The internet is a wonderful, wonderful thing. But taking a break from technology can also be a wonderful thing that allows you to recharge and recoup so that you are at your best.
Moms today spend a lot of time connected online, with smart phones, iphones, Facebook, twitter — and more. It offers a wealth of information, knowledge and companionship. But it can also be a big drain from real life. That’s why it’s important to unplug and spend quality time with your loved ones.
If you are a dedicated internet and technology user, than you already know how wonderful it can be. It brings you freedom to work where it’s most convenient, allows you to stay connected and available whenever you are needed and keeps you informed. But like everything else, there is a such thing as too much of a good thing.
Rosemary Devlin, a former construction executive, mom of five and owner of O2 Living, says that stepping away from technology allows you to focus more on family and other important things. “Everyone really needs to de-stress. We are caught up in this stress-environment,” says Devlin.
Too much technology can overwhelm you and make you feel like you cannot step away. “My iPhone is like an appendage. While I know it prevents me from staying in the moment with everyone, including my kids, I’ve become so dependent on it for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g; I can’t shut it off or leave it behind,” admits Jacqueline Edelberg, who writes How to Walk to School.
Edelberg says that she wants to start observing a once-a-week technology-free day, but is afraid to start. “What if I miss something? What if somebody can’t reach me? What if a can’t take a picture? Get directions? Send a link? Call my sister in a panic? Google the earth,” says Edelberg.
Don’t worry … it won’t be that bad. In fact, Dr. Michael Finkelstein, the founder and medical director of SunRaven in Bedford, New York, says that unplugging is necessary to recharge. “Very few people will achieve …restoration without periodically disconnecting from technology and material life and reconnecting with family, friends, community and spirit,” says Finkelstein.
When and how to unplug
Should you take a long break from technology? A short one? There are no steadfast rules, so long as you are taking that time. Devlin suggests declaring dinner as a tech-free time.
Whatever you choose, it should be regular and frequent, says Finkelstein. “Some people have a daily practice of recalibration, while others may only give themselves this opportunity once or twice a year, which is not often enough. The important thing is it has to be regular and relatively frequent, such as every 7 days,” says Finkelstein.
For mom Elizabeth Lyons, author of You Cannot Be Serious: and 32 Other Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom, unplugging comes once a week. “Recognizing the need to proactively unplug, I’ve recently implemented a policy whereby I dont turn on my computer or check my BlackBerry at all on Sundays. That is my day to decompress and, more importantly, spend time with my family focusing solely on them. I went through withdrawal, no doubt, but it was worth every nervous twitch,” says Lyons.
Likewise, Ameena Din, who writes Fancy This Fancy That, says that her daily sabbatical from technology is invaluable to her relationship with her child. “As a working mom I had to institute a no-computer policy for myself from the time I pick my daughter up until after dinnertime. Since I did that about 3 months ago, I am now able to spend a good 3-4 hours with my 5-year-old without any technology interrupting us. I’ve noticed a huge change in my daughter’s behavior and we are getting along so much better now,” says Din.
5 ways to unplug this week
Ready to make baby steps towards being tech-free more often? Here are five ways to start.
- Turn the phones off for dinnertime. Yes, all of them.
- Instead of Twittering, tell your kids what you are thinking.
- Plan a tech-free day where you don’t check your email, social networks or anything.
- Take a walk (without the cell!)
- Write a note to a close friend … by hand.
Tell us: Would you consider taking a tech-free day — or would you feel to lost without your iPhone and computer?
Too Much Technology?
Will all this new communication technology affect our ability to communicate with people face to face? Watch this video that takes a look into how technology is affecting our everyday communication skills.