During a recent holiday in the Himalayas I happened to lodge at a homestay. A calm, serene place which had, to my joy, no TV ! Yes, I hate the idiot box. I was very excited, feasting my eyes on the greenery, till I decided to upload a photo of this beauty. Voila! The place had no mobile phone connectivity as well!
My husband had a hearty laugh, considering I am the one, out of us two (being a writer and voracious reader) who spends most of her time online. He is just the opposite! And we had to live like that for five days! He was joyous at the idea, while I was a bit lost initially. But after those five days, I felt I had undergone a detox treatment. Yes, I confess it.
1. Enjoy the “ME TIME”
So after signals could not be accessed, I had so much time at hands which I spent doing a lot of things. I also happened to explore a place which none of you will find even on Google. I penned my first travelogue sitting there. I went for long walks with my husband, which we could never do in our busy city life; we cooked together and even sang our favourite songs. And I realised it is really not that difficult “TO GO OFFLINE, WITHOUT GETTING STRESSED.”
So here backed by many, as you will read below, I will elaborate on my new-found joy which will eventually help you detoxify as well.
2. Start a Conversation
How many times in the day do you speak to the ones around you? Whether working or not, most of us these days exchange text messages, jokes, memes and even laughs as smileys over the internet. Now, recall your childhood; wasn’t it happier OFFLINE? We had such fun, meeting friends playing with them, till internet took over.
“In a span of two years, the hyper use of my smartphone has gotten me used to constant stimulus, and with this comes a certain anxiety of expectation. I am now working hard to reverse this habit, at times switching off literally, to escape from the constant barrage of slack, e-mail, social media and what not. The pleasure of a real conversation, a walk in the sunshine and an organic activity like sports, baking or gardening is unparalleled by the virtual universe,” opines Merril Diniz, Content & Communications Head, SHEROES.
So Merril suggests that go…grab a coffee with a co-worker or friends, put that glowing box you call a smartphone on airplane mode and have a fun chat! Remember, human-to-human interactions go a long way in strengthening personal bonds.
3. Get out, Get a A Life
I decided to discuss this topic with some more people, whose life and works revolves around staying online all the time. I was surprised to know, they prefer to go offline before starting another day.
Nitin Bhatia, Managing Director, Executive Alerts, Meltwater India told me, “My colleagues think I am online & working 24/7. And I sometimes feel the most healthy & active part of my body are my fingers as my mobile keep them busy. But I do go offline and don’t get stressed at all. I pursue my hobbies, whether being on the field playing cricket or playing badminton or simply experiment in the kitchen. So for getting disconnected from the online world means indulging in things that me happy. And the longer you spend time in a hobby, the lesser are the chances of getting stressed. In-fact they diminish.” Nitin is a former national level Badminton player as well.
4. Cure Yourself of FOMO.
Swear upon God…do you really feel good when you see those photos of friends on a vacation while you slog at work? Well don’t lie. A psychiatric study reveals that 80-90% of the current breed of the social media generation suffers from FOMO–FEAR OF MISSING OUT.”
“So going offline for a while, say for a week or few hours daily. It will cure you off this feeling of making yourself feel terrible due to a third person. You will learn the fact of life that no two people live under the same circumstances,” says psychiatrist Edwina Scott from Ontario.
5. No Stress, Only Rest
“Checking emails in bed is what I used to do, till I was diagnosed with Insomnia. So I decided to not bring any gadgets in my room. It has been six months, no withdrawal symptoms!” laughs Sita N Sinha a former bureaucrat and a very active social worker.
So mark our words and attempt small sessions offline. And we assure, you will find yourself much more productive. And for those staying alone, Maryada Sharma, Stem Cell scientist from Harvard now working with the PGI, Chandigarh, has the final advice, “Go adopt a pet and let your smartphone or laptop feel like an orphan for a while.”
Mahima Sharma, Columnist TechThirsty
Author is former News Editor CNN-News18 & ANI (a collaboration with Reuters)