All of us needs ways to unplug. Although technology has been hugely beneficial to us in many ways — think healthcare, communication, and global understanding — with the advent of smartphones and social media, we’ve run into some problems, chief among which is overuse.
The average smartphone user checks their device 150 times per day. Besides being an unproductive use of time, recent studies show that overusing technology actually affects your brain. Young adults who overused technology exhibited similar brain patterns to those addicted to alcohol and cocaine. With effects like these, we should all be looking for ways to unplug!
Unplugging from technology — especially your smartphone and social media — has many benefits. You’ll strengthen your interpersonal relationships, boost your own creativity and productivity, de-stress yourself, and find an increase of gratitude within you. Mostly, unplugging allows you to be in the moment and enjoy the life you’re living.
Here are 7 ways to unplug and enjoy life more.
1. Start your mornings off right
If you’re anything like us, the first thing you do in the morning is reach over for your phone to turn off your alarm…and then suddenly you’re browsing on social media for 15 minutes.
One of the best ways to unplug is to abolish this habit. Start your day without inundating yourself to social media, gifs, memes, or even the digital news. Take a moment for yourself first thing in the morning — whether that’s meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, reading, cuddling with a loved one, or even praying. This centers your day in a fruitful, fulfilling way and helps get your mind off of the digital world and in on the world you live in.
2. Carry a book around
A huge part of the reason we reach for our phones is out of boredom. The moment we’re not occupied by something or someone else, outcomes Facebook or Candy Crush. But just because you’re bored doesn’t mean that time needs to be wasted…
Carry a book around and pull it out when you have time to kill. This way, you’re feeding your mind and spirit in a meaningful way with positive long-term effects. Of all the ways to unplug, this is the choice meant for those of us who regularly use public transportation!
3. Detox your digital diet
Some of us work best in the “all or nothing” mentality. So detox your digital self! If you can, go 24 hours with absolutely zero technology. Or take yourself off social media for a week (maybe indefinitely?)
Much like a juice detox, a digital detox will reduce your appetite for being constantly plugged in. It will also give you an understanding of how incredible it is to not be plugged in. Then, when you reincorporate technology, you can do so a little at a time — on the necessities for work and relationships.
4. Reduce 10% at a time
The truth is, you might shock yourself if you stop using technology all at once. Or maybe you prefer moderate methods. If this is the case, you might prefer this way to unplug.
This week, record every single minute you’re on technology and the reason you were on it (social media, texting, work email, games, etc.) Then, using that, reduce your technology use by exactly 10%. Record how it feels and the next week, reduce by another 10%! Do so until you feel comfortable with the amount of time you’re plugged in.
5. Tune into Nature
This is our favorite of the ways to unplug. Simply go out into nature and observe! There’s so much to see, we’ll be surprised if you feel the need to check Facebook. Besides, it’s incredibly fulfilling and beneficial to be among green.
Gardening is specifically good for unplugging. Because you’ll be busy with your hands watering, weeding, feeding, or harvesting, you won’t even think to check your phone. Better yet, leave your phone inside when you go out to garden! You’ll reap the rewards of growing and unplugging.
6. Create technology-free zones
Creating technology-free zones is a super easy and effective way to unplug. In fact, keeping yourself accountable is by far the hardest part. Choose specific zones that won’t affect your work, and banish all technology from them.
Whether that’s specific time slots throughout the day (8 pm – 12 pm) or places (your bedroom), you’ll find that you drastically reduce your technology consumption and find yourself tuned into yourself and life when you’re in those zones.
7. Silence your notifications
If none of these seem plausible, we get it. Technology has been thoroughly integrated into our everyday lives — so much so, in fact, that for some of us, it’s impossible to unplug without affecting our work. If this is the case, just silence your notifications!
You’d be surprised how much screen time is reduced by just turning off Facebook and Instagram notifications. You can even turn off email and texts before and after work hours so you still see emergency work emergencies when you pick up your phone, but without risking missing the urgent phone call.
Try one (or all) of these ways to unplug, and observe as you create a type of peace that you simply can’t be achieved staring at a screen.