Learn how to unplug from technology

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Quick Tips to Unplug From Technology

Sara Menges

Written by Sara Menges

Sara Menges

Sara Menges

Sara enjoys research, art, and seeking a sustainably fun life, balancing physical and mental health.

August 31, 2017 / Read Time 3 minutes

A Crash Course to Unplugging From Technology

Whether it's for work or social reasons, our constant connectivity can make us glued to our phones or computers. Go ahead, enjoy some offline activities or fully immerse in a weekend or vacation away from work every now and then. Read on to learn why you should unplug and how to go about it!

What You Can Gain from Unplugging

Although there are multiple online tools to support your workflow, technology addiction can actually reduce productivity. Trying out a "fast" from technology can increase your understanding of its influence on you when you observe how strong of a pull you feel to turn it back on. A constant urge to check social media sites or the rabbit hole of articles and posts we can easily slip into can harm our ability to be present and focused on any task at hand.

Being committed to unplugging from your devices in short spurts throughout the day can also prevent health problems linked to stress and sleep disorders. For instance, the blue light emitted from technological devices lowers production of the sleep hormone melatonin. One study on tablet users found it lowered melatonin production by 22 percent after two hours of screen-time. Constantly staring into screens can cause a strain on eyes that can lead to drowsiness and tension headaches.

Taking time to unplug from technology also encourages you to be outdoors in nature, allowing you to soak up the mental health benefits of being in green environments. Being active instead of in a chair, couch, or on your bed using a technological device can also support physical health and prevent weight gain.

Ways to Prepare for Unplugged Time

Before jumping into periods of offline time, especially if you usually are always online, a little preparation can go a long way. Whether you are choosing to dedicate specific period of times in your day, or are going on a vacation without your laptop, tell people who commonly get in touch with you in advance. Make it clear to others by communicating how long you will be offline, when you can be reached again, and the best method of communication during that time for emergencies. Creating this boundary for offline time is healthy even if others need time to get used to your new routine.

Here are extra tips to consider when setting up offline time as part of your daily routine or during your vacation:

  • Place blocks on your calendar to let others know you'll be offline at given times during the day

  • Set up auto-response messages for all your major communication methods clearly indicating when you will return

  • Delegate and/or ask for support of various tasks you are responsible for during your time away so questions or issues can be redirected to these key substitute people temporarily

  • Decide on some ground rules of how long you will be online for during your vacation if you really can't be 100% off the web and communicate these to everyone who needs to know

Tips to Stay Offline on Vacation

While it can be useful to set aside time to unplug from technology every day, a weekend or extended period of time away can be even more beneficial. Explore these tips to soak up as much offline time and benefits as possible:

  • To help resist the urge to check your social media or see what you "should" be doing on vacation, instead start off your vacation with zero social media and see how long you can last

  • Do all web-required research in advance of traveling including deciding what events and adventures to try and budgeting ahead to ensure you have all your monetary needs met upfront

  • Plan offline activities during your travels, take a stab at reading maps, and bring books and games to enjoy

  • Give meditation a shot while you're on vacation: Even if it's just observing your surroundings quietly, or closing your eyes for a quick breathing exercise, a few moments of mindfulness can add clarity to your day

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