Take a Technology Break: Unplug to Unwind This Monday

Break free from technology. Find relief by shutting off that smartphone.

It’s a source of pride to be “plugged in” to daily life. Whether you’re using technology to follow pop culture or the news, or it’s helping you do your job and keep up with friends, being tethered to our smartphones and computers keeps us in the loop every second of the day. But is that a good thing?

Think about this: It’s Monday. You should feel refreshed and ready for a new week. But how much time were you spending online this weekend, scrolling through social media and clicking on links, getting a little extra work done, and seeing what everyone else was doing? Do you really feel refreshed, or did the weekend feel as crazy as your work week? If you feel like the latter, it’s time to unplug and take a technology break.

Technology has made us available and connected to the world every waking moment, but it’s affecting our moods and how our brains function. We may think that we’re getting a lot done by multitasking, but we’re really putting minimal effort into the maximum number of things. In the end, it’s not as productive as we believe. Research by Stanford University says that people who multitask only seem to be doing multiple things at one time. The brain can only handle one line of information; anything else will lessen the brain’s ability to process that information. So when we’re on our computers while watching TV, we really aren’t paying attention to the TV or the computer.

Maybe you aren’t multitasking, you’re merely checking emails or scrolling through news feeds while on the couch. You’re still feeding your brain constant information, and you’re not allowing it to focus, concentrate, or rest. Many of us can probably say that we’ve spent entire afternoons on social media or the internet without even realizing it. Of course we want to keep up with our family and friends, but is the fear of missing out (FOMO) making us actually miss out?

Taking a technology break, even a temporary one, will recharge your brain and get rid of a lot of mental clutter. You don’t need to switch to a completely off-the-grid lifestyle, but you do owe it to yourself to unplug and give your brain a rest. Here are a few tips for unplugging:

Get Your Tech Out of the Bedroom.

Many people bring their electronic devices to bed with them, but the light from tablet, phone, and computer screens is disruptive to the body’s natural circadian rhythms. Instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, get a clock radio. Make a habit of shutting down earlier every night and leave your devices in another room. Having a TV in the bedroom has the same negative effects and getting that out of the room will not only improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, but your sex life as well!

Physically Move Your Phone and Computer Away From You.

If you find yourself constantly reaching for your electronic devices, make them less accessible. Charge your phone in a corner of the house where you don’t go very often. Or designate a tech-free zone where you can do something without the distraction, keeping your computer in a dedicated work space. The key isn’t to rid yourself of all your technology, it’s just to keep your mind concentrated on one thing at a time.

Let Everyone Know You’re Going Off the Grid.

One of the biggest reasons everyone cites for always being online is to keep tabs on friends and family on social media. If we don’t check in, will they think something is wrong? What if we miss something important while we’re disconnected? First, remind yourself that if something truly spectacular is happening, someone will probably get in touch with you directly. Second, drop everyone a quick line saying you won’t be available while you’re taking your technology break.

It’s perfectly acceptable to live a life offline for a little while. If you can get past the initial withdrawal – we promise, you can – you will find the way to thinking more clearly and getting a lot more done. Your overworked brain will thank you!

Want more sleep tips?

Our Healthy Monday Sleep Well package offers ten weeks of helpful practices designed to help you develop healthy habits and sleep better, one Monday at a time.