Raise your hand if you have ever personally been victimized by the doom scroll. You know the feeling… overwhelmed by the 24/7 news cycle that jumps from crisis to crisis along with being inundated with everyone’s “expert” opinions? Or what about the urgency culture that technology has created, i.e. the expectation that everything needs a response right away? Even if it’s not that deep for you, the endless scrolling due to boredom or procrastination is real, and we can't deny the negative impact it has on our psyche.
Most of us crave a way back into simpler times, and us dinosaurs actually remember when technology didn’t rule our lives. So how can you unplug from the scroll, while still staying connected and engaged with others and your business?
We all know that it’s healthy to take social media, internet, and technology breaks, but the secret to doing it the right way is to figure out what you can plug into instead.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott
The Effects Of Staying Plugged In
Constantly being plugged in affects your mindset
The internet can inspire you, help you make connections, and allow you to document your life to look back on someday. But it can also re-wire your break, mess with your mindset and make you forget what real life actually looks and feels like.
It can easily become a false sense of reality. Instead of being intentional about what we share, we become a slave of the ever changing algorithm. Instead of using social media to form genuine connections, we use to showcase either a false reality, or feel despondent if our business, relationships, or life doesn’t measure up to someone else’s highlight reel.
Social media is not real life, but being constantly plugged in makes it seem that way in our mind.
Plugging in keeps you charged
Technology, and social media in particular, is designed to keep us on the app as long as possible. It is specifically created to make us feel “charged”: charged when we get likes from others, when we’re in on the latest drama, when we learn new information, etc.
But is this the kind of charge we really need?
Being online all the time puts us at risk of living our entire lives through screens. You might think you’re close to other people because you follow their daily lives, interact with them, buy their products, but the truth is that you don’t really know them. Similarly to how social media gives us a false sense of reality, it gives us a false sense of connection. We substitute that emotional charge we receive for actual person-person relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is a powerful tool and every day we help our clients effectively market their business on social platforms. However, the goal of marketing your business is to get people off their app and into a meeting with you.
This means, that it starts with you!
How To Unplug When You Need A Break
Awareness is the first step to change. If you can find healthy boundaries and set intentions with the time you spend online, you can make sure you don’t lose a sense of yourself. Here are my favorite tips and examples of ways to unplug
1. Address your mindset
Wanting to unplug can make you feel like an outsider. When your friends are always on social media and don’t seem to notice their addiction to it, you might feel weird for wanting to go offline.
You might also start to create stories in your mind because you’re not as active on social media as others are. For example, I’m usually the last to respond in a group chat because I don’t have notifications on my phone.
Sometimes I worry my friends are going to think I don’t want to talk to them. This is a story I created in my mind. Can you imagine if my friends of ten years stopped talking to me because I was late to respond in the group chat? If they did, they weren’t my friends to begin with.
Some things to think about:
What are you afraid of missing out on if you unplug?
Do you fear that people will forget about you?
Do you worry you’ll offend other people because you didn’t react to the meme you sent them?
Will people not want to work with you because you didn’t respond to their DM?
Notice when these fears creep up. Question whether it’s part of a story you’re creating in your mind. When you realize these fears aren’t warranted, you can begin to let go of them.
2. Set boundaries & intentions
Most of us can’t unplug from the world completely (and we don’t really want to). In that sense, it’s better to focus on being intentional with how you use technology, rather than trying to remove it from your life.
Here are some things to think about:
What do you use different apps for? Is Facebook for connecting with family? YouTube for entertainment? Pinterest for inspiration?
What do you WANT to use different apps for? If you can create separation between platforms, you can better avoid endless scrolling when you’re bored or frustrated. For example, if you’re in need of a mood-booster, you’ll know to go to TikTok instead of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook.
Curate your following list.
The people you follow and listen to WILL have an impact on your mindset. The best way to be intentional with this is to curate your following list.
Here’s an exercise: Make a list right now of people you enjoy following. Do this from memory, without actually going on social media. You’re going to forget people and that’s okay. The ones that you remember are the ones to keep on your feed. Mute everyone else who’s not on that list.
Stop seeking out your triggers.
As humans, we love drama. Sometimes we seek out drama to feel better about ourselves, and other times it’s to feel intense emotions (good or bad). It’s not a judgement statement, it’s natural.
Address your triggers. In order to have a healthier relationship with social media, it’s important to be aware of your triggers and stop yourself before you seek them out.
For example, I tend to gravitate towards the comment section, especially when I know they’re going to be wildly dramatic. Because of this (and because I am aware of how drastically it affects my headspace in a negative way) I hide or resist the urge to read the comments, and focus on the content of the post/video that I want to consume.
Also, stop visiting the profiles of people who don’t like. Everyone has someone they “hate follow” but not only is it not productive, it’s draining too. And yes, that includes your ex, that mean girl from high school, and public figures you disagree with.
3. Create an unplugging system
The tricky thing about technology is that it’s created to be convenient and distracting. In order to unplug, you have to make it inconvenient to access apps and platforms.
Here are some ideas help you unplug:
Delete social media apps on the weekend
Go offline one day a week
Have someone else change your social media passwords until Friday (James Clear recommends this in his book Atomic Habits)
Move social media apps to the last page on your phone screen
Log out of all social media on your computer
Put your phone in another room while you’re watching TV
Turn off notifications for social media apps (I personally do this)
Of course, one of the hardest things about unplugging is setting expectations with other people. Let them know your boundaries. People may think it’s odd, but you might inspire them with your actions if they see it’s working for you.
Tell people that your phone is on ‘do not disturb’ mode, but they can call you if it’s a level 8 emergency. Tell them you’re taking Sundays to be offline and you won’t be checking emails. If you own a business and clients tend to DM you, set the expectation for them to email you instead of messaging you.
Setting these expectations will help everyone involved avoid miscommunication and unnecessary panic.
Plug into what matters.
If we’re going to unplug, it’s important to plug into something that matters. When you unplug, you’re giving yourself permission to focus on the things you actually want to focus on.
Think about what you could do with the time you gain from not spending so much time online. You might choose to plug into your relationships, hobbies, health, self-care, etc.
“Unplugging is an act of separating ourselves from what doesn’t align with our values and our heart-centered desires.” - Caroline Makepeace
My question to you: What do you want to plug into?
I hope this post has encouraged you to make unplugging part of your regular life. The way you use technology is ultimately going to determine your relationship with it. Most importantly, think about what you want to plug into so technology has less of a hold on your life and mindset.
Are you ready to build your business and create your legacy?
We believe every woman can build a legacy when she operates in her own unique zone of genius with passion, creativity, and determination. At Legacy Creative, we help female entrepreneurs scale their dream business by giving them a back-pocket business coach and team to support their business, giving back the time and freedom they deserve to realize their dreams and push their businesses forward. Click here to apply to work with with us today!