Find the balance between staying connected and relaxing

Kerstin Gupilan

Photo Caption: Katie Chavarin
Photo Caption: Katie Chavarin

Cocaine, marijuana, heroine, crystal meth…iPhone?

A mobile phone doesn’t exactly top anyone’s list of addictive controlled substances. But with school, extracurricular activities, work, a social life and relationships, you, an average college student, have so much going on in your life that it can actually become quite dizzying and you just need that fix. With constant e-mail checks, Facebook wall posts, Twitter updates, text messages and countless other forms of communicating through a mobile phone, who needs a street corner dealer?

Let’s face it, we are all strangely attached to our mobile phones, and it doesn’t stop there.  With the easy access to constant communication with anyone and everyone it is difficult to remember the most important person in your life:  You.  As selfish and awful as this may sound, it’s completely true.

Think about it, if you don’t take the time to think about you and your own well-being, then how are you expected to even think of the well being of others?  All right, so that may be a little extreme, but still, the only benefit of “me time” is getting the chance to focus on yourself rather than everyone else. In the end, you’ll thank yourself for it.

The simplest way to ensure quality “me time” is to first get rid of any portable electronic communication devices, i.e. your cell phone and laptop.  The urge to want to keep in contact with friends and colleagues becomes a real distraction when you’re trying to focus on yourself. This should be substituted by engaging in activities that are generally done on a solo basis, but also revolve around your interests.

Reading has always been an easy and relaxing past time, so why not pick up the latest best-seller or an old favorite?  Revisiting a book you haven’t picked up in a while is like catching up with an old friend.  You know everything about the friend, and yet when you go back you tend to discover something new.  Not a fan of books?  There’s nothing wrong with picking up a fashion, sports or tabloid magazine. Whatever will get you to sit back and relax will do the job.  The point of reading an actual paper copy of these publications is to disconnect yourself from modern technology and focus on the task.

Not a fan of reading period?  More of a physical type? Go for a jog, take a walk, climb Mount Everest, it doesn’t matter what type of physical activity, just make sure it’s something you can do solo.  Engaging in physical activities is both mentally and physically beneficial. When you are keeping yourself healthy and doing something physically challenging alone you tend to rely on yourself for support and motivation.  You may eventually find the strength within yourself to pursue things that may be out of your comfort zone.

The idea of “me time” may scare people because it means you are doing something alone.  People rarely do anything alone.  Eat.  Shop. Go to the movies. Go anywhere.  There is the constant fear of judgment when anyone does anything alone.  It’s as though doing anything alone reflects on the type of person you are, whether that be undesirable or unapproachable.  But the answer to being alone isn’t a constant dependence on being connected to everyone in your life.  Finding the balance between spending time alone and being connected isn’t difficult.

All you have to do is put down the syringe, or in most cases, your cell phone.