Encourage going off the grid more often

By Maggie Alexander | Social Media Editor

When was the last time you felt completely rested? If your semester has looked anything like mine, I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t being bombarded with assignments, emails, projects and an absurd number of phone notifications.

In the midst of the chaos of college, studying and day-to-day life, it’s crucial to spend time without your phone to benefit your mental health. Taking a personal break from all socials and phone use means going off the grid — something that should be seen in a more positive light.

Going off the grid implies exiling yourself from connections with others. However, rather than exiling, I believe the correct word to associate with going off the grid would be removing. Removing yourself from phone activity that drains your mental capacity is beneficial for your overall mental health.

Most college students are faced with what Forbes magazine calls “phone addiction.” It’s exactly what you think it means: an addiction to your phone. As stated in Forbes’ article, phone addiction is negatively linked with serious mental health effects, including anxiety, depression and even suicide.

I must acknowledge that poor mental health is not solely caused by spending too much time on your phone. However, if you find yourself feeling mentally drained after surfing the internet or scrolling for hours, it might be a sign to start spending your free time putting energy toward your passions rather than social media and the internet.

In the society we live in today, everything is instantaneous. Social media is a platform where individuals are bold and people share almost every aspect of their lives. Constantly keeping up with other people’s lives and feeling the need to compare your own to someone else’s is outright draining. Whether you agree with me or not, I challenge you to take a step back and assess your phone use. Would going off the grid be beneficial to you?

A public relations practitioner from Platform Magazine said after taking a cleanse from all social media, she was able to tell a difference with an increase of productivity along with the feeling of being more present in in-person conversations. I believe that productivity and being present are two different aspects that all college students could benefit from an increase in.

If you find yourself struggling to take a much-needed break from your phone but can’t seem to put it down, I have a few tips for you. First and foremost, the Do Not Disturb setting on any phone is a vital tool to allow yourself to disconnect. This setting allows you to completely silence any notifications coming in that could capture your attention and focus. Another trick to distance yourself from your phone is setting a timer, starting off with an amount of time you know you can spend without your phone. Set your phone aside and train yourself to not use it until the timer goes off. The more you practice this, the longer you can increase the amount of time you go without it. Even if you put your phone aside for 30 minutes a day, this could still be a beneficial rest period in your day.

Next time you find yourself needing rest, go off the grid and free yourself from notifications begging to be answered. You are in charge of your time. People can wait, and the emails will still be sitting in your inbox an hour later. Take time away from your phone, allowing yourself to truly rest and recharge.