Updated: Mar 9, 2021
March 5 is National Day of Unplugging and we hope you didn't see our March 5 IG post until March 6, lol. Before you feel FOMO, let's dive into the history, benefits, and importance of carving out time to unplug from our devices that constantly command our attention.
The idea of unplugging originated in 2003 and was founded by a Jewish company called Reboot. In the early 2000s, technology started to drastically change. There were new devices like cell phones and laptops, a thing called social media websites like Myspace (2003) and Facebook (2004) and in June of 2007 the first iPhone was released. The smartphone paved the way to a booming digital revolution, forever changing our lives. In 2010, Reboot initiated National Day of Unplugging to encourage people to take a digital detox and utilize the time to reflect, relax, and spend time with friends and family. And more recently in 2018, a study by the Pew Research Center showed that 77% of people own a smartphone and use it constantly. Countless studies have also shown that various phone activity releases dopamine in the brain, which explains the need to keep checking certain apps like email and social media.
While technology and the digital age is a useful tool in many of life's affairs, especially during a pandemic, it is healthy to take a step back once in a while to evaluate our habits, reflect on our core values, and devote the time we would usually be on our devices to being present; life is happening right in front of us. To observe National Day of Unplugging, we are encouraged to put our phones away for a 24 hour period, which feels actually pretty nice after a few hours. This may be a challenge for some of us, but worth a try, showing us how focused we are able to be without the distraction of notifications. Getting outside, observing nature, and just moving your body about is another way to get grounded and appreciate the beauty we sometimes take for granted. Some other ideas include volunteering and helping others, taking the focus off of ourselves and feeling fulfilled and less stressed. We may surprise ourselves and realize the true FOMO was happening while we were ON our phones rather than off.
As a method of continual self-care, we encourage you to take some time to unplug each day, even if it is just for a few hours. Take note of any feelings that may arise, but remember that life is precious, and as Ferris Bueller says in the iconic 1986 film, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."