Home Forums Create Change Challenges #OperationBlackout Disconnecting From Social Media To Improve Mental Health

This topic contains 10 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  r-danvers 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #27360

    Angelo Lagdameo
    Keymaster
    🔑

    #OperationBlackout is an initiative to raise awareness for internet addiction. Read the full article here. On Saturday, Feb. 16th participants disconnected from social media for at least 24 hours. This FORUM was created for you all who joined us during #OperationBlackout. And we hope readers get inspired by those who spent time offline to do something positive i.e. go outdoors, read a book, caught up with friend & family, etc.

    If you participated in #OperationBlackout please post your journal entries. Feel free to include both your writing and artwork you created during your time offline. If you did not journal (or want to add more to your journal post) please answer these follow up questions:

    • How did you spend your time? What activities did you participate in?
    • Did you sleep better?
    • Did you feel disconnected from everyday people and events?
    • Did you notice a difference in your interpersonal relationships with people? Were your conversations with others more reserved because you were offline and less aware of what was going on, or were they more in-depth and meaningful because you were less distracted?
    • How was your mental health? Did your anxiety level increase due to withdrawal, or did it decrease the longer you were away from social media?

    We encourage you continue to have your own #OperationBlackout whenever you feel the weight of social media. Disconnecting is positive for your physical, mental and social health.

    OperationBlackout

    #27362

    Alex Delval
    Participant

    Today I was not only out of social media but also from technologies (I wanted to do this for so long but I don’t know why I didn’t do it). And that make me realize something, we don’t reall need all this. We thing we do but we don’t. We, especially us the teenager, we are missing our time with all of this.
    .

    We also don’t need to be always in social media. We are waisting our time looking into this little screen when we can be outside and do amazing thing.

    I’m gona take me for exemple, today I was out of social media and technologies and I goes to the park with my father and walk a moment with him, and you know what the best part was being the fact that I  was with him? No phone, just him and I. And this was so amazing, causr him and I was not watching our phone. We was watching and listen each other.

    And that was great, and I think I’m gonna be more off of the social media and my phone. Cause it’s better for my mental health. I feel free when I get off of social media, I didn’t have to answer to someone by obligation, no need to go on social media..etc

    #OperationBlackOut was a very good experience for me and I think more peoples need to do it.
    -Alex

    #27364

    Clarissa Castillo
    Participant

    I would love to start this off by saying even though i has to work on Saturday it felt great to take the rest of the day to myself. I took the time to recuperate so I can start my new work week off on the right foot. During my down time I actually did a little light reading and just relaxed spending time with my dogs and cat. The time away did help with my mental health. In fact I even used the time away to get myself situated because next Thursday is officially when I’ll be moving into a new apartment with my family. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for that. After taking time for myself I’m thinking of doing that more often to cleanse my mind,body, and soul. I’m also currently preparing myself for when Nathan officially announces dates for the upcoming US tour which I’m pretty should be happening any day now.. Prior to operation blackout I submitted an article I wrote to create change called “A Newfound Purpose.” Taking time to reflect on life itself whether it’s through writing or reading has helped put ease in my everyday struggles with mental health. I have good days and bad days but a little time to myself makes such a difference. I do encourage you all to take a step back from social media every once in awhile to work on your own self care just like I did. After all self care is very important.

    #27366

    Leah Rudd
    Participant

    Technology and social media are huge parts of our daily lives, but when did we become so dependent on it? There’s a lot to love about the techno-world these days, but it also has its disadvantages as well. So many of us have become addicted to our mobile phones, tablets, checking our social media apps. For some, it’s the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning until they go to bed at night. Technology can be great for capturing our fondest memories, but we all need to stop, take a breath, look up from our screens and appreciate this beautiful world that surrounds us.

    When Create Change first tweeted about #OperationBlackout and disconnecting on February 16th, I’d already decided earlier that day that I was going to take a weeks break (maybe longer) away from social media and would try not to use my other devices as much.

    What better way to start my social media break, than a 20+ hour flight back to Australia. In the beginning, it was a little hard, I did have to check it a few times, not to check what everyone was doing but to keep updated with a few people on a project I was working on. Once all info was collected, the apps were then deleted from my phone, so I wasn’t as tempted to check what was happening. Whilst during the week I couldn’t completely give up my mobile, due to having to stay connected for work, and email updates on a project. I was spending significantly less time on technology.

    This past week was spent having some much-needed self-care. Whilst my life is full and at the moment, really good, sometimes it can be really heavy. So at times when I feel its at its heaviest, I like to disconnect to reconnect. So my week was spent, with loved ones and friends, getting to explore this beautiful state I now live in and going for drinks/coffee, instead of looking at our phones we were all having great conversations without being distracted. But I also took time for just me, watching the sunrise/set, surfing and finishing an article I was writing, it’s at these times I feel the freest. I’ve found with not using social media and technology as much, my sleeping has improved a lot over this past week, but my mental health has also improved, my anxiety was at its lowest which was great, it only really raised when I went to new places or around new people, but even then it was manageable, I didn’t have this constant anxious feeling like I do when I use social media, like I have to meet standards of other people, or worry if I’ve tweeted the right thing. I haven’t even felt disconnected from people, it’s actually been quite refreshing, not worrying, oh I need to respond to this person etc.

    Whilst this break was only supposed to be for a week, I’m not sure if or in fact when I’ll return to social media more. The only app I’ve re-installed is Instagram and even now I’ve only used it once, right now I have no desire to use social media. The breakaway has made me really appreciate where I am in life, even more, it’s time I start living in the now rather than wondering what’s happening behind the screen. It’s why I’m choosing to be free.

    #27373

    spookervisor
    Participant

    Even though I don’t use Twitter and Instagram that often to post things, I do regularly check the apps to see what everyone is up to and to chat with friends after work. Social media is great for that. However, I’ve been known to disconnect for a few days and I already knew how good it is for me.

    When I first read about #OperationBlackout, I immediately decided I would join. At first, I only wanted to stay off for just the Saturday, but then I extended the blackout on a whim and stayed offline for the whole weekend and it felt truly amazing. I never had the feeling of missing anything because I used that weekend to just be me. I still don’t feel as if I have to catch up with anything.
    I think I slept better and was able to concentrate longer without distractions from notifications. The weather was amazing so I finally finished the book I’ve been reading while soaking up some sunshine. I went for a run because I felt refreshed and had more energy.

    I will definitely repeat my own #OperationBlackout to simply reconnect with myself again and to explore the world around me. I discovered once again that I don’t necessarily need my phone with me at all times. I encourage everyone to try and lessen their time behind a screen.

    #27377

    Angelo Lagdameo
    Keymaster
    🔑

    • How did you spend your time? What activities did you participate in?
    I went for a drive and ended up staying with friends for the weekend. They are a couple who have a kid and a lovely home—both my besties who I paired up with a date (yup, they owe me). It was great spending time with their 2 year old and newly adopted rescue cat.

    • Did you sleep better?
    Well, me and the dad went out for a guys’ night with the old crew. Didn’t sleep that much and woke up needing a big breakfast.

    • Did you feel disconnected from everyday people and events?
    Not at all, time went by really fast!

    • Did you notice a difference in your interpersonal relationships with people? Were your conversations with others more reserved because you were offline and less aware of what was going on, or were they more in-depth and meaningful because you were less distracted?
    What a good question. Our conversation time was really valuable. I had no desire to interrupt our dinner with social media boomerangs. It was nice to just sit and talk (and enjoy the yummy pizza & wine! For now on, I’m all least turning my phone to airplane mode when I have dinner with friends.

    • How was your mental health? Did your anxiety level increase due to withdrawal, or did it decrease the longer you were away from social media?
    At first, signing off made me nervous. I felt like I was going to miss something important. But as the day progressed, my instincts to look at my phone diminished. And by Monday, when I did check social media—I didn’t miss much at all. Yet I gained some much valuable time to feel happy and refreshed. In conclusion, I will #OperationBlackout at least one day a week and I will use time blocking apps to restrict my access to social media until I can make it a habit.

    #OperationBlackout Cat

    #27381

    Lynn Mattes
    Participant

    How did you spend your time? What activities did you participate in?
    I actually had a long weekend due to Monday being a federal/state holiday. I was able to pretty much ignore SM on Sat and Mon, with little effort. It was stormy here so more of an indoor day on Saturday. Started a fake fire in the fake fire place, relaxed in the recliner with a blanket, book, and cup of tea for several hours. cozy saturday afternoon Monday was nicer so got a jump on some yard chores, and then spent some quality time with the critter. Rhino the hamster Sunday was tougher due to a major sporting event that many friends and family spread across the country all follow. SM and texting allows us to “watch” together from several states.

    Did you sleep better?
    Not really. No better or worse than normal.

    • Did you feel disconnected from everyday people and events?
    Not at all. Was refreshing to take a break from the news. Try to do regularly.

    Did you notice a difference in your interpersonal relationships with people? Were your conversations with others more reserved because you were offline and less aware of what was going on, or were they more in-depth and meaningful because you were less distracted?
    Didn’t notice any differences. The long weekend was already intended to be a “cave of solitude” weekend, to recharge/charge up from work. My coworkers refer to my house sometimes as the “cave of solitude” when I need a break from people. So had very limited interactions already planned IRL, as I have staff a booth at a large trade show this coming weekend (introverts nightmare).

    How was your mental health? Did your anxiety level increase due to withdrawal, or did it decrease the longer you were away from social media?
    overall my mental health remained pretty much the same, though there was some reduction in anxiety by not reading/hearing the news regularly. That is more a general thing than specifically social media.

    All of that being said, I am very much looking forward to a long weekend in a couple months where I get to go completely off the grid. No radio, tv, phone, internet, cell phone, etc for 5 days. Will be spending time in a remote cabin in the mountains with some good friends. We all come away refreshed and recharged afterwards.
    the cabin

    #27383

    Bianca Huehnerfuss
    Participant

    During my Operation Blackout lite, I decided not to stay off social media completely, but to turn off all the push notifications on these apps. I don’t live close to any family members or friends, so for me that was the best way, to take some time away from the noise, but still keep in touch and check in every now and then.
    On the first day, out of reflex, I picked up my phone almost as often as I did on a regular day, but instead of scrolling through timelines for hours, I took a quick look engaged if I thought something was relevant and then turned my phone back off and focused on other things. So I spent time on social media but not nearly as much. I effectively had more time to do other things. Which was nice, I visited, and friend and we were able to catch up and talk about things and weren’t interrupted by anything. On the way to see her, I took a two-hour train ride, time I would usually have spent on my phone, reading mails, checking up on social networks, listening to music. But instead I decided to bring a book*, not on my phone, which I do find very convenient, but like a paperback book.

    It was nice to read or talk to someone without being interrupted by something however big or small. I could check up on those things whenever I wanted to, not when it was literally pushed on me.
    The second day, I simply enjoyed going on a run and then relaxing in the sun, drinking coffee and finishing the book, I started to read on the train the day before.
    I didn’t get more than that weekend, but I did feel relaxed and was much better focused on whatever I was doing in the moment and I enjoyed that tremendously. Something else noticed was that the anxiety of being left out or not knowing what’s going on was literally none-existent. I was not the first to see a certain tweet or picture someone posted, I was not the first to reply. Maybe I missed someone going live. So what? I’ll see and enjoy it later, in my own time.

    It also felt very liberating not to make up to dozens of new notifications every morning. All the things I missed while I was asleep for a few hours. I only truly became aware of the stress that caused me, when it was gone. I didn’t get more done than on any other weekend, but I was able to enjoy it more, focus more on the moment I was living in. I will still share those moments with my friends and I will still be active on social media, but I will do so when I have time for it. I will keep my notifications turned off especially on weekends, when I need time to relax from work, where I already stare at a screen for hours.

    I’m trying to find the right balance in all of it and I think this is an important step in the rightdirection.

    *The book I read was “Becoming Nicole” by Amy Ellis Nutt. I bought it a few months ago and never got arround to read it, but now I did and I’m so glad about it. It’s truly inspiring.

    #27403

    Cindy
    Moderator
    ⚖️

    #OperationBlackout was a great experience for me. In the week prior to #OperationBlackout we got hit with major back-to-back snowstorms where I live, resulting in me being stuck in the house for several days. Naturally, I’d spent a lot of time online to try to keep myself occupied while I was homebound. #OperationBlackout gave me an opportunity to step back and think about other ways to use my time – and I accomplished a few things too.

    How did you spend your time? What activities did you participate in?
    I got up early in the morning, bundled up and took a long walk throughout my snowy neighborhood. It was peaceful and beautiful – and a little bit slippery in some places – but such a great way to start the day. When I got home, I started reading Call The Midwife for #AngsBookClub, and I couldn’t put it down. When I finally did put the book down I had a nice visit with a good friend and we ended up playing some old board games. Finally, I started a long postponed task to create an office space in my home and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

    • Did you sleep better?
    I didn’t notice a real difference, but I suspect I would if I made it a habit not to look at my devices in the evening.

    • Did you feel disconnected from everyday people and events?
    Nope. I knew I was going to be offline, so I was prepared. A few times I did wonder what was happening in the world while I was offline, but it quickly occurred to me that I really didn’t need to know in those moments. Life goes on either way – and often times with more serenity when you’re offline.

    • Did you notice a difference in your interpersonal relationships with people? Were your conversations with others more reserved because you were offline and less aware of what was going on, or were they more in-depth and meaningful because you were less distracted?
    I didn’t notice any significant differences because I really do attempt to be in the moment when I’m talking with people. I try to make it a habit to have my phone in another area of the room when I’m visiting with others, or if that’s not possible I turn it over so I can’t see the screen if a message pops up. I wish we all did this a lot more often.

    • How was your mental health? Did your anxiety level increase due to withdrawal, or did it decrease the longer you were away from social media?
    It’s a strange feeling to step away from technology in such a dramatic way. It makes you realize just how often you pick up that phone or reach for that iPad throughout an average day. Like many people, it took a few moments to get used to, but once the day started rolling, it became an non-issue. This is definitely something I will do more often in the future.

    #27409

    Sarah
    Participant
    🍒

    My sister came from out of state to visit me this past weekend. Having her with me probably made #OperationBlackout easier because she was there to keep me company and entertained. Throughout the day we spent lots of time talking and catching up. A few of our cousins met us for lunch and then after resting a bit at my place we took about an hour drive to get our favorite ice cream, and then spent a bit of time visiting with a family friend. Operation Blackout was good for me. It allowed me to focus more on the people and events that were going on right in front of me instead of wondering what people hundreds of miles away were doing or worried about at any given moment. I was able to be present in the moment.

    I suppose I did sleep better because I didn’t have SM thoughts racing through my mind as I tried to sleep.

    I guess I felt a bit disconnected from events I usually keep up with but I think it was good to refocus my mind on what was going on right around me. I felt more connected to the people I was interacting with because I wasn’t distracted by social media and what might pop up next on my phone or computer screen.

    Though I am not much of a conversationalist to begin with, I would say my conversations were definitely more in depth and meaningful because I was truly present in the moment and my mind wasn’t wandering as much.

    I don’t feel like my mental health fluctuated that much. I enjoyed getting to spend real quality one on one time with my sister instead of just chatting with someone online. Spending time with someone face to face is very important for everyones mental health. Humans are social beings and usually benefit from social interaction with others.

    #27505

    r-danvers
    Participant

    • How did you spend your time? What activities did you participate in?

    So far a lot of my time has been spent either in our local mountains or at home. Last summer we converted my old bedroom into a library. That has become my safe place and it’s the most relaxing spot in the house. I love going in there to just read or do my writing. I mainly write a lot of fanfiction and often I’ll write in my personal journals. I’ve also created a Create Change journal where I’ve begun to write down my days when I do Operation Blackout.

    • Did you sleep better?

    By participating in Operation Blackout it has certainly made a change in my sleep. I wake up early because of work so as a result of that I wake up at the same time during the weekends. My system is just used to it but since I toned down on the tech I’ve managed to sleep in more and I find myself relaxed in the morning.

    • Did you feel disconnected from everyday people and events?

    Surprisingly I have not felt disconnected. In fact I find it a relief. I sometimes find it annoying to be surrounded by people all day so to simply stop the world and just be around myself is relaxing since I don’t have to deal with all of the noise.

    • Did you notice a difference in your interpersonal relationships with people? Were your conversations with others more reserved because you were offline and less aware of what was going on, or were they more in-depth and meaningful because you were less distracted?

    I have not noticed any difference in this regard.

    • How was your mental health? Did your anxiety level increase due to withdrawal, or did it decrease the longer you were away from social media?

    My mental health has improved as a result of this. I’ve stated this many times before but as one that suffers multiple mental illnesses it can be hard to manage and often difficult to deal with. My anxiety levels are at a lower level than what they’re normally at and that for me has become a positive thing. I find the more I’m away from not just SM but tech in general the calmer I feel.

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