How to take an effective tech break

Long gone are the days where you could go hours during the workday without looking at a screen. Especially with the pandemic, screens have been necessary for socializing, working, and even receiving various services like doctors and counseling appointments. Americans spend on average 8.6 hours a day interacting with technology; that’s the equivalent of over 50% of our waking hours. A large number of us check our email or social media first thing in the morning, keep our phones within arms reach all day, and work long hours into the night because it’s hard to “turn off.”

Tech breaks are more important than ever to pursue balance and wellbeing in our lives. Signs you might need a tech break might be headaches, poor sleep, or even having FOMO (fear of missing out). We build our own Catch-22 trap when our FOMO breeds an incessant need to stay up-to-date on our peers’ social lives, which only leads to further comparison and thus, more gripping FOMO. These should all be warning signs to take a break. We recognize that stepping away from your work screen for a “break” often leads to another screen — your phone. Instead, try these tech-free breaks and challenge yourself to set all devices out of arm’s reach for an actual break.

Try a walking meeting
Take advantage of the summer weather and get outside! Walking burns calories, strengthens muscles, and can give you an energy boost to get you through the rest of the day. If you can’t write down notes, try recording the conversation or even permit yourself to let the meeting be more relaxed. Your mind and body will thank you for the reprieve.

Enjoy a device-free lunch
We can find community in our co-workers, especially if we invest time in them. No one understands your job or your workplace culture as much as they do. Try to sit down with someone even just once a week for lunch; if you’re remote, try calling a friend while you’re eating lunch or meeting up with a neighbor or friend who also works from home.

Create no-screen spaces
Whether you are at home or in the office, creating spaces in your life where devices don’t go is important. Here’s an easy one — the bathroom. I know you’re guilty of it. Instead, try to enjoy the quietness, and take a moment to feel the warm water, smell the soap, and reset your mind. If there isn’t a conducive tech-free space at work, use your drive home as a time to unplug. At home, create a screen-free zone in your bedroom by placing your phone in airplane mode or keep it out of your room all together.

Spend bedtime and mornings without a screen
Most of us have heard the effects of blue light on our circadian rhythm, but we usually ignore it. Instead of touching your phone as the last thing you do at night and the first thing in the morning, try creating a routine without it. Read a book at night, spend time with your partner, or journal. In the morning, make your favorite warm coffee, read, take a hot shower, or sit outside and listen to the birds. These things will provide more peace at night and create a mental state that will set you off on the right foot for the day.

Boundaries with technology undoubtedly benefit our emotional and mental health.e owe it to ourselves to discover more ways to foster supportive habits. While technology is a hassle free way to connect, it will eventually wear down on your health. We hope you try to implement at least one of these TECHniques to feel more in control of your screen time and benefit emotionally and mentally along the way.

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