Unplug from Your Life
For most of us, technology has increasingly become an important part of life. We turn to our phones, tablets, computers, and other gadgets throughout the day, whether it’s for work, to connect with friends and family, help us answer questions, manage our schedules, or provide entertainment or distraction. It’s easy to get dependent on them, making it difficult to fully disconnect. “They make us feel like we’re in control of all the things we’re responsible for,” says Stephanie Ludwig, PhD, MA, MDiv, Director of Spiritual Wellness at Canyon Ranch Tucson. “But if you don’t take the time to connect with you, away from the technology that constantly keeps you plugged in, you’ll start to become estranged from yourself. You may forget what it feels like to truly relax, or what real silence is—and silence is a vital element in a thriving spiritual life. It helps us hear the ‘still, small voice’ inside.”
While it may seem hard to unplug completely, it is possible—even for just a little while. Try this technique to help you find a balance between being connected externally and internally:
Taking some time for yourself doesn’t mean altering your whole schedule. You can benefit from “unplugging”—putting your devices away—for as few as five minutes. “It’s really up to you,” says Ludwig. “Start small and see where it goes. You may find you need a half hour, or even an hour. If you find that you’re feeling anxious after just a half hour of turning your device off, you may be addicted to it.”
Find a Quiet Spot
Choose a place, indoors or outdoors, that’s free of distraction and noise. Whether it’s your yard, balcony, or bathtub, it should be a place without technology, busy calendars, piles of bills, noisy children, or anything else that could demand your attention. You can even create a designated space, like a meditation chair, where it’s understood that no one will bother you. Light a candle or dim the lights, if it helps you relax.
Be aware of your breath. Mindful breathing can help you stay in the present moment and release any thoughts that don’t serve you. This is a great practice that engenders the calm, balanced feeling we’re aiming for when we unplug.
Focus on You
Freeing yourself from distractions allows you to really check in with yourself and observe how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. “Because we’re always tuned in to emails, text messages, calendars, and more, most of us don’t take the time to turn our attention inward and think about what we really need,” says Ludwig. “Sometimes watching a TV show or playing a game on our phone prevents us from considering those needs. Connecting with ourselves helps us reflect, let go of worry, and focus on what’s important.”