The benefits of unplugging from electronics

Mar 14, 2019


Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.  
     –Christian Lous Lange 

Having a healthy relationship with technology is an important part of today’s world, but how do you know if you need to unplug? Do you check your work mail at the dinner table or in bed? Are you constantly scrolling through social media to see what others are doing? Technology has provided huge strides in information sharing and helping humanity to solve big problems. Unfortunately, it can also cause stress, loneliness, physical ailments and sleep deprivation. Using technology at the right level can be tricky, especially in today’s super-connected environment. Unplugging and taking some time to reconnect with yourself and be present in the activities taking place around you can be incredibly valuable.   

Here are a few benefits to unplugging from technology: 

  • Reduce stress – Both your brain and your body need to recover from your day at work. Being “on” 24/7 isn’t healthy for your mind, body or spirit. Take time to reconnect with yourself by unplugging from work-related technology after work hours. Once you get home, technology for work use should stop.  
  • Discover time – It’s amazing what you can do when you’re not glued to your phone or computer. Think about how much time you spend scrolling through your phone or tablet checking social media, surfing the internet or staring at the TV? Now, imagine what else you could do with all that time! Take a class, connect with friends (in person), go for a walk or simply spend some quality time with family. Those little snippets of time all add up!  
  • Physical health – It’s not good for your body to be hunched over your phone or at your desk staring at a screen for hours. Your brain, eyes, neck, hands, arms and back can all experience strain, especially if you’re at the office all day and get right back to being on technology when you get home. Giving your body a break from technology can have a noticeable effect on your physical health. Couple this with the time you’ll save and you could enjoy a physical activity like walking, jogging, hiking or biking to give your body even more of a reason to thank you for the tech break.  
  • Mental health – Social media can allow feelings like loneliness, depression, envy, jealously and dissatisfaction to grow and fester. Taking a break from seeing what others are doing or have, and focusing on being grateful for what you have, is important. It’s also a good idea to recognize that what’s on social media is not always an accurate representation of someone’s life, and comparing yourself and your posts to them is not a healthy practice. 
  • Be present – There’s so much going on in the world. Embrace precious moments with loved ones and friends by being present with them. Enjoy your life instead of reading about someone else’s. In fact, you might find that when you commit to being in the moment, you don’t even miss checking your technology for emails, posts and messages. 

Those are just a few of the benefits to unplugging, and there are so many more, but how do you do unplug when everything is online? Here are some tips to get the break from technology you need: 

  • Be realistic – Obviously, you won’t be able to totally disconnect every evening. Our phones are how we connect with people to communicate vital information. If you need to text your spouse, get an update on your child’s homework or look up information online like directions, it’s ok! Do what you can. If you want to really detox, then take a deeper look at where you can realistically unplug for an extended period. For example, you might need to use technology at work, but may choose to stay off social media all together or cut out most technology use at home.  
  • Do not disturb – So many of us sleep with our phones next to our bed. For many of us, they’re our morning alarm clocks and the only phone in the house. It’s fine to have your phone nearby, but those constant all-hours dings and notifications, coupled with the blue glow phones emit, can put a serious cramp in your beauty sleep. Make sure to schedule “do not disturb” hours so that your phone doesn’t wake you with unnecessary updates.  
  • Start your day another way – Since our phones are right next to our beds and we shut off the alarm in the morning phone in-hand, it’s so tempting to hop onto social media moments after opening our eyes! Try to resist that urge. Get up and start your day another way that focuses on you. Enjoy a morning run, make breakfast or simply open the windows for some fresh morning air. Avoiding technology first thing in the morning can start your day off in a better place.  
  • Make a schedule – Who doesn’t love a little TV or video game time? It’s totally fine! Set a schedule and some time limits for these activities. Maybe video games are allowed three times a week? Perhaps TV is capped at an hour a day? Maybe no social media checking is allowed after 8 p.m.? How about swapping bedtime TV for reading? Whatever you do to keep your technology consumption in check, hold yourself accountable.   

There’s no doubt that unplugging from technology can provide significant benefits. It’s better for your mind, body and spirit to allow breaks from the many devices we have. If you put some realistic goals in place and couple that with a few small habit changes, you might find that reducing technology use and unplugging throughout the day can create a healthier and happier lifestyle.