The Benefits of Digitally Disconnecting

The Benefits of Digitally Disconnecting

Table of Contents

Amid this current era of technology, it can be challenging to put down electronic devices and enjoy the real world. At the Lodge, we ask our clients not to use cellphones and laptops while in treatment. This article will explore how unplugging can allow you to better experience the world authentically.

Unplug for the Day

Taking a break from technology is becoming increasingly complex, as the world is oversaturated with it. Sometimes it feels like there’s no escape from screen time. This notion can feel especially true if you work directly with technology on a day-to-day basis. You may have expectations to answer emails, texts, and messages with extreme promptness. Gone are the days when it was customary not to hear from someone for hours.

There is often an expectation of being online constantly. It seems there is never a period where you can take a break from the world’s demands and just enjoy life. That is why it is essential to carve out time to be with your natural self, free of devices.

Destressing and Decompressing

When you receive treatment at Jaywalker, we ask you to stay off your phones and laptops—no social media, no texting, no answering emails for ninety days. We allow you to use the computer once in a while, and we make some exceptions on a case-by-case basis, but mostly we expect you to remain unplugged. This expectation exists because Jaywalker Lodge is a place of healing that requires your complete focus and no distractions from outside stressors. It is just you, your heart, your mind, and our team.

Give Your Eyes a Break

The overuse of technology can be harmful to your eyesight. While there are some ways to keep your eyes safe, it can still be damaging in the long run. This can be especially true if you spend too much time on your devices late at night. Digital eye strain is prevalent among 50% or more computer users, causing blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes. Taking a break from technology, especially at night, can help mitigate these effects.

Non-stop Communication and Information

In this information age, you may feel pressured to respond to messages right away. There seemingly is no time to take a break from others to focus on yourself. There is an expectation to respond immediately, and some might choose to take a slower response.

Additionally, there tends to be non-stop information with little to no time to slow down and process it all. Since there is a constant influx of information, you can quickly become overwhelmed by everything happening, resulting in more stress. Giving yourself a day to be device-free allows you to process things.

Endless Media Consumption

If you spend a lot of time on social media, you constantly consume information. This consumption becomes a serious issue when the headlines are primarily negative. Sensationalized headlines can lead to excess stress. This notion became evident during the Covid-19 pandemic and the newsworthy year that followed.

Perhaps you were cooped up in your house while glued to your phone, waiting for answers and updates. The year 2020 birthed the term “doomscrolling,” which is when you scroll through your news feed as a way to cope with an intensely stressful situation. Ironically, instead of alleviating stress, it causes more, because you do not take a break to ever exist in the real world. Taking a digital break allows you to focus on something else, such as self-care, instead of an event you have no control over.

Living in the Moment

A digital detox allows you to focus on the present moment. Distraction-free, you can pay attention to what matters. You do not need to use technology to escape your inner feelings or fill a void. It is common to use social media and technology to source feel-good chemicals like serotonin or dopamine.

Relying on technology to provide these chemicals only creates psychological dependence. Instead of utilizing digital devices to make you feel better, there are many other ways to better spend your time for your mind, body, and soul.

Low-Tech Things to Fill Your Day

There are many healthy ways to unplug when you have free time. These activities can include:

  • Taking your dog for a walk
  • Spending time in nature
  • Reading a physical book-not an ebook
  • Volunteering
  • Starting a garden
  • Weightlifting or isometrics at a gym or home, as well as cardiovascular exercise
  • Learning a  new instrument
  • Writing a letter with pen and paper
  • Starting a journal 

At Jaywalker, we strive to create a digitally free environment so that our clients can live in the moment, free of distractions. This way, technology does not become a way to ignore problems or stress about the more minor things that do not matter. That is why we encourage our clients only to use electronic devices when necessary. Our clients have access to a computer and a phone during their free time, except in rare cases when deemed necessary. Digital disconnection can be a great way to refresh and reset when things become too overwhelming, allowing you to focus on the things that truly matter.

Try to spend at least one day per week device-free, and see for yourself how much staying in the moment can change your life. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of digitally disconnecting or how to use technology in moderation, call Jaywalker Lodge today at (866) 529-9255

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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