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8 Benefits From A Day Unplugged

In our increasingly digitized world, where screens dominate our waking hours, the idea of unplugging for a day might seem like a daunting challenge. However, the benefits of taking a break from the constant barrage of notifications and digital stimuli are numerous, contributing to both mental and physical well-being.


One of our founders, Tessa Stuckey, was recently challenged to spend a day unplugged and this is her experience.


Tessa Stuckey, Licensed Therapist

“While in deep conversation with a young client about the harms of screens and the benefits of unplugging, I was met with a challenge I couldn’t refuse. My client challenged me to unplug for one hour. I accepted this challenge and upped the ante by offering to go a full day. Together we defined what unplug meant and the boundaries in place: No TV, no social media and to use my phone for call and text only.  My client's goal was to prove how hard it is to live life offline and mine was to prove to her just the opposite.


I was confident this would be an easy feat as I already try to be intentional with my screen use. I was pleasantly surprised with what I learned and found it to be much harder than anticipated.”

1. Creativity Feels Amazing


Unplugging provides an opportunity to engage in offline creative activities. Whether it's drawing, writing, playing a musical instrument, or any other hands-on pursuit, these analog activities can stimulate different parts of the brain and reignite creative sparks.


I am an artistic and creative person.


Growing up I loved to write stories, create plays, make up songs and doodle to express my thoughts and emotions.


While in high school, I found a love for photography and continued that love into adulthood when I had my own photography business while studying through grad school.


I play the piano. I play the ukulele. And I love to sing (even if it’s just in the car during pick up and drop off)


I am an artistic and creative person.


 And I forgot that.


Being forced to not choose my phone at every given moment for one day, I was quickly reminded how it feels to pass the time through creativity and art again.


Now, not everyone is going to unplug and find their inner artist (but how cool would that be?) but with this experience, I realized that my priorities have shifted. There are passions and hobbies that I have pushed aside because I have had too much work to do, or posts to post, or news articles to read. Being forced to unplug opened my eyes and heart for a healthier, creative, and artistic lifestyle that I want more of. Who I was before the world of likes and views is who I want to strive to be.

2. Productivity Went Up


Constant exposure to screens can lead to cognitive fatigue and decreased attention spans. A day without digital distractions allows for mental reset, enhancing clarity and sharpening focus when we return to our screens.


As a mom, I always have tasks and a to-do list. Unplugging helped keep the distraction low so I could knock off my to-do list much quicker and efficiently.


While these tasks weren’t necessarily more enjoyable, I was much more productive, much earlier in the day and was able to have time to do things I actually enjoy, like reading a good book.

3. I Really Loved Disconnecting


Screens bombard us with an overwhelming amount of information, notifications, and stimuli. This constant influx can lead to information overload, hindering creative thinking. Unplugging for a day provides relief from this constant stream, allowing the mind to declutter and focus on creative processes.


It felt like a mini-vacation; one for my mind and soul. Taking a break from all the distractions helped refresh my mind and forced myself to reflect, feel emotions, embrace boredom and truly relax. Who doesn’t need a little vacation from time to time?

4. Everything Will Still Be There...Tomorrow


Screens are often integral to our daily routines, both personal and professional. Breaking away from this routine disrupts the habitual patterns of thinking and encourages a fresh perspective. Creative breakthroughs often emerge when the mind is exposed to new and varied stimuli.


Having my mini vacation taught me that most everything will still be available for me the next day. Rather than wait for my real vacation or a day that I’m sick in bed, I like the idea of setting new boundaries, so I am not feeling the need to work and stay up to date with things all hours of the day.


All the important things (that aren't an emergency) will still be there tomorrow. This has become my new mantra when I am choosing to read or play the piano, rather than scroll Instagram or check my email.

5. New Respect For Intentional Use


Striving for a balanced and healthy relationship with tech, intentional screen use involves being conscious of how, when, and why one interacts with digital tools and devices.


Before this challenge to unplug for a day, I thought I was already pretty intentional with my tech use. In fact, I pride myself on minimal tech use and helping families learn how to live that lifestyle as well. I narrate to my kids the reason I am picking up my phone so I model good tech behavior and communicate with them my purpose, I am not a fan of mindless scrolling and I have pretty good screen time boundaries already set up. 


But what I found on this day was interesting and honestly, a tad embarrassing. I naturally and instinctively reach for my phone for EVERYTHING. I had to check myself constantly all day. If I thought of something important to write down, I grabbed my phone to put it in my notes app. If I needed to look up how to spell something or what a word meant (because I still do that,) I went straight to my phone or computer for google. 


The phone has become such a necessity to many of us for our day-to-day living, we are dependent on it for almost everything. But, is it truly needed? I’d argue that sometimes it is but most of the time, it is not.

6. Anxiety Went Down


Constant connectivity can contribute to heightened stress levels. Unplugging allows for a break from the pressures of emails, social media, and work-related notifications. The absence of these stressors provides a sense of calm and tranquility, promoting overall mental well-being.


Like many humans today, I suffer from anxiety from time to time. And on this day, I had zero. Literally zero. Is it a coincidence? Is it a placebo effect?


Possibly, but I don’t care! It was a dream!


I didn’t feel like I had a million things happening all at once. I wasn’t overstimulated. I was just living and in the moment. I loved it!

7. Better Sleep


Unplugging for a day promotes better sleep quality, as it allows our natural circadian rhythms to function without disruption. Quality sleep, in turn, has a positive impact on overall health and well-being.


Because my anxiety was non-existent and my head was clear from constant thoughts and ideas, I fell asleep like an exhausted toddler who was running around Disneyland all day.


I was able to reflect on my day, feel good about it, and drift to sleep. No looming thoughts or triggers taking over. Anxiety down = good sleep!

8. Being Present Was Extremely Easy


Spending a day without screens encourages face-to-face interactions. Whether it's catching up with friends, spending time with family, or engaging in social activities, unplugging fosters meaningful connections. It allows us to be fully present in the moment, strengthening our relationships and creating lasting memories.


This goes with the anxiety piece but also the lack of tech distraction was a beautiful experience when hanging out with my family that day.


I literally had my phone on silent, tucked away in a drawer in my bedroom so it wasn’t out for me to look at. I was able to laugh, eat and engage in conversations with them as if I was a kid myself.


It was something they even noticed. One of my boys said, “Mom, you’re so relaxed today and you are sitting with us for way longer than usual! Aren’t you going to tell us to go get our stuff done?”


When he said that to me, I agreed and realized that being present is much more important than anything that could possibly be popping up on my phone.


*It reminds me of the Favorite Memory Exercise I do with clients and parents at presentations.

(LookUp with share this exercise soon!)

In a world dominated by technology, intentionally unplugging for a day can be a transformative experience. The benefits extend beyond the immediate break from screens, positively impacting mental clarity, sleep, relationships, productivity, and stress levels. 


Embracing the occasional digital detox can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life in our hyper-connected age for you and your family. So, go ahead, unplug and LookUp, and discover the liberating power of a day without screens!


*National Unplug Day is Friday March 1st

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