The internet is transforming what we know as "boundaries", into something non-existent.
Is that a work message at at this late hour? Do I need to reply my IG DMs now? It's not that I don't want to video call you, but I've just spent hours on a call with my managers.
On some days, I felt like there were no boundaries for my own time. It was frustrating and I had to establish that boundary for myself because I simply could not focus on anything.
I am drawing a hard, virtual line between my space and the internet realm.
WHY DO I WANT TO SWITCH OFF?
Aren't we supposed to stay connected?
Ever since we've been in quarantine, people are becoming more active on social media and finding ways to stay connected. It's a good thing! We've got live music sessions, dance classes, open forums, music streams. I'm thankful for the internet because it's bringing me closer to a LOT of people who aren't with me. Plus, entertainment and information are at our fingertips. If you have a roof over you and good wifi, you're quarantine royalty bb.
With more activity on social media, it starts to become a congested and loud place (for me at least). I'm finding that I need to lessen my time on it. People, brands, companies, services, all sorts of ads and online sessions are taking place and I'm taking in a lot more information than I normally would see pre-quarantine time. Almost everyone is making a presence online and fighting for a digital minute of your attention. So yeah! It's a liiiiiittle overwhelming for me.
Also, I have a job that is heavily digital-social related on top of having to communicate with my colleagues so I am online a lot of the day. It gets pretty hectic that afterwards that I don't feel like doing anything social online at all. More reason for me to practice switching off. Now how do I do that?
old habits die young. at 21 days.
My best friend told me that it takes 21 days to get into a new habit. Just recently, my housemate brought it up and it just occurred to me: Maybe that's why I feel like I'm... getting used to this? This new, indoor lifestyle? It's been a little over 21 days... anyways!
'Switching off' for me is developing little habits that would help me go through a mild digital cleanse. Here are some of the things that I try to practise :)
1. rise and minimal MORNING screen-time!
I say minimal because I do need to check a few messages when I wake up first thing, but I keep it to a minimum and I try not to engage in any conversation until half an hour later. Even better if I can let it wait until after breakfast. (+100 points, wew)
Minimal screen-time when I wake up helps me because I'm giving time to myself to feel the day ahead. Recognize my thoughts, my mood, what I want to focus on later. Distraction-free.
2. LET'S TAKE THIS OFFLINE
When I want to absolutely switch off, I just do whatever I enjoy to recenter myself. While I'm doing this, I make sure that it's not the time to respond to messages. If I'm cooking and I need to kill some time, I'd watch a video (which is online tbf, but I'm not responding to messages at least!). This helps recalibrate my sense of reality tbh and ground me back to the things I love. It's all connected for me, I promise lol.
Taking it offline helps me connect myself to the finer things in life and go back to my bubble. The point is to do something that takes you away from your phone.
3. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
A part of the reason for me to switch off is that I was tired of the information I'm consuming. Lucky for us, we have more control of this than we thought. Mute accounts if you must, unfollow if you need, just look away if you're not a fan and switch it off if you've had enough.
To switch on and off without FOMO or guilt, I like to moderate the accounts I follow. You are the information you consume because this is what can shape your perception and expectation of yourself. I'm currently following a lot of accounts that are under self-help, agency humour, dance, cooking tips, infobites.
4. It's 10, IM OUT
After 10PM, do not touch or respond to anything that's strenuous on your emotions or work-related (unless it's super urgent and high priority). With quarantine, the end point for work was lost but I'm beginning to sensibly restore my boundaries. For the emotional things on the other hand, I've been practising this for a while already and I think it helps.
Stop! You have the right to remain silent and ignore everyone and anyone past 10PM who's looking to fight or put you on the spot! Except for 3 important people of your choice!~
So these are some things that I do to help myself switch off. I'm really liking how I feel about it. Though I gotta admit, I have had a few days where I just completely abandoned the practice. orz
Hope this sparked a little food for thought for yourself. The internet is not to blame lol I think it's just the way we consume and use our time on social media/the internet. Developing a habit can take around 21 days so I hope at one point I can confidently admit that I don't even need to think about minimal morning screen-time.
It's awesome that everything and everyone is online so that businesses can survive and people can continue to reach out, share, create, learn together. If it does get overwhelming at some point, just take a step back and switch off.
Thank you for making it this far with me! 'Til then. eliorkid ♡