A month of disconnection in 2020. Insane or brilliant?

No cell phone use. Photo credit Yahoo

A world in the midst of a global pandemic, in uproar due to the awakening of racial injustices and police brutality, is a world filled with uncharted territory all while repeating history. Day to day life as we once knew it has changed drastically. 

One day I decided that I needed a break from it all and completely unplugged, as much as I could in this day and age. I along with a very good friend of mine committed to a 30-day cleanse free of social media, fast foods, leisurely drinking and replaced it with healthier habits. 

When first committing to such a challenge I knew that it would test my discipline while cleansing myself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Growing up in such a digital era, we are heavily influenced by trends and opinions, always looking for what’s next. This has built a rush culture in which people are in a race to have everything figured out and constantly seeking to do more. On top of this culture is added stressors with COVID-19 and scrolling through a trigger-warning filled timeline.

In an article written by JR Thorpe in Bustle Magazine, “5 Benefits Of A Month-Long Social Media Break, According To Psychologists,” clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, PhD, shared his perspective.

“Using social media to the extent that it dominates your activities daily is not good,” Klapow wrote. “Taking a month-long break is good for giving you perspective about life without social media.”

I am entering the third week of the cleanse and I honestly thought I would miss social media because I used to be so consumed. But I actually have not been tempted to get on any social media and am in no rush to hop back on.

With not eating any fast foods and choosing to opt out of a school meal plan I am left with cooking more than I ever have before. It has been fun learning to cook new dishes and try healthier ideas. 

Realizing how much free time I have without being on my phone I’ve been paying more attention to self development. Being plugged in constantly I believe it’s hard to even differentiate whether your focus is truly on yourself. Having no choice but to deal with my reality I reconnected with interests, hobbies and even branched into new business ventures and mapping out new goals.

Between working and classes, my time is now spent journaling, reading, exercising and adapting to a new structure. I have created a daily routine that allows me to be productive and efficient, developing so many healthy habits and truly enjoying life.

My friend who also is partaking in the challenge has noticed an increase of energy from eating healthier and receiving more rest.

“Life is a little more peaceful,” said Resacia DeGraffenreidt, a second-year doctor of pharmacy candidate. “I feel more in control of my thoughts and emotions.” 

Disconnecting from the world also shows how much we rely on social media to stay connected to friends and family. This challenge has forced me to call my friends and family more as I cannot just scroll through Instagram to see their day to day activities.

“Rather than devoting attention and time to those around you, which can be positive but can also be draining or upsetting, a month-long break from social media forces you to re-focus on yourself, and on face-to-face interactions with others,”  therapist Celeste Viciere told Bustle.

It may seem crazy in today’s society to totally disengage from the social world but there are many positive aspects when doing so. I challenge every one to try and live life fully without the heavy cloud of social media draining you day to day.

I started this as a challenge and have had such an amazon experience thus far, I am hoping to take these new habits and turn it into a lifestyle.