Weekend Wellness: The Life-Changing Magic of Going Tech-Free

Technology is an incredible tool that has become a necessity for us to function in our everyday lives, but I’ve been finding myself more and more anxious to step away from it lately. I literally try to respond to every DM and email that blog readers send my way — which can amount to a lot of time spent on my devices. I love hearing from you, but feeling a need to keep up 24/7 is sort of exhausting, too. Recently, I realized that it’s taking over every aspect of my life and I really need a tech detox.

So that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do lately. I haven’t stepped away for weeks (or even days) at a time or anything, but I’m trying to be a little bit more aware. And as it turns out, there are some incredible benefits to taking a break from technology! Here’s what I’ve learned/noticed so far in my journey to take time to go tech-free:

4 Benefits of Taking Time to be Tech-Free

Improved sleep.

I love laying in bed and mindlessly scrolling, so trust me when I say I absolutely know how difficult it can be to kick this habit. It feels like my time to get caught up on the people who inspire and motivate me. But recently I’ve been wondering — what’s the cost of all my mindless scrolling? Quality sleep!

From everything I’ve read, looking at your phone, however mindless it may seem, is actually quite stimulating. Especially if you’re an anxious person (hi) — all those pretty photos and witty captions are really just keeping your wheels turning instead of shutting them down for the night. And don’t even get me started on how it can inspire comparing myself to others…

The same goes for TV and being on your computer. I even heard recently that sound machines are actually counterproductive for getting good sleep because the sound doesn’t allow your brain to completely turn off. I’m not quite ready to give up my noise machine, but it’s definitely something to think about in my tech-free journey!

Good for your eyes.

Here’s the deal with eyes and tech: all digital screens give off what’s called “blue light.” And this blue light is scientifically proven to actually cause damage to your eyes because it penetrates through to our retina. In fact, prolonged exposure to blue light has shown to increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness. UGH.

In my mind, there are a few different solutions to this. First, we’ve all got to focus on less screen time. If this seems impossible, start by only following people and outlets that you truly love. Kind of like Marie Kondo, but for the internet. I sort of did an audit on my Instagram account recently which included unfollowing a few accounts. My thinking is that I didn’t want to waste my time following accounts that didn’t inspire me anymore. This also helps to set me up for success as I try to go tech-free more and more.

Second, start wearing blue light protection lenses. You can snag a pair of these for less than $25 on Amazon if you don’t need prescription glasses. If you do need glasses, like me, check out Zenni. I worked with them on a sponsored post and have been loving my blue light blocking glasses from them (plus, they are really affordable). I make sure to wear them while working or throughout the day for constant protection. This especially helps when you’re not able to go 100% tech-free, but still want to make some changes.

These are small things, but like anything else, when done consistently, they can add up to some really positive results (like not going blind).

A moment of peace before the day starts.

Checking your phone immediately when you wake up instantly puts your brain into task mode: what did I miss, how many emails did I get while sleeping, what’s on my list of things to do today, and on and on and on. You get the point. I’m not saying we all have time for those glorious slow mornings where we make coffee the fancy way and sit and read the paper for an hour (except for maybe the weekend?). But I do think there’s something to the idea of not diving right into technology the moment our eyes open.

Instead, try to embrace tech-free mornings. This can include meditating and journaling. Give yourself even just three minutes before the stress of the day takes over and your phone is glued to your ear/hand for the next 10+ hours. It sets a better tone and I think you’ll find yourself less overwhelmed first thing in the morning.

I’ve also really enjoyed using my Five Minute Journal in the morning to help me check in with myself and set intentions for the day. In fact, I’m thinking of writing an entire post about journaling! Stay tuned for that.

You actually get to engage with real people.

I absolutely hate it when I’m with someone, whether it’s out to lunch or simply lounging at home, and I look up and realize we’re both just sitting there on our phones. It’s like, I’m spending time with someone I care about, but we aren’t even engaging with one another. Instead, we’re zombies in front of the TV or we’re cruising Instagram, etc. Truthfully, I am extremely guilty of this habit. It drives me NUTS.

In 2019 I’m making a very conscious effort to put down the phone and not allow tech to take over quality time with friends and family. We already have a ‘no cell phones in the bedroom’ rule, so we’re extending that to the dinner table and beyond!

At the end of the day, I love technology and what it allows us all to do. I mean, I wouldn’t even have this amazing career without tech! I just think it’s important that we all remember it’s healthy to take breaks from it. What do you see as a benefit of taking time away from technology? I’d love to hear how this kind of stuff if affecting you all as well!

P.S. you can find even more self care and wellness tips here, including:
Photography by Meghan Klein.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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