As a social media director for an online news outlet I work with technology all day…ALL DAY. I absolutely enjoy what I do and each morning I look forward to coming to work. But by the end of the day I’m not only ready to call it quits and go home, I’m also ready to unplug from social media. Because honestly, there are times it simply drives me nuts. I’m thankful I’ve been blessed with the ability to hold my tongue. Although I think at times it would be good if I just spoke my mind. There are some real idiots out there. Anyway…
Unplugging from technology is healthy. It’s a habit I continue to develop. Getting out for a hike is one way I unplug, but I also need to learn to unplug when I’m not hiking.
It’s been proven that too much social media and technology can have a negative affect on our overall health. And it has a big impact on anxiety and depression disorders. I know for myself if I spend too much time reading the negative posts from people who seem to hate life or are constantly negative, it has a negative impact on me. I get irritable, anxious and even frustrated. If my anxiety kicks in from being on social media I quickly unplug and walk away. I’ve also learned to say; “what really matters is taking place in real life right in front of me.”
The study’s social media statistics explain why people may be feeling more overwhelmed and anxious. Of users between the ages of 18-34, 61% said they are juggling multiple accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to name a few.) An average of 31 minutes or more was found to be the amount of time spent checking these accounts daily. This also includes personal email. The study found people now average 3.1 email address accounts, up from 2.6 accounts last year.
So here at Hike By Faith we promote unplugging from technology and getting outside. Spending time in nature can help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
Now, let me be clear, you don’t have to suddenly become a hardcore hiker or backpacker. If you’ve never hiked I don’t advise strapping on a full backpack and heading out for a one or two night journey. Hiking is something anyone of any age can do and it doesn’t mean killing yourself and over doing it.
One of the strongest ways hiking can relieve stress is through relaxation. Although hiking is aerobic exercise, it need not be strenuous, so it can help tremendously in promoting relaxation through a direct experience of nature up close. The American Public Health Association confirms that just being around nature is enough to markedly increase in relaxation, which helps relieve stress. By hiking on a nature trail or in another natural setting, you can disassociate with the stresses of everyday life and focus instead on the wonder of reality around you.
While hiking is an excellent way to relieve stress, it is important to always be prepared on a hike. You can check our archive for articles on proper planning. Bring a first aid kit, extra water and a mobile phone that gets reception in the area. Neglecting to bring any of these will result in a stress increase, not decrease, should an accident occur.