5 ways to unplug from electronics & social media & reconnect with your life

January 7, 2013 · 11 comments

in Inspiration, Relationships, Seeking holistic health

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My goal for the past two weeks was to unplug from social media. But the break from Facebook, Twitter and blogging turned into something bigger. I’m now reorganizing my life for 2013.

Since I was off from work during most of this experiment, I really had a chance to turn off the devices and recharge my personal energy. For the first few days, I peeked at Facebook and Twitter. Then, it didn’t matter anymore. Instead, I found myself catching up with family and a few friends, face-to-face. What a novelty!

One change led to another. Now, I feel much more connected to myself and those around me.

5 ways to unplug and reconnect with your life 

Unplugging electronic devices is just the beginning.  During this adventure, I removed the following from my bedroom: a printer, a TV, a landline telephone. With the gadgets gone, I suddenly noticed the prominent display I was giving to my checkbook and files on the book shelf. I moved them into a closet drawer. Then I filled the shelf with pretty, pleasant things to look at: my paintings, some woven baskets, family photos and candles.

Get rid of clutter. How about unplugging from guilt and pressure? My night table was piled high with old New Yorker magazines that I kept meaning to read. (They were right next to the iPhone charger, which has since been removed too.) I read some of the back issues and recycled the rest. There was no reason to keep art pencils and drawing pads on the bedroom chair if I’m not using them. So they are also g-o-n-e , put away in storage.

Only check email twice daily. It’s one thing to constantly scroll through email at work, because that’s part of my job. But today was my day off and I spent my first few hours of replugging by scanning email. All it did was make me edgy. New priority: limit email usage as much as possible.

Give up social media addictions. Until I unplugged, I woke up every morning and grabbed for my iPhone in the dark to play Words With Friends, a delightful iPhone app that is like sort of like Scrabble. But with it turned off past two weeks, I’ve been sleeping more and, more soundly. Then today, I had lunch at a restaurant with a buddy. When our entrees arrived, I reached for my phone to take a photo of the food, to post it on Instagram. But taking the shot just felt wrong, it completely cut into our conversation. No more.

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The next few weeks will be about figuring out how to make the most of reconnecting on Facebook, Twitter, etc. As part of this, I’ve decided to blog only once a week, instead of two; I’d like to see if that makes for stronger posts and a stronger relationship with you. Does that sound okay?

I will have more to share with you soon. Right now, I am setting aside time to read the Tim Ferriss bestseller, “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.”  The book came out in 2007 and it’s a hard-core self-help guide to re-thinking work, dreams and money. I’m only up to Chapter 3, but the material is very, very interesting. Will share more in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I just want to wish you all a very, very Happy New Year. May 2013 bless you with good health, good times and much love. And see you here next Monday. xoxoxoxo.

P.S. — This is what it was like in my house these past two weeks. A lot of chillin’ around the fire of our wood-burning stove in the living room.  :)

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If you liked this post, you might be interested in my Dec. 24, 2012 post, Why I’m unplugging for the next two weeks. It explains how I got to the moment we have here, two weeks later.  :)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charlotte January 8, 2013 at 8:17 am

Great post! LOVE how the cats are lounging by the stove. Look at Minty! :) (Isn’t he the big tabby?) My cats would go INSANE for a stove like that!

2 Mj&TJ January 8, 2013 at 9:10 am

Betty,
Now you tell me after the holiday is over:) Just kidding. The holiday was very diffrent for my. My Grandmother died on the 20th so we hav her funeral on the 26th. My mom spent her time before christmas planing the funeral so I didn’t get anything in the way of a gift. Now I am fresh out of grandparents. I need to follow your advice and do some much needed house cleaning. I think it would be to do one room at a time. In a week I should be able to have the whole house cleaned if I do one room a day.
Happy New Year!

3 mamamiaheather January 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

Great post Betty! Very relevant! I’m going to take your lead and do a high tech gadget clean-up too. Putting all those toys out of sight is the only way and a twice-daily e-mail and FB check is enough. I think I also need to set a timer as Facebook tends to end up taking you all over the place.
A blog post from you once a week is great – that will free up a lot of time for you!
Happy New Year!

4 Christie January 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Hi Betty,

I deactivated my FB account in November & deleted the app from my phone and what a liberating feeling!! (I admit that I have logged in a few times since then, but no more than a few minutes each time.) I still check my e-mail, Instagram and play WWF and Scramble with Friends, but kicking the FB habit was a big one. I spent so much time comparing, feeling sorry for myself, getting annoyed by certain political rants and for what? Anyway, I can’t undo the past so I’m relishing the present moment. We do what we can, right? Thanks for sharing.

5 Amantha Tsaros January 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Oh, Betty, what a great post. You really have to unplug a bit to get reconnected to goals – I do anyway. It is so helpful. It will give you the time to read that book. I am looking forward to your comments on it.

Happy New Year!

6 betty ming liu January 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Charlotte, you remember the big boy’s name. Yes, that’s Minty. We all love sitting by the stove doing absolutely….nothing. Feels so good.

MJ&TJ, sorry to hear about your grandma. It’s a different feeling to be without that generation; I never had grandparents and still miss the experience. I hope cleaning the house gives you comfort.

mamamiaheather, thank you for understanding. Now that I’m working full-time, I feel like my mid-week posts were such a struggle. Sticking to just Mondays for blogging will hopefully be nice for all of us. More isn’t always more!

Christie, you hit on the exact problem I have with Fb: scrolling around makes me so jealous of friends who do it well and rack up tons of likes! Maybe I should delete from my phone app too. That’s a really brave step. Thanks for putting the idea in my head.

Amantha, thank you for dropping by with your support. I am going to take a soak in a hot tub, then jump into bed to read the book. Will fill you in as soon as I’m done. :)

7 Mj&TJ January 12, 2013 at 7:44 am

Betty,
My FB Chat has taken over from my Yahoo chat. My way to “unplug” has been to go camping, which I was planining to do this weekend but I forgot to call my friend in time. It is too bad as we got a foot of snow! (my idea of fun… it is so quiet when it snows) I really love the fact that I can drive everywhere in 4WD.

8 Merry June 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Hi, Betty!

First time I’ve ever been to your blog, and it looks great so far. I’m glad someone is blogging about stuff like this: it makes me feel like I can actually do it! :D

-Merry

9 betty ming liu June 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for visiting, Merry! Hope you’ll come back again soon. And yes, you DEFINITELY can do all this stuff. It just takes time, patience and a willingness to explore. :)

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