The Power of Disconnecting: Celebrating National Unplugging Day

habit health self-care stress

Enjoy a digital detox (or at least a digital diet) to feel and perform better.

I’m on my phone … a lot. I’ll admit it. I try not to use it when I should otherwise be present with others, but even then, I’m guilty of a quick under-the-table email glance. I’m working on it, really I am.

Even yesterday, this came up in our family. Our daughter will be going to Italy in a couple of weeks for a high school choir tour (quite a change from my high school days when a trip on a yellow bus to a neighboring high school was about as much “choir touring” as we got.)

Our cell phone plan covered us when we were in El Salvador and Guatemala this past summer, but it doesn’t cover Europe, so her cell phone access in Italy will cost $10/day. We told her she could go without cell phone data for nine days. She protested (as expected.) My husband isn’t as tethered to his phone as I am, so she didn’t get much sympathy from him. 

But she knows how to work a system, so she looked at me and said, “Mom, can you imagine not being able to use your phone for nine days?” She knew I’d empathize, and I did.

This Friday, March 1, is Global Day of Unplugging. I don’t know if I’ll be able to unplug on Friday, but I’m going to try to do a full waking day of unplugging on either Saturday or Sunday. 

What do you think of doing something like unplugging for as much of a full day as you can?

As lawyers and legal professionals, we often find ourselves deeply immersed in the demands of our work. The constant stream of emails, deadlines, and client meetings can leave us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. 

However, in the midst of this fast-paced environment, it's crucial to find moments of respite and rejuvenation. That's why National Unplugging Day holds particular significance for us. It serves as a reminder of the importance of disconnecting from our devices and reconnecting with ourselves and our surroundings.

Research has shown that unplugging can have profound benefits for our well-being. A study from the journal “Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Networking” found that taking a one-week break from social media improves well-being, depression, and anxiety. 

Other studies have found that taking time off social media can provide a refreshing break and benefit mental health. Similarly, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that constant checking of email and social media was a significant source of stress for many Americans.

So, how can we incorporate unplugging into our busy lives?

Here are five practical tips to help you disconnect and recharge:

Set Boundaries: Establish specific times during the day when you will not check your email or engage with social media. This could be during meals, in the evening before bed, or on weekends. Setting these boundaries can help you create a healthier relationship with your devices.

Create Tech-Free Zones: Designate certain areas of your home or office as tech-free zones. This could be your bedroom, dining area, or a cozy reading nook. By creating these spaces, you can enjoy moments of peace and quiet without the distractions of screens.

Engage in Mindful Activities: Take time each day to engage in activities that promote mindfulness and presence, such as meditation, yoga, or simply going for a walk outside. These activities can help you feel more grounded and connected to the present moment.

Connect with Nature: Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Try to incorporate outdoor activities into your routine, such as hiking, gardening, or simply sitting in a park.

Practice Gratitude: Take a few minutes each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This practice can help shift your focus away from the stresses of daily life and towards the positive aspects of your life.

As we celebrate National Unplugging Day, let us remember the importance of disconnecting from our devices and reconnecting with ourselves and our loved ones. By incorporating these practical tips into our lives, we can cultivate a greater sense of well-being and balance, both personally and professionally. 

So, on March 1st, let's take a break from our screens and embrace the power of disconnecting.