Unplugging: A digital detox experiment

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Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

This post is a way overdue follow up to the National Unplugging Day article I wrote, and my experience unplugging. 

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.

The experience was refreshing and inspiring.

A simple and effective youth engagement activity for mental health awareness

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It is nice to be important, but it is important to be nice.

During my undergraduate studies, I volunteered as a team leader at the Peer Support Centre that offered peer counseling to students. As a team, we were responsible for hosting events to promote mental health and the Centre to students, staff and the campus community in general.

The first event I organized with my team was engaging students to share with us a life mantra or a quote that they live by. We then shared all the positive messages with the general campus community by posting them on the Centre’s Facebook page.

The idea was inspired by acknowledging that young people carry important knowledge regarding their mental well-being. By providing them a platform to share their messages, young people can inspire and support their peers, and foster a sense of community that supports mental wellness and mental health among young adults.

Dear Diary: Keeping a daily journal for mental well-being

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Photo by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

Writing can be a very therapeutic endeavor.

Any form of writing, including artistic, academic, or otherwise, can serve as a form of self-therapy, a way to make sense of our thoughts and feelings and discover our deepest desires. One way to incorporate writing into our daily routine is by keeping a daily journal.

In 2009, I wrote my first-ever journal entry on an online diary. By 2013, I have managed to write thirteen entries. Although, I would always promise myself, and my diary, that I will, for sure, write more this time around, it took four years to seriously immerse myself in keeping a daily journal.

Since 2014, I have written 1128 entries, about 280 entries a year.

A toolkit for SADness

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Photo by Walid Amghar

Winter is my least favorite season. I really don’t trust people who claim winter to be their favorite season. While I appreciate how beautiful a fresh snowfall can be, the bitter cold, the ungodly short days, and the inability to enjoy most outdoor activities make winter my least favored time of the year.

Finally having realized that I do not do well in the winter months, at least emotionally, and I cannot afford to escape to a tropical destination, I decided to create a SAD survival toolkit this winter. Before I share what is in my SAD toolkit, I would like to begin with a brief introduction of SAD.

A short introduction to youth peer support

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Photo by Camille Orgel on Unsplash

Peer support is sort of my jam, it is something I feel knowledgeable and very passionate about.

It began back in 2014 when I got the opportunity to volunteer as a Peer Counselor at the Peer Support Centre during my undergraduate studies. After I completed graduate school, I landed a position working as a Youth Engagement Project Coordinator for a children’s mental health hospital to create a peer-based mental health program for youth in the community.