“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
Taking a Break from Electronics… “Digital Detox”
It can be beneficial to take a break from anything we do regularly or habitually. The benefits of “unplugging” from our routine use of electronic devices for a determined period of time are being touted by sites like ItsTimeToLogoff.com who promote breaks from technology or “digital detoxing.”
Effects of Electronics
On the positive side, electronics help us in the following ways:
- make our lives more efficient
- improve our knowledge and understanding of the world
- help us stay connected to friends and family
- provide warm meals and hours of entertainment
On the not-so-positive side, electronics can contribute in these ways:
- keep us distracted
- cut us off from face-to-face human connection
- result in addictive behaviors like unhealthy amounts of time gaming, surfing the internet, or waiting to be notified about “likes” on social media
- cause physical health concerns, such as not moving our body for prolonged periods of time and heating up the body
Let’s consider the potential benefits of disconnecting for a set period of time.
- You’ll have more free time to do things like read books, play outside, and share meals & conversations with friends.
- You’ll start being less concerned about who is “following” or “liking” the content you share on social media.
- You’ll get better sleep with less screen time. “Recent studies have shown that short-wavelength [blue] light has a greater effect on phase shifting the circadian clock and on melatonin suppression” (Harvard University neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang).
- You’ll have more opportunities to notice the beauty of the world around you.
- You can break an addiction to dopamine loops.
- You’ll spend more time using your own brain instead of Google’s.
- Your thumbs will get a break from the tireless motion of “flicking” and perhaps your body will move more if you take your dog for a walk or join a local sports team. This TED Talk, Quit Social Media, has inspired lots of people.
- You’ll enjoy the surprise of finding an amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurant that you stumbled upon instead of checking online reviews first.
- You’ll have more face-to-face time with friends and family.
- And finally, you’ll spend less time feeling poorly about yourself when you stop comparing yourself to your best friend’s glamorous life on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
How To Take a Break From Electronics
If you’re serious about this, then let’s set you up so that you’re as successful as possible!
Pick a date and build up some anticipation toward trying something new. Or consider jump-starting this new habit by spending a whole day, weekend, week, or even longer with nature by camping or staying somewhere without cell phone service or WiFi.
Be specific about what you are taking a break from social media, smartphone, TV, internet, or all of the above.
Be realistic about your expectations and the amount of time you’re planning to take a break. Maybe starting off with a day or even an hour if you find that you are constantly tethered to your electronic gadgets, seems more doable initially.
Tell others about it. You might even consider getting an accountability partner and encouraging one another.
Have a healthy alternative or activity already chosen so that when you get the urge to reach for your smartphone, you can choose that instead. Some of my favorite ideas are making a fresh vegetable juice or smoothie, sketching something on the small notebook I keep in my purse, writing a quick card to someone I love, or simply sitting in the sunshine.
Choose a reward …but preferably not a new smartphone… ha! Plan to have something to look forward to when you succeed at taking a break from electronics.
What About You?
What’s your relationship like with electronics? Has it changed recently for you, or are you wanting to take a break from electronics? I would love to hear what you have to say in our comment section. Please inspire each other!
Whether you think that making changes to your diet and other lifestyle habits can help, or you’re well-seasoned in taking care of your health and want to fine-tune some things, we can work together to reach your health goals. As a registered Naturopathic Doctor in the state of Colorado, I specialize in addressing the underlying issues related to thyroid, autoimmunity, digestion, chronic congestion, and adult acne, and offer a free “Is this a good fit?” office or phone consult.