A digital detox: How to cope with our virtual realities

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Hi there, virtual Bears. As most of you know by now, we have been grounded for a while. We should not go outside of our homes unless it is absolutely necessary. We have switched to online classes for the rest of the semester. A lot of our spring and summer plans have been canceled. We should not congregate. Our ability to meet in large social gatherings has been squashed, especially if you are in California, Washington or New York. In short, the reality we once knew has changed for an indeterminate amount of time.

Moving forward, a lot of what we do will be, or already is, virtual. Prior to the COVID-19, or the coronavirus, outbreak, we constituted a generation that spends most of its time looking at a screen, living in somewhat of a virtual reality. Now, however, many of us are spending even more time looking at and acting directly with a screen. Our virtual realities have been maximized. While this may not make a significant difference for many of you, for others, this may be an uncomfortable transition. I am not one to enjoy spending so much of my time in a virtual sphere indoors. I like real, physical human interaction and I like to be out for most of the day. I’m sure that others can relate to that.

Hopefully, we will be able to resume normal activities soon, but for now, that is not an option. We at the Clog understand the difficulties that come with spending so much time in a virtual world. So, below we have proposed a few ways to help folks cope with this present reality and remove themselves from the screen. 

Read 

This period is a great time to dive into those books, magazines, papers or journals you have been meaning to read. This may be an option that many of you have already turned to, so this can serve as a reminder. Make sure you are reading a physical copy. Although finding an electronic version may be easier, ordering your favorite book online only takes a few days to arrive, depending on your location.

Write

This is a great time to tap into the inner writer in all of us. Whether you are trying to be poetic, journalistic, novelistic, argumentative or flat-out creative, now is your chance. Explore and take some time to write on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil. I know, writing by hand — what a concept.

Cook

We are chefs by nature. We need to eat in order to survive, and most of us really enjoy eating food. So by that logic, we all know how to cook in some way, shape or form. Even if you are a bad cook, you have to know how to prepare food. So take these moments of “quarantime” to walk down the cooking avenue. If you’re a terrible cook, become a better one. If you’re an amazing cook, become an even greater one. The kitchen is a great place for creativity, so play with some old recipes that you may have and spice them up!

Make phone calls

I know, right, so old-fashioned in 2020. Why make a phone call when you can use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or simply text? Phone calls have become such an underrated tool. I mean, yes, many of us call each other, but when was the last time you sat down to have a long conversation on the phone with someone? Long phone calls definitely bring back the sweet memories of being in sixth grade, when talking on the phone with the homie was an event in and of itself. Let’s bring it back during this time. Plus, it’s a really good way to remove yourself from the screen while still being socially engaged, which is super important. Social distance, but not social isolation.

Take care of your health

Step away from your virtual world for just a bit and make sure to check in with yourself. See how you are doing emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. These are all components of your health that need to be taken good care of at all times but especially in moments like these. Spare some quiet time for yourself, do some exercises or stretches to keep your body in good health, drink lots of water, eat well and be kind to yourself and the ways that you are feeling. Do not put too much pressure on yourself to perform well in school right now. There are larger things going on, and as we should all understand by now, your health and well-being are the first priority. Taking care of yourself, fortunately, does not require a screen and can be a really good way to recenter.

Okay, that’s it for now. Please take care and make sure that you aren’t becoming completely consumed in the virtual world. Make sure to give yourself some time with the physical, material world around you. Ground yourself in where you are and find the beauty, opportunity and optimism in these trying times.

Contact Gina Wright [email protected].