Unplugging from Technology {Why you need a Break}

It is no secret that we live in a generation where we are constantly connected to our phones and computers.  With just a touch of a button we can instantly get in contact with just about anyone.  While there are many benefits to technology, being constantly available and connected to these platforms can become exhausting.  Unplugging from technology can provide a well needed rest from the busy pace of life.

We as a society are finding it harder and harder to be without our cell phones, Ipads, and laptops.

If we don’t have data on our phones we tap into the nearest wifi. We have the latest news right at our fingertips.  We can research just about anything.  So we do.  And we make sure we have our cell phones in our pocket or hand as often as possible so that at a moment’s notice we can do all these things.  And I say all of this knowing I am guilty of being too connected, not knowing when to take a break.

Recently my family and I went away for 5 days to an off-grid location.  We spent the week without any internet and very limited cell phone service.  You COULD send a text out if you stood in the right spot and held your breath while standing on one foot :), but unless it was absolutely necessary it wasn’t worth the trouble.

The first day I found myself a little fidgety.  Like I was missing out on something if I couldn’t connect.  What if I got a message from somebody and couldn’t respond right away? What if someone commented on my blog and I couldn’t reply?  Please tell me you can relate and it isn’t just me. 🙂

And then, as time went on I quickly found myself feeling no need to be connected to the internet and phone.  Actually, not only did I find no need, I started to enjoy it.  I had been feeling exhausted with everything on my plate lately, and it was a relief to be able to not worry about staying up-to-date on any new happenings I might otherwise feel obligated to sign up for.  I love chatting on messenger with people that live far away and I can not see regularly, but my heart needed a time to be quiet as well.

unplugging from technology

So many mornings while off-grid I sat out on a big rock in front of the lake with my coffee cup in hand, just soaking in the silence.  I was alone with only the birds singing, the wind blowing through the trees, and my own thoughts that I could actually hear without the noise of technology at my fingertips.  I felt so refreshed.

All this to say, sometimes we need to unplug from technology.  It can help us re-focus and gain a new perspective.  We can lose sight of our priorities under the weight of all we feel we need to do in our everyday lives, and stepping away from the internet and cell phones can help us do this.  It can give us clarity on changes we want to make in our lives and what we want to pour our energy into.

I had been missing the “moments” in my life.  You know, those everyday moments that involve walking among the lilac bushes, chats on the couch with your children, time with a spouse, baking or sharing a good book together.  These days with my young family will be gone before I know it, and I don’t want to miss those opportunities because I give in to the pull of other priorities often calling my name through email, messages, and social media.

It is OKAY to be unavailable temporarily.  You do NOT need to respond to every message, e-mail, and call as quickly as they come in.  Yes, it is good to get back to people in  timely manner, but it is okay to give yourself time to breathe first.  It is okay to go out and walk among the freshly bloomed lilac bushes, or play a game with your children, or read some of your favorite book which will make you temporarily unavailable.

When I got home the first thing I did was take the Facebook Messenger app off my phone.  I can easily check my messages when I get a minute to sit at my computer.  I don’t need to be able to check and respond to my messages at every moment of every day.

Our brains need time to rest and recover from all the demands pulling us in various directions. I noticed a change in my mood when I was disconnected from the grid.  Actually, when I finally did check in and saw the pile of messages, emails, and notifications waiting for me, I instantly felt my stress level rise.  But I am using this break I had to re-evaluate how to balance my time, and that includes allowing myself more time to respond to messages and being okay with saying no to some of those requests.

Unplugging from technology also has the awesome benefit of more sleep.  Many of us are checking messages or browsing the internet before bed, and before we know it the plan to browse for “just a few minutes” has now turned into an hour.

You don’t have to go to an off-grid location to unplug from technology.  You can do it right where you are (though a little getaway sure helps along that peaceful feeling.:) ) You just need to commit to really taking a break, whether it be for a few hours, a day, a week, or a month.  Make a plan to help yourself succeed.

You can also just have a certain time each day where you disconnect.  Maybe you are homeschooling your children and need to be able to focus more, or maybe you work from home and need social media to be less of a distraction, or maybe you want to commit to a daily jog each day and don’t want to be distracted by the computer or cell phone.  You can decide to “unplug” for a few hours each day to maximize your productivity.

There are many programs you can add to your phone or computer these days that help you manage your time on social media or the Internet in general. If you use Chrome, you can download Stayfocusd.  If you use Firefox you can download Leechblock.

For an app for your phone, download AppDetox or OfftheGrid for Android, or if you have an iphone you can download Freedom or In the Moment.

Or, you can give your electronics to your spouse and tell them not to give them back to you under any circumstances for however many hours or days.  Or better yet, make it a family affair and have your spouse and even your kids put away their electronics for a short time.

My 6 year declared as we left our off-grid location that he liked not having TV.  Of course, not enough to commit to giving it up for good, 🙂  but he enjoyed his time exploring and playing without technology. Sometimes we don’t give kids enough credit.  We think they can’t live without their devices.  They may have a day or two where they are a little grumpy over the whole thing, but they will eventually turn that frustration into finding fun and creative ways to entertain themselves.

Kids can definitely benefit from a technology break.  Their little brains can get tired and overloaded too, just like us.

So, why not unplug from technology to give yourself a break?  Or if unplugging completely from technology is not what you want to do, why not consider just unplugging from social media for a short time?  Enjoy the benefits of unplugging and make time for things you may have been missing without technology as a distraction.



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