Skip to main content

Deciding to Disconnect: How Unplugging From Tech May Be The Best Gift of All

Posted by Cat Canada on

To disconnect from our technology this season does not have to be the nightmare before Christmas. We promise.

We are all children of the technology age, whatever age you are now. We seem to defer to texting versus calling, sometimes value our worth by the number of likes on our social media posts and can’t help but pull out our phones in line at the coffee shop. When spelled out like that, we quickly want to deny this behavior. But, it’s honesty hour: How many of us reach for our phone first thing in the morning? GUILTY!

Can You Turn it Off?

Choose to believe it or not, this technology overload is detrimental to our focus at work, relationships at home and ability to sleep. Sleep and energy expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan says that her patients who struggle with the latter share a common denominator—an inability to “turn off.” She explains, “The thing many of my patients have in common is the fact that they’re in front of screens all the time—even when they try to sleep at night. It has become so pervasive. <…> People started telling me they couldn’t switch their brains off.”

This act of “switching” from task to task all day can be linked to our inability to switch it off at night.

Multi-Tasker or Multi-Distractor?

According to a 2013 study, people who claim to be master multi-taskers are generally the ones who are pretty bad it. The reason behind that is that people who tend to multi-task all day are not really giving their full attention to any one task. Instead they are jumping from topic to topic, being distracted by the next task, and moving all day in this space of over stimulation.

Our electronics can be the cause of this lack of focus. There is a need for instant gratification—buying a new outfit for Friday night, swiping right to get a date, or watching highlights from last night’s game—and it’s an age of receiving it with ease.

Can You Really Unplug From All Technology?

Despite the clear and supported relation between technology and lack of focus, some people argue against the idea of unplugging because they argue that social media, email and online networks are hard realities of today. That may be true, but we want to make this year special by disconnecting from our screens to reconnect with ourselves.

Now, we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t wish your distant cousin from Minneapolis happy holidays on Facebook, and the irony of talking about this via a blog post you probably read on social media is not lost on us either. What we are aiming for is to be present in the meantime, to value both the online and in the flesh conversations, and disallow ourselves to be so distracted with what’s on the screen that we don’t appreciate who’s sitting next to us, or even ourselves?

Are You Ready to Make The Pledge?

What better time than today to break yourself of your tech-driven habits and focus on yourself, the present, and the things that really matter. It’s time to get rid of the tech distractions and see how that improves relationships with yourself and others.

We pledge to unplug from our social technology to recharge our internal batteries for one hour every day for a month, and we challenge you to do the same! What hour will you choose? Try timing yourself (yes, on your phone) and don’t pick it up until that timer goes off.

What Will You Do With All That Time?

If you’re wondering what to do for that hour, here are some ideas that may seem like no-brainers, but have become lost in technology transition:

  • Take a friend to coffee/lunch or just a simple walk
  • Print a few articles out or pick up a magazine to read outside or in a quiet break room
  • Eat a mindful breakfast, lunch or dinner; then, get one thing done that you typically put off, like everyday chores—dishes, laundry, making your bed
  • Take a drive and listen to a podcast or pandora station you like (we’ll consider this non-social tech, so long as you’re in the moment)

So, join us this season in embracing a slower pace, savoring the time you have with family and friends, and putting away your cell phones for just 60 minutes everyday. Your brain will thank you for it, and—hey—maybe you will rekindle a little holiday magic.