If you’ve ever wondered how to disconnect from everything and escape for some downtime, you’re not alone. Me too.
Honestly, recently I’ve been feeling that there is too much noise in my life. My business is a constant stream of work and stress. The news gets me down because of all the pessimism. Heck, the whole of society seems to be a wreck right now (I mean, half of Canada was even on fire last week!). Even when things are good there is still a proverbial truckload of mental noise simply because of things like social media.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I believe that the world right now is the worst it has even been for our mental health. Not because things are “bad”. Just because of this constant “always on” society that we live in. The human mind simply was not designed to sustain this barrage of information overload. It’s no surprise that mental illness is at an all time high.
Thankfully, we do have the power to help ourselves out. I am going to get away from it all for a bit. I’m going to disconnect from the world and spend a couple of days in silent withdrawal—you know, like a hermit. And honestly, I am really looking forward to it, and I think it will do wonders for my mental health.
That brings me to the most obvious question. In this always-on world, exactly how do you disconnect from everything?
6 Ways To Disconnect From Everything
I’m wondering how much I should disconnect. Should I disconnect from family and friends, social media, technology, the news… everything? I’m not sure. But I’ll share with you my ideas of ways to disconnect from things.
1: For the love of God get off social media
Social media is so bad for our mental health that it honestly should come with a warning label. Significant scientific studies have found a strong link between social media use and increased risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and self harm. Yes, what people think is “fun” and “social” is actually a leading cause of mental illness. It’s almost ironic that actually using social media makes you more lonely!
But, of course, social media is optional. Absolutely no one genuinely needs to use social media. All you have to do is turn off your phone.
Honestly, this is a huge WIN. Just get off of social media. Easy… Well, maybe not that easy because social media apps are deliberately designed to make you addicted. Basically, those posts you love give you a little release of dopamine in your brain that keeps you coming back again and again and again. But you’re strong enough to say “no” to them, and doing so is one of the best ways to disconnect from the online world.
2: Become a forest-dwelling hermit
We humans are lucky to live in this beautiful world. And we are doubly lucky that beautiful natural environments exist despite our best efforts to destroy them. Because of that, there are lots of areas where you can escape to, whether it be by the sea to listen to the swoosh of the waves, or deep in the forest where the birds will sing you a tune.
Nature is our refuge, and one of the best ways to disconnect from work is to go to a beautiful nature spot and dwell in all that beauty. It will do wonders for your soul. Spending time in nature reduces stress and anger, improves both physical and mental health, and lifts your spirits. For best results, plan to go on a camping trip for a couple of days so that you can fully immerse yourself in nature. And while you are there, do some Forest Bathing Meditation.
3: Sorry, but I don’t care about world news right now
Everyone always says to me that they “have to watch the news to know what is going on in the world”. I’m not too sure about that. I think that the news paints a false picture of reality anyway, and a negative, sensationalist one. I also find it weird that most people know what’s going on in Russia but not what’s going on in their own city. Strange, no? And I personally don’t care about whatever the latest lie is that politicians are selling us. I just don’t think the news is as valuable as everyone says it is. And research shows that watch the news is awful for your mental health.
Studies show that we our overwhelmed by the media and that watching the news is linked with persistent negative thoughts, increased levels of stress and anxiety, and even increased alcohol consumption. Weird how simply watching the news can increase your risk of being an alcoholic!
This isn’t to say that you should throw your TV to the curb though. Some TV shows are actually good for us. For instance, nature documentaries help us to feel connected to the natural world, and also help us to relax. Plus, David Attenborough is a legend.
4: “Kids, I’ll be back next week!”
We love our families and want to spend time with them, but if we are all honest, we need some space too, and there are definitely times when we should disconnect from our families. Some people feel guilty about the idea of spending just a little bit of time alone, but we shouldn’t. We need time alone to recharge. Denying yourself that downtime will only lead to resentment. Conversely, giving yourself the space that you need will strengthen your family bond while improving your mental health.
You don’t have to disconnect from your family for long. Even if you can only manage a few hours, that’s a good space of time to gather your thoughts and unwind before reconnecting.
5: Book a few days at a retreat
“Retreat” is basically another word for “Disconnect”, isn’t it? When we go to a retreat we are going with the intention of disconnecting from life and unwinding. And many retreats are absolutely serene experiences.
When you go to a retreat you will typically disconnect from the online world, and spend a few days eating healthily, exercising, getting out in nature, and possibly learning a new skill (such as kayaking or yoga).
These days there are many different types of retreats. For instance, there are yoga retreats, meditation retreats, adventure retreats and blah de blah blah. You are totally spoilt for choice.
6: Do a meditation retreat at home
Right now, I myself am not in a position to go on a retreat away from home, for personal reasons. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t disconnect. Actually, you can still do a “retreat” at home, and one of the best ways to do that is with meditation.
Every once in a while, I will personally spend a few days doing nothing but meditating and reading. Good Lord if that doesn’t do wonders for the soul. If you are interested in this, I’ve created a guide to doing a meditation retreat at home.
Go ahead and disconnect for a bit. You deserve it!
It’s important to take time to disconnect from everything every once in a while. You need a few days to just stop and chill, to let it all go, to get grounded, and to restore your spirits. Without some downtime you will simply run yourself into the ground. Taking just a few days to disconnect will pay dividends in the long run. Plus, it will make you feel wonderful.
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison