Do you know anyone who “disappears” from online life for a little while? More and more people are learning the importance of having even a little bit of time when they’re disconnected from the digital realm for a little while. Maybe you even want to take it a step further and go away for a week or longer, but you’re not sure how to handle some of the logistics of that.
What’s So Great about Disconnecting?
Today’s fast-paced world means that you’re always on the go and always connected. If you don’t answer that text, Facebook message, or other instant communication ding, everyone wants to know why. But disconnecting, even for a little while, has huge benefits. According to Scientific American, our brains require downtime in order to function properly. Having some time away from devices and responsibilities bumps up your ability to solve problems, improves your creativity, and can lower your stress levels. Getting away from it all can actually help you to deal with it all much more effectively.
You Don’t Have to Give up Any Privacy
So you’ve made the big decision, you see the benefits, and you’re going to head off the grid for a little while. The problem is, though, that your life doesn’t just stop because you’re wanting a bit of a slowdown. You’re still going to get mail and people are still going to want to communicate with you, but you don’t want everyone in your life to know where you’re going. Or maybe you’re not even sure where you’ll be and you want the freedom to lift stakes whenever and head back out. The perfect solution is a PO box address. You can give out one physical address and then control how, when, and where your communications follow you.
Batten Down the Hatches First
There are other considerations before you head out, too. Set up forwarding for your bills so that you don’t come home to utilities that have been turned off in your absence. Those bills can go to your digital mailbox. Unplug everything that isn’t essential before you go and talk to a neighbor about keeping an eye on your place for you. Depending on how long you plan to be gone, you may want to shut off your water at the main and use timers on your lights at night. Be sure to set those to random times to avoid inadvertently advertising that you’re not home. Hire someone to keep up with the lawn for you and clean out both your fridge and your freezer, just in case.
Start Small if You’re New to Disconnecting
But what about if you’re new to this whole disconnecting thing? Are there training wheels? Turns out, you can definitely start small. Maybe you’d benefit from a couple of “dark dinners” a few nights a week. Or maybe you take a break from the news for a week at a time. If you really need to start small with disconnecting from the hustle and bustle, try meditating. You don’t need to get super complicated, either. Take a few minutes and just count your breaths. Try to get to five in a row without thinking about anything else. If you do, start over from one. Work your way up to longer and longer meditation sessions and before you know it you won’t even need to count your breaths anymore.
However you find to disconnect, whether that’s actually throwing your backpack over your shoulder and heading out for an adventure or simply turning off your devices for a quiet dinner, enjoy it. Learn to appreciate the beauty of disconnecting and find ways to do it regularly.