Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a tech disconnect?
Well, now’s your opportunity. A tech disconnect is taking time to disconnect from your tech – your phone, smart tablet, tv, laptop, computer you name it. It also can mean disconnecting from the news and social media:
Reddit and all the rest.
Why might you want to have a tech disconnect?
Because too much screen time is likely slowly killing you!
By now you should have heard about the danger of overexposure to blue screens and the dangers of smartphone addiction.
Too much screen time not only produces negative effects such as eyestrain and headaches, but it also steals time from healthy pursuits like making real-world connections and exercise."
Some other effects of too much screen time are:
Poor sleep patterns
Muscle aches and pains
Sedentary behavior, overweight, obesity
Lack of focus, poor attention span
Increased risk of cancer or heart conditions
Emotional outbursts, ups, and downs
Marjan Moghaddam, D.O., is a doctor for Henry Ford Health practicing family medicine. She recommends no more than two hours per day of screen time outside of work-related responsibilities. That can be tough for some adults. The idea is to take baby steps. Don't go cold turkey. Start cutting back bit by bit, and eventually, you can hit that two-hour or less recommendation.
Another great way of making it through your tech disconnect is by connecting with nature. Below are four simple but powerful benefits of disconnecting from technology and reconnect with Mother Nature.
Oh Sunny Day
One of the greatest gifts we have is the sun. According to an article from Harvard Health Publishing "Under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need."
Of course, the right circumstances are different for each of us. A few days a week, try exposing your skin to sunshine for 15 minutes per day. Of course you should protect yourself accordingly with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Seeing Natures Beauty Unfurl
Too much screen time can cause visual fatigue, blurry vision, and headaches. Taking a walk (link) outside will allow you to access natural light as well as seeing the beauty of nature.
Kick Stress To The Curb
Feeling the cool breeze, seeing the bright blue sunny sky, hearing the birds sing – all of these are the experiences that being in nature affords. Just 15 minutes outdoors in nature can drop your stress levels. Anxiety, depression, and serious mental health issues may improve when you spend time outside. All of which means that you are managing your stress before your stress manages you.
Breathe Fresh Air
Despite having plants and air filters, indoor air isn’t always the healthiest. Being around a lot of trees and other greenery means improved air quality. Bonus points if you are walking briskly or exercising with moderate intensity.
Those actions cause you to breathe deeply. That natural air clearing out your lungs can provide you with an energy boost. This can also lowers blood pressure and improve your circulation.
So now that we’ve talked about some of the benefits that you can have from disconnecting from your technology, let’s talk about how to actually do it.
How To Do Your Tech Disconnect
A successful tech disconnect is all in the planning. Here are five steps to take to successfully disconnect from your tech:
1. Pick your weekend in advance
This helps you mentally prepare which can be helpful if you are used to being ‘on’ 24x7. It can be quite stressful to come to a full stop with your technology (even if it’s only for two days). Picking a time that’s at least one week away will really help you come to grips with the fact that you’re setting the technology aside for a few days.
2. Decide on the activities that will fill your time
This is important. After all, if you’re like me, there are gonna be a lot of hours that you have to fill over your weekend. This is the fun part of the planning process. It’s a chance to delve into those projects you don’t normally have time for or maybe you can try something new. Here are some ideas:
Read books or magazines
Take long walks
Listen to music
Go out to dinner
Try a new recipe
Your favorite hobby
Visit a museum
Clean the house
Get ahead in your schoolwork
Anything that you want to do, but never have time to do
3. Let friends and family know about your media free plans
This is an important step in planning for your tech disconnect because you need their support in order to be successful. That way your loved ones won’t tempt you with technology and also won’t be angry if you don’t respond to text or e-mail during that time. Instead, consider visiting with them in person or chatting via a phone call.
4. Use apps on your phone to limit screen time during the weekend
Believe it or not, your phone can actually help you disconnect. In the week leading up to your tech disconnect, you can use apps that let you see how much time you’re spending on your phone or other devices. That can provide some motivation for your tech disconnect.
If you want to each into it, you can download apps like Moment that help you limit the amount of time spent on your phone. Use it daily and when you’re ready to go full steam ahead, it’ll be a piece of cake.
5. Turn off your social media notifications
Similar to Pavlov’s dogs, those, pings, beeps, dings command our full attention and have us trained to check our apps immediately. Why is it that we have to see so and so’s vacation or food pictures as soon as they’re posted? We don’t. Turning off you social media notifications and setting a specific set period of time once or twice a day to check social media and e-mails can make it a lot easier for you when it’s time for your tech disconnect.
So there you have it several simple steps that you can take in order to have a tech disconnect and reconnect with nature. If you can, try to do it a few times a year. You’ll find that it strengthens your relationships with friends and family and your connection to nature.
Let’s talk, what activities will you engage in when you have your tech disconnect? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a facilitator, stress management coach and author of “Yes I’m Grateful,” a gratitude journal. She believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn