Why You Need to Unplug Sometimes, and How to Do It
Online students spend a lot of time using electronic devices. Many of them have a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone by their side most of the day. While it’s important to stay connected to school, it’s just as important to unplug sometimes and take time for introspection. Here are seven tips for reducing the impact of technology on your life, each day and once a year.
Daily stress relief
1. Reduce eye strain - Run the Twilight app on your phone to automatically shift your screen toward the red side of the light spectrum when the sun sets. There’s a similar app for your laptop and tablet. This change helps your eyes adjust to the darkness outside and blocks the blinding white light coming from the monitor. There are many benefits to implementing a gradual redshift on your displays.
2. Limit email - Stop checking email all day, every day. Instead, trim down your email habit to check only once or twice a day. There are few things so urgent that cannot wait for your regular email check tomorrow.
3. 30-minute stretch - Every half hour, you need to take a break and stretch. Set a timer if you’re prone to forgetting your breaks.
4. Two-hour breaks - Just like the 30-minute stretches, you also need to move away from your computer every two hours. Take 10 minutes and walk around your home or office, do some stretches or yoga, and reconnect with your mind and body. You’ll find it easier to focus and complete your work after these breaks.
5. Define your time - As a student at an online university, you may find that assignments take up a lot of your free time. Without the rigorous schedule of a traditional university, you must set up your own time constraints. If you don’t set boundaries, the tasks you do will take longer and fill any time you’ve allotted. Avoiding this problem is as simple as specifying the time you will spend on school activities and the time you will spend with friends and family – away from the computer.
Disconnect once a year
1. Get outside – At least once a year, spend some time outdoors, at the beach, or out in the woods to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. Sometimes this outing is a quick weekend trip, and other times you could spend a week at a national park. Such vacations may seem like a luxury, but they’re essential to your health and wellbeing.
2. Travel - A more expensive, but more radical way to disconnect from the world for a while is with long distance travel, a road trip, or a cruise. While you’re on a ship, there’s little cellphone or internet access. Technically, you could pay for access, but that’s very expensive. Instead, you could go abroad or use a cruise as a great way to tell friends, family, and clients that you will be off the network for several days.
Of course, how you unplug is really up to you. Try a few of these suggestions, give yourself a break, and restore your mental balance. You’ll be a better student, and you’ll enjoy life more!
Written by Ashford University staff