Time to Unplug
If you are currently reading this, you are likely “guilty” of being plugged in. Technology makes it easier to instantly communicate with friends and family, check and respond to work emails all while running errands. We constantly have access to research, travel details, contact info, shopping options and so much more. With the chaos of today’s fast-paced, competitive society, there comes a need to constantly stay plugged into our cell-phones, computers, laptops, tablets, TVs and other electronics.
This endless epidemic of over-stimulation and sensory overload is among the leading causes of mental, psychological and physical health issues including:
- Sense of isolation
- Pain in the back and neck
- Vision problems
- Hearing loss
- Inept social skills
- Cognitive losses
- Emotional disconnect
Due to the noticeable technological demand on each individual, it is more important than ever to determine coping skills that will allow each of us to unplug. In his article The Importance of Unplugging, author Mike Robbins highlights appropriate steps to try to detach a bit from technology. These steps include taking inventory of the negative impact of technology in your life. Challenge yourself to take conscious breaks,” and “unplug together.”
Here are a few ways to put it into practice and begin on your unplugged journey.
Challenge 1 (Beginner)
Goal: Shut off all electronics at least 1 hour before bed.
Try This: Turn off your TV, ipad, computer, phone and any other electronic devices. If you can’t turn off your phone, put it in a room where it’s out of reach but may be heard in case of emergency. During the hour, unwind and prepare for bedtime. Try to read a book, meditate, have a cup of tea or take a warm bath.
Challenge 2 (Intermediate)
Goal: Shut off electronics for 1 more hour and replace with active time for the whole family (in addition to your 1 hour before bed).
Try This: As soon as you wake up, you get home from work/school or after dinner, place ALL electronics in a basket or bin that is out of reach of grabby hands. Replace this typically hectic time with time to reconnect with yourself and your family. Try taking time for self-care through healthy lifestyle habits such as exercise, a massage, listening to music or doing your favorite hobby. For the whole family, you may try cooking as a team, playing outside or simply sitting and chatting.
Challenge 3 (Advanced)
Goal: Shut off electronics for the whole day or the weekend.
Try This: Turn off electronics and stow away the night before bedtime. Make it a point to have an agenda of things to do that will cultivate heartfelt positivity for you and your loved ones. Enjoy the simple things of life. Try treating yourself to a cup of joe on your patio while you write in a gratitude journal or practice yoga in a quiet room. Include the whole family by planning a weekend camping trip or a neighborhood dinner party in which the kids can help decorate and invite a friend.
– Casey Edmonds, CHC