In this tech-forward day and age, it can be tough to get away and truly unplug. We've become accustomed to immediate gratification, quick loading times, and communication access to everyone across the globe with a simple click of a button. For some, the instant knowing is great, but for others, the expectation to be connected can be quite draining.
How many of you have received frantic messages or back-to-back calls when you don't answer your phone? 🙋🏽 Well, if you're anything like me, my phone is barely with me after work hours, and on silent most of this time, so unplugging is definitely a bit easier. But what about for those of us who have our phones on us 24-7? How does this affect our inner peace and wellbeing? It can't be healthy to always have incoming distractions or interruptions, whether wanted or not.
Benefits of Unplugging
Here are some of my favorite reasons why it's vital to unplug:
- Importance of Solitude: Being alone allows us to discover our own thoughts and emotions as well as our inner voice. This is important for learning to trust and develop our intuition, self-reflection, gaining a deeper understanding of who we are, and even increased creativity. Some serious uninterrupted alone time can also do wonders for our productivity and ability to complete deep work, as well as provide the rest our brain needs in an overstimulated world.
- Being Present in the Moment: Unplugging from our devices allows us the opportunity to be fully present in the moment and what we are experiencing right now. Whether it's spending time with family or friends, driving to and from work (it's crazy how many drivers I see on their cell phones daily!), or going for a walk, unplugging helps eliminate distractions that take us away from the only moment we truly have: the present.
- Creation Rather than Consumption: Are you creating or consuming? Take a look at your day and you'll notice that your time is spent doing one of these two things. When we unplug from social media, instant messaging, and TV, we open the door for creation rather than mindless consumption. We open the door to our passions and unique contributions that only we can offer the world.
- Stress Reduction: Studies have shown that regular breaks from technology significantly correlate with stress reduction. I think we've all seen a work-related email after hours, or worse right before going to bed, which made it difficult to not think about work when we should be focused on rest and relaxation. How can we destress if we never truly get a break? If there's no separation between work and life?
- Sleep Disturbance: Everyone knows that bright screens can disrupt our body's natural circadian rhythms, leading to disturbed, broken sleep and waking up feeling tired and groggy.
- Brain Optimization: Our brain needs breaks to function at its best. Without downtime to rest and recharge, it's difficult for our brain to learn new skills, retain information and, more importantly, grow. Even a 5-minute break from our screens during the workday to take a short walk or simply stare out the window can be effective in reducing cognitive load and optimizing brain function.
Tips to Help You Disconnect
Ready to unplug? Just a few minutes of tech-free time a day can work wonders. Here are some tips to get you started!
- Tech-Free in the Morning and Evening. Give yourself at least 5-minutes (10-15 is better!) of tech-free time when you first wake up in the morning and right before going to sleep at night. This gives your mind a chance to set your intentions for the day and also relax and reflect on your day at night. Believe me, this can be more powerful than you think ;)
- Pick a Period of the Day to Power Down. Choose a 15-20 minute period to power down during the day and try not to look at your smartphone or computer. This can be while you eat, work out, or simply daydream. Whatever you choose to do with this time, make sure it's beneficial for your wellbeing in some way and strictly screen-free!
- Release FOMO. One of the major reasons many of us find it difficult to unplug is due to the fear of missing out. With everything at our fingertips today, it can be easy to feel like we're always missing out on a cool event, viral video, or outing with friends. But the truth is, we are only missing out on the present moment. Trust that you will be a part of what you're meant to be a part of, and release the need to experience it all.
- Create Something. What exactly are you going to do with all of this free time you ask? Well, for starters, create something! Draw a picture. Write a book. Sing a song. Make a meal. Garden. Whatever it is that you love to do, get out there and do it. And if you don't know what you love, take a class or two and experiment. The possibilities are limitless!
- Tune In: Now that you have a break from focusing on the external, take some time to tune in and focus on the internal. Self-reflect. Free write. Meditate. Whatever tool you choose, spend time checking in with yourself daily and reflect on your day. The growth will be exponential!
How will you unplug today?
Love + Light,