Why Unplug? (The Importance of a Digital Deload Day)

Picture this: you’re sitting on the end of a long pier, the water gently lapping at the wooden supports. Nothing but you and a couple of birds overhead and some fish swimming down below. The warm sun is making you slightly sleepy and you’re blissed out, happy just to breathe and be. No worries, no trouble, no problems. 

And then your phone buzzes. 

Ruins the moment, doesn’t it? The peace and calm evaporates and instead you get your boss or a cat GIF or the 15th notice today from Facebook that someone has made a comment on your post. Fudge.  

You could get mad, or you could cock your arm behind your head, and throw your phone over the water and watch it splash down … and sink. 

Sounds a little bit tempting, right? But then you think about your phone at the bottom of the lake and you know you’d have to get a new phone because—let’s face it—we are all addicted to our mobile devices. We love our phones! And that’s okay. Part of the excitement of living in the digital age is LIVING in the DIGITAL age. Our phones are marvelous little pieces of technology that (despite what the naysayers proclaim) enhance our lives and (often) bring us closer together. It’s okay to love your phone. 

But that doesn’t mean we have to live with our phones (or any technology) 24/7. In fact, have you ever considered living with your phone only 6 days per week?  

(If you just clutched your phone to your chest and yelled, “NO!”, we understand. Some folks aren’t ready for that commitment.)

But think about it: what would it feel like to take a Digital DeLoad Day? What would it feel like to unplug from most of your technology for a day and plug into the people in your life?

  • Immerse yourself in nature
  • Take a walk at the beach
  • Ride your bike in a forest
  • Nap, read, and cook something good and clean and healthy
  • Play an instrument.
  • Dance with the dog. 

It might be weird at first. (And the dog may wonder why you’re dancing with him.) You’ll feel a little jumpy, like you just quit tobacco or alcohol or soda. (The fear of missing out is hard-baked into us at this point.)

But then you’ll ease into the luxurious moments, your mind will relax, and you’ll enter this deeper sense of calm than you previously knew to be possible. And that would be cool, right? At the end of the day, after you’ve detoxed, you can pick up your phone and plug right back in, refreshed and ready to take on the digital world again.  

Because maybe, just like we have rest days in CrossFit, and deload weeks in powerlifting, we need a Digital Deload Day, something to help us to rest and reset our brains and spirits in the same way we rest and reset our bodies. Something to help us remember that we are more than our technology, more than our phones, more than people who download and upload and exceed their monthly bandwidth allotments.  

So, if that’s you, just try this: 

  1. Pick a day (some folks choose Sunday). 
  2. Put your phone in a drawer and don’t touch it for the day. 
  3. If you can’t do a full day, try four hours. If you can’t do four hours, try two. Scale as needed and then work your way into more endurance. (There is no RX!) 
  4. Consider getting out in nature during this time. Somewhere that you won’t miss technology. Go on a hike. Learn to surf. Go spelunking or some other weird-named activity. 

We can love our technology and find different ways to deal with it. Go find yours. 


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