When was the last time that you truly took the time to decompress? Can you remember when you last powered-off your phone, shut down your computer, and took the time to enjoy life outside of the plugged-in, digital world that we’ve become so accustomed to?
We’ve all experienced that need to stay “connected.” In my decades in business, I still find it challenging to set aside my daily responsibilities to take time for myself, despite how important it is for our physical and mental wellbeing.
Here are some helpful tips that I recommend to any individual who needs to step away from the pressures of daily life and “plug in” to a greater sense of wellbeing.
Make yourself a priority
The summer is the perfect time to unwind. Even though the hectic nature of daily life doesn’t necessary slow down for the nicer weather, the summer offers an excellent opportunity to go out for a bike ride, enjoy a day at the beach, or spend extra time with friends and loved ones.
One of the most important recommendations I can offer to individuals looking for better peace of mind, at any time of the year, is to put themselves first. As selfish as this may sound, the act of putting yourself first actually revolves more around ensuring that you are honouring your mental health needs before you commit any extra time or energy to helping other people – both personally and professionally.
So, as the summer progresses, make sure that you’re taking the bike out on the road or soaking up the sun because you want to take the time to do so. I find that in honouring what you need most to experience your greatest sense of wellbeing, you’re not only practicing self-care – you’re establishing the foundation to offer better care to others in need.
Becoming less “social”
Despite some of the advantages of social media, many individuals have found that social media use, especially consistent social media use, can be particularly problematic for their mental health. Several studies have emerged recently that show the direct correlation between prolonged social media use and mental health issues.
One of the most essential components of “unplugging” is to remove anything that might be considered particularly distracting, and in some cases, even hazardous to your mental health. By taking some valuable time away from social media, you’re allowing yourself time to recharge and re-establish healthier boundaries between yourself and the digital world.
Take a deep breath
I know firsthand how the hectic nature of daily life can lead to a sense of guilt and complacency when you put your mental health first. Sometimes, unplugging can almost feel like you’re letting your fellow students, or peers down, especially when you’re taking time for yourself.
It’s important to realize that even if you don’t answer that email or text right away, everything outside of your immediate sphere of influence will continue to operate until you choose to plug back in. I recommend letting everyone who will be affected by your absence know of your intentions to decompress, and if your response is pressing, to give them a date and time when you will be available to them again.
Unplugging is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your mental health and wellbeing. For more information about what you can do to take a much needed “detox” from the everyday burdens of digital life, speak with your Student Assistance Program provider today.