Social Media provides us humans with a wealth of distractions. When you’re waiting for the train after work, slumped out on the sofa or even whilst you’re reading the morning papers – there seems to be enough social applications on your phone to keep your mind interactively entertained. Regularly checking our phones for updates has become habitual behaviour to many of us; so heavily conditioned that we quite frankly feel at a social loss when we are without our tiny digital devices. Many view going on holiday as a way to ‘unplug from life’. From jobs problems to family stresses, everyone has a reason why they want to escape to a sanctuary in the sun. However, unplugging can sometimes prove harder than you may think. A holiday is about looking around you to experience and enjoying life, not informing others about what you are doing online. Ask yourself, ‘Am I that person who posts daily pool pictures to Instagram when on holiday?’. If you answer yes, then unfortunately you are that person and let’s be honest, no-one likes that person’.
The Importance of Unplugging
However it is not too late to change. Many of us have fallen into the social media trap at some point in our lives to varying extents – we are all guilty! View your holiday as a healthy period of downtime. Using a smartphone to check social media all the time is in fact procrastinating from yourself; avoiding your mind and all the thoughts that it possesses. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (a psychological model of human desires), states that humans always will want to belong to something; a group, friendship, family – constantly affirming our own existence in this vast world. Social media is a very easy & lazy way to gratify this need of ours – through people ‘liking’ your posts on Facebook or loving on Instagram, retweeting you, following you etc. So with this in mind, remember also that when you are on holiday with your family, friends or loved ones – you are actually gratifying this humanistic need to belong IN REAL LIFE. You can touch, talk, cuddle, kiss, and laugh with these people in the physical realm in an environment where nothing else matters but that.
What Happens when you unplug
Your mind is given the opportunity to reset all of its filters when you unplug on a holiday. Like resting any muscle, disconnecting yourself from social media allows your mind to relax and recuperate. So on return from your vacation, you will have refreshed your attitude to social media also; being able to view streams of information in new ways. Humans who regularly interact with social media will experience something when they try to unplug on holiday, known as FOMO. Fear of Missing Out applies to certain people who have become so involved as to what their friends are posting, that they actually oversee the real-life experiences that are in front of them. By not disconnecting from social media on vacation, you are defeating the objective of the holiday itself; to let go and enjoy yourself with the company that you are with. If you think you are one of those people who become absorbed in their phones on holiday, just think about how your partner feels; no doubt it will end up creating friction in a relationship. In future, look towards creating real life stories and adventures instead of being bogged down by reading about other people’s online. A holiday gives you a valuable chance to escape from everything your usual life has to offer; presenting you with a plethora of fantastical opportunities in return. Let go and take it.