.

So here’s a few ways you can unplug from the radical to the simple.

  1. Delete your accounts.
  2. Snooze your accounts.
  3. Keep your accounts but delete them from your device.
  4. Mute, unfollow or remove people from your social media feeds.
  5. Let people know you are taking a break. You can put an away message on your email, or answer phone. You can remove text notifications and other alerts that beep, tinkle, or sing.
  6. If you need to maintain contact, set aside a specific time of day and a specific amount of time for the check-ins.
  7. Charge your phone somewhere out of reach, or even better, out of your bedroom.

Worried about what to do without your phone? Try a new activity (or one you haven’t been able to do as much of because of the doomscrolling). Try taking a walk, reading a book or magazine with paper, or picking up the phone and calling someone (instead of zooming). If you are handy, make something. If you are not, make a list of StupidProjects, as my friend terms them, and tackle those.

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