By Unity Stevens, Mobile Crisis Outreach Counselor
Social media is a staple in the lives of millions of users who utilize it. Some use social media in an active way where they engage with their peers and loved ones – finding it to be a mostly positive role in their lives. Others use social media outlets in a more passive way – looking in from the outside without much active engagement. Though the experiences differ slightly for each person who uses social media platforms, many of us feel overloaded at one point or another.
While there are many cases where social media is beneficial for people to connect with their peers, find out news, and share a part of their lives with others, some people feel a lot of pressure to stay connected constantly. The stress of social media can sometimes contribute to feelings of unworthiness, anxiety, or even depression.
Social media, and technology in general, can be stressful at times. Over the last 50+ years, researchers have studied the impact of chronic stress on the body. Among other things, chronic stress can lead to structural changes in the brain, altering stress responses, your cognitive abilities, and in some cases your memory. Being able to disconnect and recharge occasionally is beneficial for both your body and your mind!
March 5-6, 2021, from sundown to sundown is National Day of Unplugging – an event that has been going on for just over a decade. The goal is to promote unplugging yourself from technology for 24 hours in an effort to assist people in recharging their mental, physical, and spiritual batteries. So, what can people do on National Day of Unplugging in the midst of a pandemic? That’s a great question! There are many options available, a few of which are:
- Being playful has many benefits! You could build a fort, play a board game, or make your own scavenger hunt.
- Creativity is an additional way that many people cope with stress. Pull out your crayons, paint, or yarn and create something. Remember, the process is just as fun (if not more!) than the final product.
- Is there anything that you want to do but feel like you never have time for? Whether it’s going for a hike, riding your bike, or reading a book that you’ve been waiting to get your hands on, do it!
- If you’re in the Iowa City area, visit one of these restaurants on Friday, March 5, 2021 to help support CommUnity Food Bank as part of Restaurant Week:
- Bluebird Diner is donating 5% of proceeds from ALL sales
- Wildwood is donating 10% of proceeds from their Phish Fry from 5-9pm
- Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fired Pizza is donating 10% of carry out orders from 5-9pm
Unplugging is one great way to recharge. However, there are times when one day, week, or month isn’t enough to feel refreshed. If this sounds like you, please know that you are not alone. CommUnity offers a range of support programs if you feel like you need a listening ear. If you need to talk, call or text 1-855-325-4296, chat at IowaCrisisChat.org, or call 1-855-800-1239 and ask to speak with Mobile Crisis.