5 reasons to unplug from your electronic devices
I’m going to sound like a little old lady today, but I remember a time when I couldn’t be reached 24/7, when I didn’t see constant updates about the health condition of my former Kindergarten classmate’s cat, and when I didn’t receive breaking news on the relationship status of a girl who I maybe sat near once in a study hall a decade ago.
Yep. Somehow I muddled through and lived to talk about it.
Believe it or not, the memories that I have of my childhood (where owning a monster-sized computer that only allowed you to play Oregon Trail) are actually more vivid than some of my more recent memories.
So, why do I recall playing outside at recess with my childhood friends in the third grade more clearly than a dinner that I had with some girlfriends a month ago?
It is because I actually lived through that time on the playground- meaning, I was present. I was aware. I was in the moment, I was making memories.
When you’re sitting at a dinner table snapping pictures with your phone, posting them on Instagram, and then checking every two seconds to see how many “likes” your photo has received, it is kind of difficult to be present.
We live in a time when we’re constantly connected to the entire world, yet we are completely disconnected from the most important people in our own worlds.
Our first unplugged date night
A few weeks ago, my husband, who owns just about every electronic device known to man, forgot his phone at home when we went on a dinner date. He was unconnected, unaware of the latest happenings on Facebook, and it was wonderful. I had my phone with me but vowed only to use it to take a couple of pictures for the blog, so we ended up just totally enjoying our food and each other’s company.
Last week, we went on another date, and when we pulled up to the restaurant, MT told me that he was going to leave his phone in the car. I was so excited (and extremely flattered considering how being without his phone must have felt like missing a limb for two hours).
Don’t get me wrong- technology can be an amazing thing. Through it, I have been able to repair old relationships, contact childhood friends, keep up with family members whom I don’t see very often, and a friend of mine recently told me that his sister was able to find her long lost daughter after 24 years (who she had to put up for adoption)…all because of social media.
As great as technology can be, there are some compelling reasons to take a break from it- even it is just for an hour a day.
1. Establish better connections.
It is a lot easier to get to know a person when you’re looking them straight in the eyes and focusing on what they are saying rather than only half listening while texting someone else.
2. Make lasting memories.
Instead of just going to a concert, dinner, a show, a movie, etc. and posting pictures of it on Instagram and/or Facebook, take in the sounds, the scenery, the scents, the people, and the way everything made you feel. That is how you make memories. You won’t find any treasured moments on your cell phone.
3. Improve your sleep.
Rather than sleeping with your phone on your night stand, keep it somewhere out of reach, so you won’t be tempted to check your email in the middle of the night. Whatever your boss wants or needs can wait until morning. There’s no sense in losing sleep over trivial matters. You’ll be more clear-minded to deal with those emails in the morning after a good night’s rest anyway.
4. Be more productive.
How can you get anything accomplished when you’re watching YouTube videos on your iPad all day long? I suppose it is possible, but it’s probably pretty difficult.
5. Improve your health.
We’re so glued to our computers these days that we forget to get up and move. If we replaced just a fraction of the time spent in front of a computer screen with a few walks here and there, it would be so much better for our overall health. By the way, they make apps that can track how many steps you’ve taken each day.
I hope that you’ll take just a little bit of time to unplug each day by setting your laptop aside, shutting down your tablet, or putting your phone on silent. Enjoy living in the moment…after you’ve browsed through as many pages of this blog as you want of course.
When was the last time that you unplugged?