When Jim decided to leave his computer at home during his beach vacation, his family was in shock. When he told them he would be turning off his phone and leaving it in a drawer for the week, they checked his temperature. Seven days later, a more energetic, clear-headed, and mindful Jim returned from the beach. Here are 10 Reasons to Leave Your Technology At Home During Vacation
10.) Our Phone Can Be A Coping Mechanism
Being away from home and around a large group of people for an entire week can be stressful even if they are your closest and best friends. For those of us who have a somewhat introverted nature, we can end up coping with that stress by disappearing into our technology while in the room with others. When Jim left the phone in his drawer and focused on balancing full respectful engagement while taking opportunities for rest and self care, the entire week’s experience improved dramatically and his vacation became exponentially more enjoyable.
9.) We Might Need a Technology Detox
At some point in time, we have to be honest with ourselves and ask the difficult question: “Am I addicted to my technology?” If you are someone who answered with, “No I am not”, congratulations! But we would challenge you to take a closer look and see if that is really true. Keeping a balanced use of technology as a tool should be our goal, but utilizing a tool wisely can quickly degrade to checking your email again just because it gives you a good feeling dose of dopamine. None of us want to be an addict, and we should all be aware that it is a real thing. Jim discovered that as the week of vacation went on it became less compulsive to want to check his notifications, which resulted in a much more pleasant and rewarding calm and mindfulness.
“Every time we switch tasks, we’re also shooting ourselves up with a dose of the stress hormone cortisol. The switching puts our thoughtful, reasoning prefrontal cortex to sleep, and kicks up dopamine, a brain chemical that plays a key role in pursuing reward and motivation.” – Business Insider
8.) We Are Not Necessarily As Important As We Think We Are
We all like to think that people can’t do without us. If we are not careful we may start to believe ourselves so indispensable that we can’t give ourselves a break when needed. Coming to a place of balance with our own self importance and ego can allow us to take a real break with time for self care. Failing to wrestle our ego into place can result in a constant tension as we subconsciously wait for the phone to ring.
7.) We Can Make Space for Forgotten Hobbies and Exploration
There are lots of things that we all want to do that we just don’t seem to be able to find the time for in life. If we look at how much time we spend each day checking our phones, scrolling through Facebook and playing games, we can tell where our availability for other hobbies has gone. Leaving our technology behind for a short time can show us how much we enjoy things like reading, biking, bird watching, or just walking on the beach.
6.) Sometimes Epiphanies Appear from the Vacuum
Allowing our brains to be “bored” every once in a while results in some really incredible conclusions and ideas. Out of the chaos and overwhelming nature of social media, and constant connection online, our brains sometimes fail to communicate our best ideas to us because we are so mentally under water. In unplugging, and waiting for our brain to leave technology withdrawal, we can find ideas and clarity waiting for us to jot down on a piece of paper, and then go back to relaxing.
5.) We Can Find More Opportunities For Connection
Looking down at our phones, or staring at a screen, takes away opportunities for face-to-face connection with others. While on vacation, Jim noticed many more opportunities to play, have conversations, and revel in the personalities around him.
4.) We Need A Check In With How Facebook is Affecting Us
Not only is Facebook a time suck, but it is also an emotional roller coaster. We are affected just as much by the negative stories we see as we are the constant self edited perfect life stories of those around us. Giving ourselves a break for a significant amount of time is the only way we can truly come to terms with exactly how that social media monster is affecting us.
3.) Getting Better Rest is the Best
Less screen time means better rest. When we aren’t looking at screens before bed and our thoughts are clearer it is much easier to engage with sleep. Also.. our screens suppress melatonin.
“The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.” – Sleep.org
2.) Sometimes We Need a Subconscious Recalibration
Our subconscious is a powerful place that can communicate all sorts of amazing thoughts to us if we are available for them.Technology can get in the way of these powerful connections. This may sound a bit like the Epiphany section above, but the truth is that our subconscious is capable of so much more than our conscious brains can do on their own. When we free up our mental RAM, and take in more detail of what is going on around us, our subconscious makes connections for us to other important concepts. The end result is more of those “shower thoughts” we love so much in our daily life.
1.). We Can Come Home With a Cleaner Running Engine
Overall the clarity of a tech free mind leads to a more fine-tuned and cleaner running brain. Have you noticed that the amount of time you feel really and truly clear minded and fresh isn’t as high as you want it to be? Did you come home from vacation feeling just as cloudy as when you left? Consider a technology break. Put down the phone, pick up a book, and a margarita, and let yourself really take a break. Say yes to a real vacation.