3 Healthy Reasons to Unplug

January 20, 2012

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Today I am privileged to have a guest post by Marysol Blomerus.  You can follow her on Twitter @blomerus

Its the New Year. Maybe one of your goals is to blog more and check Facebook less. Or to keep your inbox manageable and limit online streaming sports. Or to “be home and off your phone” after 7pm every night. Face it, your life is online these days. And have you noticed it never stops? That’s a problem.

A few months ago my husband and I realized we were spending way too much time on online, especially at night as a way to unwind.  

I know, you have no idea what I’m talking about.

We decided we needed an “unplug night”. So we scheduled it in. We agreed once we got the kids in bed, all technology goes dark. Phone, TV, Internet, all off. No little “checks” of this and that. Strictly forbidden until the next morning. You realize a generation ago this would be just a normal boring Tuesday night? But today its so rare in the developed world, we write blog posts about it. 

Our night was like oxygen for us. For our marriage. We felt like we had a weekend getaway. So we started doing it weekly. We’ve decided its been so good for us, that in 2012, we’re going to start blocking off a whole weekend a month. 

And here’s why:

1) I felt less anxious
Checking your IRA while watching YouTube? Feeling a little panic at inappropriate comments on your status update? Feeling like you’re drowning in your inbox and avoiding emails you know you just need to respond to? Checking your phone every 3 minutes because you can’t concentrate on the conversation in the room? I’m guilty too. And I started to realize all these little “dings” constantly going off in my life, diverting my attention creates anxiety. The type of anxiety that’s so subtle but pervasive.

2) I felt less insecure
Pinterest is a no doubt a creative relaxation, but it also leaves me feeling like I don’t do enough “kid activities” and my house could be cuter. Maybe its your fantasy football team, or your rich friends on Facebook, or bloggers who seem to defy the odds of what a human can get done in 24 hours and still blog about! This constant connectedness leaves us with a constant comparison to other people’s lives. I’ve found that my struggle to accept grace has always been linked to a deep insecurity. The “Am I good enough?” question is kissing-cousins with the “How do I measure up against _______?” question. It’s refreshing to identify this and get perspective with time away.

3) I truly rested
You know when you are mindlessly wandering from one link to another? Its the online version of channel surfing. And its never really truly relaxing, is it? You feel like you wasted hours. Generations ago, there were distinct lines of work and rest. Your computer belonged to your company, so when you went home you cut that tie. Your phone was on a long coil at home, so when you were on a date you were unavailable. But today, the lines are always blurred. So we never feel the full sense of rest or change of pace. Jesus needed to pull away to recharge. Why do we think we can do it still attached to everything?

Ok, so your challenge. Take 30 seconds now (don’t go recheck Facebook!) and put a day on the calendar this month to unplug. If you really can’t fathom it, start with a night. You can do that.

If you want to go the extra step, commit to it publicly. Leave a comment letting us know when you are unplugging. 

For tips on how to do this, read Suggestions for Unplugging Success. 

You Might also like : Slow Down to Speed Up.

blomerus smallMarysol is married to De Wet. Together, they have two children, Knox and Evangeline. They are missionaries in South Africa and have been serving in missions for a combined 21 years. She blogs at blomerus.org. Marysol also runs a freelance graphic design and photography business from their home. She needs daily grace to combat people-pleasing and never feeling like enough.

Photo courtesy of planetofsuccess.com/blog via Creative Commons by Flickr

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God