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Benefits of Unplugging & Having a Tech-Free Day

We are more connected than ever before. Well, by technology anyway. We have more access to information and resources through tech and social media. This keeps us “connected” with friends, family and perhaps people who we may have lost contact with otherwise. Technology and social media can increase the speed of dissemination of information with relevant news or law enforcement postings and be wonderful in sharing of relevant info. However, we are also exposed to so much negativity and it can actually pull us further away from our connections with people in front of us and in the present moment. This is especially true when the use of technology or social media is not done in moderation or awareness of the negative exposure is not better monitored.

Most of the latest research regarding our use of technology and with social media, in particular, has indicated several negative impacts on self-esteem, depression, anxiety, body image, unhealthy sleeping patterns, addiction and cyberbullying. While there can be both benefits and negative impacts of technology and social media, it’s important to understand that occasional breaks can be very helpful. This goes for children’s screen time as well. This National Day of Unplugging is a good reminder to all of us, to take a much-needed break from tech.

Here are some benefits of unplugging:

Let’s us connect to people in the moment

The irony is that social media can keep us connected to people at a distance, but sometimes we can lose focus and connection with people right in front of us. Taking a brief break, allows you to be present, in the moment and connect with people in your life. Not being focused on your phone, allows you to be more aware, mindful and in tune with the present moment.

Increases personal growth

When we take breaks from technology, it can help us to focus on activities that are focused on our personal growth and development. This will give you an opportunity, for example, to go for a hike and leave your phone turned off so that you can fully enjoy being present in nature. You can also work on journaling or another activity that helps in the expression of emotions, such as practicing gratitude. Not being glued to our phones allows us the opportunity to engage in self-love and self-care as well as living with more intention and meaning in your day-to-day.

Less comparison to others

People may not realize that when they see images of other people’s lives, they can often compare this to their own. So taking a break from social media allows for “out of sight, out of mind.” This takes away that unconscious desire to compare ourselves to others. We stop looking at photos or videos of others and comparing them to our own lives. This comparison can really bring down mood and self-esteem without even realizing it. Taking that much-needed break will allow you to focus on yourself and what brings you happiness in your own life.

More free time

When we are not glued to our phones, tablets or computers, we have more time to do other stuff! You could set up a game night with your family or friends or you could go see a movie. There are lots of fun activities that take us away from being on our phones or computers. Many of these hobbies and fun activities can bring us more meaning and happiness in our lives.

Increases communication

Often times, when we are present in the moment with people in our lives and increase our connection, we are also more thoroughly engaged and increase levels of communication. Not being glued to our phones, allows us the opportunity to talk and engage with the people we are with and have more meaningful connections with others. This encourages a higher rate of engagement with those around us.

Gives a moment to recharge

This gives you an opportunity to rest your body and mind from technology. We often don’t realize how consuming news, social media, and graphic images can be. Usually, people feel refreshed and recharged once they get a brief break.

Improves sleep

Many studies show that the use of phones and other technology can impact our sleep and this is especially true when we use devices right before going to bed. Images, stories and even the phone light can stimulate our brain and when this happens before bedtime, it can be challenging to calm down and fall asleep. It’s best to begin a nighttime routine without the use of screens.

Ideas to get Started:

  • Set up rules for tech-free family dinner or game night. Everyone can place their phones in a bowl or central location so that they all agree to enjoy the evening together.

  • Have a tech-free weekend; Go on a family camping trip; Go see a movie.

  • Put your phone away and on silent when you’re with friends and family and try not to pull it out to check it until you’re done with your activity.

  • Set up a calendar reminder every week or every month to take a few hours off.


 

Blog written by: Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach & Founder of the Loving Roots Project, an online wellness practice specializing in personal growth, mental wellness, & relationship betterment.

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