How many hours a day do you spend looking at some kind of a screen? When was the last time you read something that wasn’t a blog or an email? Maybe it’s time for some nature therapy and a self-intervention to keep your technology habits in check. Here are 7 reasons you should consider pulling the plug for a week:
A recent study in the UK found that nearly 2/3 of social media users had symptoms of increased stress related to the use of social media. By contrast, a different study found that simply looking at natural landscapes can improve our body’s ability to heal and decrease stress.
- Invest in Real Friendships
Relationships are built on shared experiences and time spent together. While one of the many benefits of technology is the ability to keep in touch with friends who are far away, it often keeps us from fully involving ourselves in our relationships, with texting at the table and checking email during lulls in conversation. Unplugging gives you time and focus to invest in those friendships, which will deepen and strengthen them.
- Time for Things You “Never Have Time For”
Do you find that you never have time to exercise? Or for a home-cooked meal? Unplugging gives back time that you don’t even realize you are spending on TV and internet. In 2013, the average American adult spent over five hours a day on digital media and over four hours watching television (source). That’s more than 9 hours that could be spent with all of that stuff you “never have time for”!
- Remember How to Read
Americans average about 15 minutes of reading for leisure a day (source). Reading levels for Americans of all ages are dropping dramatically, as children and adults alike spend more time in front of the computer and TV and less with a book in their hands.
- Learn a New Skill
Along with all of those things you “never have time for”, 9 hours a day could give you enough time to learn that thing you’ve always wanted to know how to do. Want to play a new instrument? Write a book? Learn to shoot a bow and arrow? If Josh Kaufman is right and it only takes 20 hours to learn a new skill, you could be doing it by next weekend. What are you waiting for?
- Get Some Vitamin D and Enjoy Nature
Vitamin D deficiency, generally caused by lack of sun exposure, has been rising dramatically across the world in recent years. There are many possible causes of this, but one is that people are spending significantly more time indoors than we used to, because all of our technology is inside. Unplugging allows you to get out there and get some sun!
- Realize How Little You Miss Your Devices
After a week in the wilderness without TV or internet, you may find that your new skills and light tan and that book you’ve started reading are more fulfilling and better for you than your plugged in habits were. By stepping back from technology for a period of time, you can better see what a more balanced life would look like and help to moderate your consumption.
So what are you waiting for? Close your computer and get out there! Or send your daughter to camp for a week and spend some time outdoors yourself. Maybe a mother-daughter or father-daughter weekend is in order? However you choose to do it, life’s better with a little balance, so make sure you’re taking the time away from technology that you need.