Technology has connected us in amazing ways. We’re able to join online communities and ask for advice from experts from around the world. See the face of a friend living miles away. Work remotely while on holiday. Stream movies off our phones while on transit. Make money without ever leaving our homes. Have clothing, or pizza, or groceries delivered straight to our doors. In many ways, almost anything we could ever need is right at our fingertips.
Despite the convenience of the internet, social media, and technology gadgets, technology can be terribly draining on our personal batteries. It turns out that constantly being plugged in, eyes glued, and fingers tapping, could have negative impacts on our mental and physical health.
There are many benefits that can be garnered from simply taking a break from technology every now and then. Here are 7 reasons to unplug from technology.
1. Destress from work.
Employees used to only be available during their regular work hours. Once the end of a shift hit, they would go home and focus on the other part of their life instead. But with the introduction of email, social media, and texting, we are virtually available 24/7. Now, it seems like work thoughts have a way of lingering around, like a bad smell in the fridge.
Even if you turn off your Slack or Outlook notifications, there’s always that temptation to check the apps anyway, just in case.
Continuing to communicate with colleagues and clients after work not only creates additional stress, it also doesn’t allow your brain to take a break from work in the first place to truly recharge.
2. Be more productive.
You may call it “multi-tasking” but going back and forth between watching Netflix, answering emails, texting, and having a conversation with your partner isn’t all that productive if you’re never fully present in any of your tasks.
Focus on one task to complete at a time and close the rest of the tabs, apps, and gadgets that are running and serving as a mere distraction. You will find that working in a minimal and distraction-free setting will ultimately make you more productive in the long run. Plus, imagine how much time you will save if you’re not checking Facebook or Instagram every minute to see what is new.
3. Be more present.
Focusing ever-so-intently on our screens or what is coming out of our headphones, it’s easy to miss the amazing things that are happening all around us on a day-to-day basis. Unplug from technology and allow yourself to truly appreciate whatever is in front of you, whether that be your dog, a hike, a book, a delicious meal, or your best friend.
Pay attention to the authentic and unfiltered experiences that are unfolding around you. If you’re too busy staring at your screen, you might miss them.
4. Give your eyes a break.
It seems like everywhere you look these days, there’s a screen demanding to be stared at. Whether it is a mobile phone, desktop monitor, television, menu, or billboard sign, we sure have grown attached to our shiny, high-res, 4k resolution displays. Although there isn’t long-term evidence that screen use can damage your eyesight, LCD screens give off harsh blue UV light. Combined with how close we look at screens and how long we use them for, the results can be eye strain, eye fatigue, blurry vision, and headache.
Screen-induced eye strain even has its own name: computer vision syndrome. To avoid this discomfort that makes it harder for you to get your work done, take regular screen breaks. It’s good for your eyes, as well as for your well-being.
5. Get a better night’s sleep.
Studies have shown that those heavily dependant on technology are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders, which can lead to stress, depression, and weight gain. Not only does the harsh light emitted by screens stimulate our senses rather than relax them, the light off of our tablets and phones could lead to reduced levels of serotonin, and serotonin is the sleep hormone that helps us get a good night’s sleep.
Exchange your nightly television show for a book to get a better night’s sleep.
6. Curb your addiction.
You may have heard people say that social media is the new tobacco because of how frequently everyone is on it each day. We’re on our phones while eating, watching TV, on transit, driving (not recommended or legal), and even in the bathroom.
Studies show that this addiction partially comes from the fact that every time we see a form of engagement on our social media channels, we get a rush of excitement that is similar to the feeling of playing slot machines in a casino. This little rush keeps you revisiting social media apps in hopes of getting that same feeling again.
If you’re feeling a constant pull to check social media and don’t feel the same without your phone on you, perhaps it’s time to take a break before your little amusement becomes an obsession. The next time you feel the need to check your Instagram for no reason at all, note this feeling and opt for something offline instead.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Every time you go online you are bombarded with content from everyone you know: plates of drool-worthy food, vacation photos, family outings, and awesome outfits. The feeling you get from seeing these types of images has scientifically been called FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. Instead of bringing us together, social media has the tendency to make us feel lonely, jealous, inadequate, pessimistic, and even depressed. The lives we see on social media are artificially constructed, meaning people only post snapshots of what they want others to see. Despite knowing this, we still can’t help comparing our lives to what we see online.
Powering off from technology gives you the chance to refocus your gratitude and appreciation for your own life and those around you.
Instead of sneaking glances at your phone whilst with friends, answering emails late into the night, binge-watching season after season of television show, and posting photos of everything that happens to you, why not try unplugging from technology? Have a conversation in person, meditate, cook a meal, read a book, go for a walk, or stretch instead. We could all benefit mentally and physically in some way from taking a break from technology, especially after work hours. Hey, unplugging from technology may just leave you feeling recharged.
We’ve love to hear some ways you unplug from technology! Let us know in the comments below.