Ok, fine. I didn’t stop using the internet for a week.
But I did take a break from blogging and relentless Facebook status updating.
Of course, every now and then* I did find myself wandering aimlessly (or intentionally) across the internetosphere and wondering how anyone could possibly refrain from excessive digital consumption without the sort of intervention that they’re using on “web junkies” in China.
*(By every now and then, I mean pretty much every day, and for multiple minutes longer than the hour per day that I allotted myself for the purpose of “focused” browsing.)
Did I say “What I did I did when I stopped using the internet for a week”?
What I meant was: When I made a meager attempt to not be an internet addict (with mixed results).
OK, so, yes– I still used the internet.
But when I wasn’t using the internet, I noticed some significant improvements in my daily routine.
I maintained a consistent yoga practice.
I started doing push ups and pull ups again (after a long break when I couldn’t be bothered).
I started cooking incredibly delicious, vibrant, (mostly) vegetarian meals.
I cut my daily sugar intake (which had slowly but surely crept up this winter) by (I’m guessing) at least 70%.
Most importantly: I got through a pretty rough flash flood of anxiety/ depression/ dread in minimal time, with minimal damage and minimal drama.
And I would say there’s an obvious correlation between the increased attention to physical health– i.e. exercise/meditation/good food– and improvement in mood, and I would venture to guess that decreased internet usage allowed me to break through the stupor that usually prevents a screen-staring person from getting out of the chair/bed and onto the yoga mat/ into the kitchen (to actually cook, not to reheat otherwise-prepared food).
One thing I did not accomplish: Going to bed early and getting up early. No doubt, using the computer late at night stimulates my brain and messes with my sleep cycle. Perhaps that’s my big challenge for this week.
Anyway, here’s the thing.
I also spent a lot of time thinking about what I’m trying to accomplish with all the time that I usually do spend on this blog, and on social media.
And I came to some interesting realizations.
(Which I’m not quite ready to share just yet.)
Suffice it to say, I am planning to continue my experiment into this next week.
Yes, I’ll still be online from time to time (I believe there’s a time and place for taking a total media fast, but this week isn’t it).
Yes, I’d gladly welcome actual contact with actual people (be it in person, email, phone, or via Facebook).
Yes, I may try to put up another blog post or two in the next few days.
But, no– I will not allow myself to revert back to hour upon hour of real-time social media monitoring at the expense of my health, productivity, and sanity.
Don’t get me wrong.
I love the internet.
I love the way it allows me to instantly connect with friends all across the world.
But for all the (sometimes quality) time I spend in front of my computer screen, I realize how much better I tend to feel away from it.
How about you?