Unplugging is the New Resting
You may have heard the phrase “unplugging from technology." It certainly has been a buzzword lately, most likely due to the copious amounts of screen time the average person accumulates in their lifetime. However, have you heard of it as a form of rest? Hmmm... (mentally insert the thinking emoji if you wish).
We talk a lot about our five pillars of wellness, and rest is one that many tend to overlook. Most of us define rest as sleep, which is a vital part of life (and will be a focus of a future blog post). But for the sake of today, let’s think of rest as a broader term, as a method to prime us for our best selves inside and out. Decluttering your mind is a catalyst for productivity, intention, and connection, and today we will take a look at several ways we can use unplugging from technology as a form of rest.
How Attached are You to Technology?
We are attached (almost literally) to our devices - our phones, laptops/computers, tablets...the list goes on. Many of us use them for work (yes, even us at Begin Within), which can provide us with a challenge of finding time to disconnect from them and connect with ourselves and our family and social circle. We may feel connected using social media, but are we connected in person with those we care about and with ourselves?
Take a few moments to answer the questions below:
When is the last time you...
took moments out of your day to check in with yourself and truly listen to what you want and need to be your ideal self?
woke up in the morning and did NOT immediately turn to your device to check your social media or email?
spent an hour with a friend and avoided checking your phone?
ate a meal with family and did not send a text or check social media?
had a time block at work where you avoided texting, emailing, or social media and instead dialed in on productivity and performance?
were waiting for ANYTHING (transportation, food at a restaurant, doctor’s appointment, dinner to cook, etc) and avoided using any technology?
If you are struggling to answer even one of these questions, read on! Rest or unplugging from technology looks different for everyone, yet it can be done. Let’s take a dive into unplugging from technology and plugging into intentionality with our lives.
One of the first steps to intentionally unplugging from technology is determining appropriate times where it will be useful. For example, if you use your phone for work and are expected to answer it in a timely manner, you cannot merely shut it off and have a time block to focus on productivity. In the same manner, if you work in social media, unplugging may look different for you, as you are expected to stay connected. Furthermore, if you are waiting for a phone call or text, you of course would not set aside your phone and hope for the best. Find appropriate but intentional time blocks where you can shut off your device or remove it from your sight without dire consequences.
Secondly, determine your “why” for unplugging. Is it because this article told you to do so? Yay for us but we truly want you to do this for yourself and your well-being, not because you feel the pressure. Maybe you have lost precious time with your children due to scrolling on social media instead of playing and growing with them. Perhaps you have not shared a meal with anyone lately without focusing on your phone. Maybe you have not opened a book for months. Perhaps you feel distant from others because your technology has become a solace for you. Whatever your reason, make your unplugging time important to you. Set the stage in your head; dive into the urgency of this time you need away from technology. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself.
Next, determine at least one time frame you are deciding to focus on as your time of unplugging along with a positive habit to replace the time spent on a device. Allow us the honor of providing a few suggestions:
Right when you wake up.
Avoid using your phone as an alarm clock, and instead find time to connect with your loved ones in the morning rather than looking at a screen. Or read a self development book. Or make a nutritious meal in the morning. Or meditate. Or exercise. Find an activity to replace your screen time that is positive and contributes to your wellness in some form.
In times of waiting.
Waiting at the bus stop. Waiting for a meeting to begin. Waiting for your appointment. Walking to your car. Standing in line at the grocery store. Don’t be so quick to look at your screen. There is so much in life to experience around us! Use times of waiting as a chance to connect with yourself. Check in on your mental health. Check in on how you feel. Think about what your mind and body need. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first! Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Family and social time.
One of our other pillars is connection, and that is not just within ourselves but with those we care about. Be intentional with the time you spend with others. Make eye contact. Listen and not merely hear them. Learn about others and from others. Lead by example. You may not realize others need this unplugging time too, and they may learn from you!
Time blocks at work.
If your career allows, unplug for a specified time period to hone in on what you need to accomplish. This could be as short as 15 minutes or as long as a few hours. Put it into your schedule and stick with it! Avoid social media and email during this time. You may amaze yourself with what you achieve!
If you have not attempted this before or in a while, give this a try. Turn off your devices the last hour you are awake and replace them with a calming, winding-down activity. A few examples may be reading a self development book or leisure reading, doing some gentle stretching or foam rolling, spending time in meditation or prayer, or spending quality time with loved ones in your household. Activities that do not qualify in our eyes? Strenuous exercise, switching to a different technological device (e.g. switching from your phone to your tablet - please no cheating!), or anything that distracts you from or will interrupt your true rest of sleep. Cutting the screen time down before bed will also allow for better sleep due to less blue light exposure - bonus!
You may find one or some of these tips are relevant to your current lifestyle and may want to incorporate them. Or perhaps you have determined another important time frame in your day where unplugging is more useful. Either way, we hope these ideas bring some peace of mind (pun intended) to your life as you focus on unplugging more from technology and connecting more in life.
Use some of your designated screen time to connect with us! Click here.
Jessica Corkin is a certified personal trainer at Begin Within. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and has spent the last seven years working in the fitness and wellness industry. When she is not virtually training clients, she enjoys strength training, running, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and dog.
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