“To become a writer, I had to learn to interrupt, to speak up, to speak a little louder, and then louder, and then to just speak in my own voice which is not loud at all.”
I have been meaning to write and publish on this blog for quite some time now. Many ideas constantly clutter my headspace. Loud, obnoxious, and furious ideas begging to be released into the world. Would the world care?
I tend to wait for the perfect moment to write. I tell myself that tomorrow is a better day for writing, with a fresh start. I promise myself that I will wake up at 6:00AM and write for two hours before I head to work.
Tomorrow never comes the way I intended it to. Tomorrow is the perfect moment only in my head.
According to a study by the World Economic Forum, digital media users often spend more hours online than they sleep, yet only half believe it improves their quality of life. Not only is increased in screen time found to not improve our quality of life significantly, but it is also found to be tightly correlated with stress, vulnerability to addictive behaviors, and a decline in physical activity.
You can read more statistics on digital use and mental wellness from the Happiness Hack book (highly recommended).
These stats, however, are no longer shocking. It is evident our addiction to our screens and technology is costing us our physiological and psychological health. As a response to the invasive and costly nature of digital addiction, various movements have sprung across the globe to motivate us to build a positive relationship with our digital lives.
The National Day of Unplugging is such a movement dedicated to a 24-hour long digital sabbatical to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using today’s technology, electronics, and social media.
On Friday, March 1st at 7:00pm, I unplugged for the first time in a very very long time by putting away all my electronic devices* for a 24-hour period.
When Chris from Old Cove Road reached out to me via email to ask if he could share my blog post, How to use your smartphone like a hammer, on his website, I was utterly flattered. So, I went on his website to find out why my article was worthy of being shared, and as I browsed through, his podcast episode titled Write for Your Life caught my attention. In the episode, Chris explores the necessity of telling our stories, writing being one medium, to break down the stigma and misconception surrounding mental health and mental illness.
Most of us self-medicate to some degree to manage our emotional needs.
Self-medicating can be done through the use of drugs, alcohol, and other substances to deal with a plethora of negative emotions, including stress, anxiety, and depression.
Some people also self-medicate with excessive food, videogames, or watching TV.
Self-medicating can be defined as a behavior in which an individual uses a substance or any exogenous influence to self-administer treatment for physical or psychological ailments. In other words, we can self-medicate with almost anything as a way to escape from the emotional discomfort or anguish we feel.
Self-medicating is often harmful because we gravitate towards negative influences to deal with our emotional needs and discomforts. We eat junk food. We light a cigarette. We grab a drink to unwind after work, every single day. We stuff ourselves with cookies and ice-cream to help us forget our sadness.
But, what if, instead, we self-medicated with art to banish our boredom and anxiety?
When your phone buzzes or a notification pops up your screen, do you stop what you’re doing to look and respond? Do you have multiple devices constantly competing for your attention at all times? Do you find it hard to sit still for a bit without checking your phone or social media feeds? Have you been looking for ideas to unplug, without having to depend on sheer willpower followed by pure defeat?
If so, you can take the pledge to participate in this year’s National Day of Unplugging, a 24 hour global respite from technology. After taking the pledge, you can finally put all your electronic devices in a 16-digits-password-protected safe and throw it across the Atlantic ocean to finally have an uninterrupted board game night with your loved ones.