It might sound extreme, but a digital detox is not unheard of. In a world inundated with the complications of social media, a good sense of detachment is necessary to be more mindfully connected.
While watching one too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy in an addictive succession will still not make me anything remotely near a medical expert, it has taught me that connections are both a good and bad thing. Where on a social and professional level, it does wonders with expediting cases and encouraging camaraderie in the face of life-threatening situations and alarming adversity, it does pose a serious disadvantage when one practitioner gets too close for comfort with each other or medically speaking, the complex network of nerves are inconvenienced, intertwined, and in some cases, inoperable by even the best in the field. As with anything, a balance must be exercised, preceded by caution, and opinions considered from all ends before making incisions. A scrutiny under a microscopic lens, the expositions of the long-standing medical drama is a study of life in general, extricating realizations about connecting and conversely, unplugging, which in effect lays itself well for the better understanding of the human condition.
It goes without saying that we exist and thrive in a fully connected world, more so in the online landscape that is highlights dependence in more ways than one. Aside from the obvious context of relationship, we often fail to realize the almost addictive reliance to social media that adversely affects everything, most especially mental health. While we understand its implications, it is understandably difficult to detach ourselves from this perspective, considering that the world is necessarily entrenched online. However, it has to be said that too much is never a good thing, even for the most put-together and level-headed, which is why setting digital boundaries is easier said than done. However, when inundated with rampant misinformation, doomsday scrolling, and overwhelming opinions, it is imperative that we have the good graces to detach and go on a much-needed digital detox when possible.
“Social media has become such a huge part of all our lives, and I know all too well the negative impact it can have on mental health if we don’t set boundaries,” says Jordan Stephens, one-half of the UK music duo, Rizzie Kicks, and co-founder of #IAMWHOLE, an anti-stigma mental health campaign developed with the National Health Security and the YMCA. “Digital Detox Day is all about taking some time out to reflect, so we can form better relationships with ourselves and our devices.” It might sound simple, but there’s more to a digital detox than just shutting off from the world wide web, says Zoe Sugg, who joins Stephens and Lush in this movement, even creating a limited edition bath bomb with Lush inventor Jack Constantine aptly called IRL. An invigorating whiff that explodes into a dazzling swirl of neroli oil, orange flower absolute, ylang ylang oil, and rose absolute, all proceeds from the collaboration will go into a fund for grants to be made available for global grassroots mental health organizations.
“I love social media, it’s incredible in so many ways and it has helped build communities and businesses, and given people a platform in order to share their stories that might not otherwise have been heard,” continues Zoe Sugg. “However, as the years have progressed and social media has grown in size, it’s clear that it has its flaws, too. Comparison, criticism, cyber bullying, a disconnect from reality and real life. All of these things and how often we are scrolling can have such a negative impact on our mental health,” she explains. “This is why I am so happy to be working with Lush and #IAMWHOLE on the very first Digital Detox Day campaign, a day to reflect offline about how we live our lives online and to introduce boundaries into our social media usage.”
Set to roll out on September 5, we are all encouraged to take a step back and unplug ourselves from the matrix, so to speak, and enter the analog flip side that is by all accounts more introspective. Even in a world craving for every bit of human connection possible as it continues to be held hostage by the unseen and unheard virus, peace of mind is a necessary insulation to cushion us from the blows of the everyday. On digital detox day, it isn’t shutting off and shutting down, but setting up a perspective that is more aware and attuned to what is essential. Sure, you will miss a few updates here and there, and that your notifications will stack up, but that one day to wade through the overwhelming distractions and to make sense of it all is more than enough of an exhale to fill you up with the energy to keep the conversation on mental health and anxiety going strong.
Just breathe, read a book, go on a baking spree, or even take an indulgent bath—with the works. It’s okay, you can do this.