Have you found yourself more connected to your computer and phone this past year? It’s understandable. Technology made our stay-at-home order so much easier. We have been working, socializing, and even shopping virtually for a whole year, and honestly, we are a little burned out. We are grateful for the opportunities technology gave us this last year, but it’s also okay to take a break. Being attached to our technology is not only a way for us to connect with others. It’s a way for others to connect with us, and at this point, it’s kind of like being on call all the time. We are always accessible, which means we are always “on.” We encourage you to take a weekend to step away from that. Set the technology aside for two days, connect with those physically in your presence, and connect with yourself. We are here to tell you how.
Make a plan
As much as we would like to say you can just choose to log off one day, it’s not that easy for most. Because of how connected we have been, somebody would likely notice if we just fell away. So, we recommend putting it on the calendar and letting others know that you will be out of contact ahead of time. Also, if you are like us, you spend a couple of hours a day on social media scrolling and email reading. You need to know how you plan to fill that time. Plan how you are going to spend your time unplugged. It doesn’t need to be an hourly breakdown, just a general plan. Read a book, garden, take your kids on a hike and picnic, make something with your hands, it doesn’t matter how you spend your time, as long as you disconnect.
Now that you’ve made a plan, it’s time to prepare. Many of us have technology built into our routine. Dinner recipes are on our phones, our books are on our tablet, and television may be the way we choose to rest on most days. If you are going to unplug, unplug fully. That means preparing ahead of time so you don’t wind up on an endless scroll in the middle of your technology-free weekend. Write down your recipes, go to the library and pick up a book, check when entertainment locations are open ahead of time. Put your phone on “do not disturb” and leave it in the other room. If you are worried about missing an emergency, create a contact list of people who can contact you and leave the sound on. Be sure to inform that list that you are taking a weekend away from technology and would appreciate it if they would only call in the case of emergency. You can always catch up later in the week.
Setting the technology aside may be difficult at first. That’s okay. It may be difficult all weekend long, that’s okay too. We encourage you to try to let go and enjoy. Feel the release of always being accessible. For us, it feels like a reset—an opportunity for our nervous system to take a break. When we are always “on-call,” it can trigger a fight or flight response that wears us a little thin. Savor the quiet moments and prepare for the week to come. That’s the point of all of this.
We are not here to tell you technology is bad. It allows us to connect with all of you and run a business for our broader communities to enjoy. It is part of our lives, and it has so many positive effects. We just need a break sometimes. As we said, these unplugged weekends require a complete disconnect to reap the full benefits. Don’t forget to set your smartwatch aside, accept the pile-up of emails, and be okay with be inaccessible. The first time you give the unplugged weekend a try may be a struggle. Stick with it and try again in a couple of weeks. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Soon you will be looking forward to that time “away.”