The National Day of Unplugging kicks off a 24-hour period to unplug, unwind, get outside, and connect with other people off the screen. Created by Reboot, a Jewish arts and culture nonprofit, in partnership with the organization Sabbath Manifesto, the project began as a way to promote tech-free Shabbat dinners. Since then, the day of unplugging has become a national affair, with thousands of worldwide community partners joining for live unplugged events, year after year to embrace the importance of unplugging.
You don’t need to disconnect from electronic devices for days or weeks at a time in order to experience the benefits of unplugging from technology. Even the simple act of limiting screen time every day can yield the following benefits:
- Reduced stress
- Fewer headaches and neck pain1
- Better sleep
- Improved interpersonal communication and relationships
- More time to enjoy simple pleasures of life
- Improved overall quality of life
A recent survey found that 31 percent of Americans have become addicted to being online as a result of the pandemic, and that many are not taking appropriate steps to protect their physical, emotional, and digital well-being.2 According to the Mayo Clinic, screen time or video games can become an addiction by putting the brain in a constant state of hyperarousal. This hyperarousal can have negative effects on one’s ability to pay attention, manage their emotions, control impulses, and tolerate frustration. They report that chronic hyperarousal can also have physical symptoms like irritability, jittery feelings, and even decreased immune function.2
Here are some other ways excessive screen time negatively impacts your physical and emotional health:
- Excessive screen use has been linked to anxiety and depression4
- Screen time before bed may cause insomnia5
- Screen time interferes with quality time with others6
- Excessive screen use is linked to a sedentary lifestyle, leading to an increased risk of obesity, hypertension, low bone mineral levels, and low self-esteem7
- Screen time can impair learning and impede language development in children8
According to the Cleveland Clinic, some signs you or your child need a social media break include constantly comparing yourself to others, feeling annoyed by everything you see, spending too much time scrolling, and not being able to enjoy something without posting about it.9
- One of the tenets of Brillia’s Five-Pillar methodology, which combines neuroscience with behavioral science to improve attention, reduce anxiety, and regulate emotions, is controlled screen time. Along with eating well, getting enough sleep, and practicing mindfulness techniques, controlling screen time promotes calmness, encourages face-to-face connection, and allows both children and adults to discover more of the amazing non tech-driven world around them.
Easy Ways to Reduce Screen Time for Adults
Though the idea may seem simple, many who attempt to unplug soon discover how challenging it can be. Many aspects of life revolve around sharing photos and earning likes and comments online. Most people use electronic devices every day for entertainment, news updates, communication and more. But there are many benefits of controlling screen time, and you can experience them if you are willing to put in the effort. Here are some ideas on how to reduce your screen use:
- Designate certain hours of the day as screen-free zones
- Use a screen tracker to track your time on screens and attempt to cut out an hour a day
- Keep phones, tablets and other screens out of the bedroom so there’s no temptation to reach for them and ruin sleep
- If you tend to wind down with a movie at night or reading on an electronic device, consider investing in blue light glasses
- Turn off auto-notifications
- Delete apps on your phone or tablet, even if you decide to keep them on your desktop
- Activate grayscale on your phone so the screens are less bright and enticing
Reduce irritability and impulsivity.
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How to Help Your Kids Reduce Screen Time
Research shows that kids who spend seven or more hours a day on screens are more likely to develop depression or anxiety than those who use them for an hour a day. While it may be unfeasible to cut out screens entirely, there are ways to help your child cut back without causing an uproar. Here are some ideas to help your kids reduce screen time before it leads to or exacerbates anxiety symptoms.
- Set expectations with your kids about how much screen time they can have and when
- Move televisions, gaming consoles, and other electronics out of the bedroom
- Have a designated place in your home for electronic device
- Create tech-free zones in the house
- Make screen time a privilege or reward
- Swap movie night for family game night or an outdoor activity you can share
- Reduce your own screen time to model positive behavior
How To Disconnect From Work
In today’s world, it’s pretty easy to get a hold of practically anyone using electronic devices. Work colleagues can call or email with just one more question. Cell phones, emails, and other electronic devices may have a lot of benefits, but they can also make family time at home full of interruptions.
If you struggle to step away from work emails and telephone calls when you’re technically done with work, it may be time to step back. First, commit to a transition ritual that signals your day is winding down. For some people, this might be the drive home from work or school every day. If you work from home, your transition ritual could be turning off your desktop or laptop computer for the day.
Ideas on How to Spend National Unplugging Day
So, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious tech-free day? If you have to work online on March 4 or your child needs to use the internet for school, you can still participate when the work or school day is complete or only use tech for work purposes. But once it’s time to unplug, there is so much waiting for you. Here are some ideas:
- Spend time in nature
- Play a boardgame
- Make crafts
- Complete a puzzle
- Practice meditation
- Sleep in
- Enjoy a hot bath
- Practice breathing exercises
- Watch a sunrise or sunset
- Volunteer at a local food bank or shelter
- Visit an old friend
- Take on someone else’s chores
If you feel like technology is ruling your life, it’s time to make a change. Studies have shown that too much screen time can manifest in the symptoms of ADHD and controlling it can help improve these symptoms and many more, especially for those who chronically suffer from irritability, lack of focus, mood issues, anxiety and more.
And if you still need help, consider taking Brillia, a non-prescription medication that targets anxiety and ADHD symptoms without harsh, synthetic chemicals or harmful side effects. Brillia’s active ingredient consists of antibodies to the S100 protein, which plays a crucial role in mood regulation and neuroplasticity. By locating and attaching to the S100B protein, Brillia reduces anxiety and ADHD symptoms at the source of symptoms without masking the personality or affecting any other systems in the body. The process is gentle, impactful, and safe for both children as well as adults.
Learn more here.