Between texts, emails, phone calls, calendar alerts and notifications from multiple social media platforms, being connected can seem like a full-time job. So much so that it’s easy to forget that an off switch even exists.
It’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate your relationship with technology, and consider making the choice to ‘unplug’ yourself from your devices more often.
Here are five reasons why you should consider unplugging:
Lower your stress levels
There are certainly benefits to having 24/7 access to the internet. From staying up-to-date on breaking news headlines, to learning about the latest trending topics, to keeping tabs on family members and friends all over the world, there’s lots to appreciate about our opportunity for constant connection.
However, sometimes your brain just needs a break. This is especially true now that constant connectivity has changed the way we work. It’s become far too easy to bring our work home with us – answering emails from the lineup at the grocery store, preparing report cards from the dinner table and taking calls from the living room sofa.
It’s important to give yourself time to disconnect and recuperate from a day of work, but having constant access to your work priorities can make this almost impossible. Try setting a goal to actively avoid work-related communications outside of work hours, in order to give yourself time to unwind and help keep stress in check.
Social media in particular can be a major contributor to negative feelings, such as loneliness, envy and self-criticism. Scrolling through your social media feeds and seeing constant updates on your friends’ successes, vacations and leisure purchases can trigger feelings of jealousy and frustration. In fact, one in three people report feeling envious and more dissatisfied with their lives after scrolling through Facebook.1
Give yourself a break from the competitive environment of social media by reducing your time spent on social networking sites, or even temporarily deactivating your accounts. This can help to boost your positivity and detox the negative feelings that excessive social media use can encourage.
Improve your personal relationships
It’s easy to give in to the urge to pick up your phone and start scrolling through your notifications, even while spending quality time with family and friends. A 2014 poll found that the average Canadian checks their phone six times per hour,2 and 89% of adults admit to using their phones during an in-person conversation.3
The more dependent we become on the connectivity and communication offered through our multitude of smart devices, the more difficult it becomes to engage actively in face-to-face conversation. We may begin to let our personal relationships slip into an ‘absent presence’ – built on light conversation that we move in and out of as our attention shifts back to our devices.
Try to devote more time to in-person conversations with the people you care about, and leave your devices powered off throughout.
In today’s digital age, we often miss out on the life experiences and personal development opportunities happening right in front of us because we’re too busy staring at screens. Try to replace the time you’d normally spend scrolling through your inbox or social media feeds with meaningful activities that benefit your wellbeing and growth, while making memories that last a lifetime. Why not read a book? Connect with a friend? Go on a road trip? You never know what you’ll discover when you make the choice to leave your gadgets at home.
Get better sleep
Do you often find yourself tossing and turning, no matter how desperately you try to fall asleep? Your electronic devices can have a lot to do with this. In fact, a recent study has proven that using technology before going to bed can have a significant disruption on your sleeping patterns.4 The light emitted by our tech gadgets acts as an alerting agent that promotes wakefulness, making it a lot harder for us to fall asleep. Powering down your devices a couple of hours before you plan to turn in for the night can make a big difference in improving your restfulness.