There are lots of ways to be online these days.
There’s social media, online shopping, email communication, hours of Googling, school, and Zoom calls, just to name a few.
Up until a year ago, all of this was starting to become a mental health problem. People were beginning to feel the negative impact of being online. Now that we’re living in a pandemic that has taken us out of the real world and into our homes, online life feels like all we have to stay connected.
However, there are real benefits to going offline, even during this time of disconnection from others. There’s no doubt that it’s trickier now than it used to be, but there are plenty of reasons why going offline helps you recharge.
Let’s face it, there’s no time like the present to find ways to recharge.
If you thought online burnout was real before March of 2020, you were in for a big surprise when suddenly every single thing you do is online. Work. Weddings. Baby showers. Game nights. Happy hours. The list is endless.
But how else are you supposed to connect with friends and family these days? The time we spend online has increased tremendously, and we’re left with higher stress levels and less face-to-face, real-life time with friends, family, and coworkers.
How To Find Time To Go Offline
There are plenty of reasons why going offline helps you recharge. We’re all feeling the negative impact of being online these days. Between social media and Zoom calls alone we’re full up. If you work from home, you’re probably spending more time online than ever before.
It’s important to take the time to disconnect for your mental health. We suggest getting outside if the weather is nice and taking a 20-minute walk. You can also:
- Take short breaks throughout the day to walk away from your computer.
- Put the phone down.
- Monitor your screen time.
- Set a timer for online and phone usage.
- Put your phone on “do not disturb.”
- Turn off notifications.
- Put your phone in a different room.
It can be hard, though, to find the time to get away from the screens. Schedule breaks throughout your day from your devices. Pick up a book. Cuddle with your pets. Run around the block. Take an exercise class.
If you need to, make a schedule for the day that includes these types of breaks.
We know it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, let alone take breaks. Your mental health will suffer as you feel the negative impact of being online. Going offline is an important thing for you to do for your mental health.
Why Going Offline Helps You Recharge
How many times have you said you’re going to take a break from social media, deleted the apps from your phone, and then immediately put them back on? Probably a lot more often than you’d like to admit. We all do it.
Setting reasonable expectations about going offline is important. Reading a newspaper article might not be that much different than reading the news on Twitter. Find other avenues to get your news and information fix. Or completely disconnect for a while. That’s okay too!
The thing about social media and the online world is that there’s a community online. But there’s also a community offline, and that’s what we want to help you find.
Yes, this pandemic has made it more difficult to be with your offline community, but it’s still possible, especially as the weather gets nicer.
5 Ways to Connect Offline
Socially distance yourself from others at a park or outdoor space. Have outdoor barbeques that are socially distant. Go on hikes or walks with friends. Take advantage of the outdoor restaurant and bar seating experience.
Be responsible, but get out there and find your offline community.
There are also some common signs that you need a break from the online world. Here are a few:
- You’re having fewer face-to-face conversations with your friends and family
- You’re feeling disconnected from those closest to you
- It’s preventing you from getting other things done in the offline world
- You’re finding it overwhelming
Healthy Ways Of Going Offline
We know not everyone can go offline. Frankly, not everyone wants to or feels like they can. Our culture right now makes people who need to be online for various reasons feel guilty. There are extremes, of course, to being offline and online.
But a lot of people going offline are finding inner peace. One way to do this is through mindfulness. You can maintain healthy boundaries and relationships while still using social media and connecting with your online community by using mindfulness.
How to Keep Healthy Boundaries Online
Here are some helpful ways to keep healthy boundaries and relationships while using social media and other online resources:
- Practice being more self-aware. Focus on how you feel when you’re using social media
- Ask yourself questions about how you feel when you’re scrolling through social media
- Notice and acknowledge negative emotions without judgment
- Reflect on how you respond to certain social media posts. Do you feel bad about yourself? Are you posting cute selfies to make yourself feel better?
- Use technology-tracking and mood-tracking apps
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a place to start putting your mental health first by limiting your time online. It’ll help lessen the negative impact of being online.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to go offline. Go exercise or spend time with your family. We know it’s not as easy as that because the above statement doesn’t take the pandemic into account.
There are still ways to enjoy life offline during the pandemic. Limit yourself to online time. Only be online when you HAVE to, like for work or school. Then walk away and do something “in real life.”
How Social Media Affects Your Mental Health
Going offline helps you recharge, but it also benefits your mental health. It can help with depression and anxiety because you’re getting away from the screen and into a world where exercise and hobbies and people exist.
Social media especially is linked to low-esteem, depression, and anxiety. You’re constantly looking at the picture-perfect Instagram-filtered life that and it can change the way you see yourself and what you think you should be doing. It’s also connected to eating disorders because people think they should look a certain way based on what they see on social media.
Going Offline Even In Times of Social Distancing
The best way to combat the negative impact of being online is to get outside, pick up a hobby, and socialize.
Of course, during the pandemic, when socializing face to face isn’t as much of an option as it used to be, we need to find ways to help with depression by connecting with friends and family in whatever way we can. If that means a weekly Zoom call with your family and a Google hangout happy hour with your friends, so be it. But you don’t need to be in front of the screen all day every day.
If you want to discuss therapy for the negative impact of being online during the pandemic, we are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation today.