I Attempted To Unplug For Two Weeks And Never Felt More Free

This past year was real. Real stressful and real busy. I was not #winning; rather I feel like I was surviving. As the months went on it became abundantly clear that I had to get off this hamster wheel I was on.

This blog of mine has been a creative outlet for me while I covered the 2016 election but it wasn’t enough. Thankfully I was fortunate to take two weeks off from work to recharge and it really opened my eyes.

I was (beyond) fortunate to be accepted into the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media a few weeks ago. In the beginning of December, I travelled to St. Petersburg, Florida and met the most amazing journalists of my life. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me because I really needed to learn additional leadership and management skills.

Then I went to the Dominican Republic for a (very) much needed one week vacation with my mom. It was my fifth time there so I knew exactly what I wanted to do — drink on the beach, that’s it lol. I was so disconnected from the outside world that the only service I had was on the app Snapchat! It was amazing to “unplug.”

Here’s what I discovered when you stop looking at your email, Slack, Twitter, Facebook, etc etc.

Photography: Osha Waiters
Photography: Osha Waiters

YOU MISS A LOT, YET NOTHING AT ALL

While I was digitally gone, Kanye met with Trump, my company’s union negotiations went through a rough time and Russia hacked the U.S. When you’re gone, especially away from work, a lot tends to happen but things don’t necessarily fall apart. I was so worried before I left about missing big important stuff. But what really mattered was my ability to take the time to relax.

LIFE WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA IS A LIFE WORTH LIVING

I’ve been on social media since I was 13-years-old. Honestly I never loved it. Of course it’s super helpful and imperative for me as my job as a journalist, but I miss the peacefulness of my life before my social notifications took over. I was only able to update my friends on the drinks I was indulging in on the beach through Snapchat. It was marvelous. I didn’t know the trending hashtag of the day, I didn’t know you could go Live on Instagram now, I didn’t know about any metro delays. I felt free and it made me realize I need a lot more social media free days in 2017.

TAKE A NEWS BREAK

Working in news means I can’t escape even the most happiest or depressing stories. This past year I’ve covered more hate crimes, shootings, election foolishness than I ever thought I would. The only thing I’ve watched on T.V. these past two weeks were the essentials: TLC, Bravo and Lifetime haha. I saw no breaking news logos pop up on screen and no one (seriously) crying in interviews. I think, even as a journalist, that it’s important for us all to be educated and knowledgeable on world events but to know when to step back and take a break.

Later this week I’ll have a post about burnout and stress because I think we all need to have a more relaxing 2017.

Below are some of my personal favorite things to buy when I need a little relaxation.

Stay driven.

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