How To Disconnect – My Methods to Reflect and Recharge

We live in a world of mass communication, “smart” technology, and an abundant amount of information.  From social media to television programming, we’re going to discuss the benefits of disconnecting from technology and enjoying what’s right in front of us: life!

Learning how to disconnect can allow us to be more calm, focused, relaxed, and happy. We can take a break from work, social media, relationships, responsibilities, and expectations, to reflect on what we really need, what is important, and what help us feel good.

How much time would you estimate you spend on social media, watching television and streaming services, and the internet in general?  Do you wish you had more free time to do the things you really enjoy?

What Does it Mean to Disconnect?

To disconnect is to unplug from the television, turn off the smartphone, ignore social media, and be fully present in the moment and life. It means allowing ourselves to be open to what we’re feeling and experiencing right there, without thinking about the past, or planning for the future. We can just let in what is happening and what we’re feeling, right then.

Traveler on the top of a mountain - How To Disconnect - Gone Minimal
Traveler on the top of a mountain

Benefits of Disconnecting

There’s so much on television and social media that we don’t need to see or hear anymore.  When we disconnect from this, we separate ourselves from misinformation as well as things we have no control over. 

It’s important to disconnect to maintain a healthy life balance in an overstimulated world. Whether it be spending time alone, unplugging from technology, or practicing hobbies, disconnecting can help you find peace and recharge to improve happiness and overall well-being.

Let’s look at some benefits of disconnecting:

  • More free time
  • More meaningful connections with those around us
  • Less stress
  • Less comparison to others
  • Reduced loneliness
  • Improved mental health
  • Better focus
  • Improved sleep
  • Decreased fear of missing out
  • Better understanding of what really matters

This isn’t all of the benefits of disconnecting from technology, but it should already give you some good reasons to do it.  All it takes is a bit of discipline and the desire to improve your life.

Things to Disconnect From

How to Disconnect From the Internet and Being Online

We have the world at our fingertips with the great World Wide Web!  It offers you everything you could think of from how you’re brushing your teeth wrong to quizzes to figure out which Game of Thrones character you are.  All of this information All. Of. The. Time.  There should be limits to this!  Start with stepping away from your laptop or desktop and putting down your smartphone.  Step outside and enjoy the fresh air.  

How to Disconnect From Mobile Devices

Put the smartphone down.  Turn off the ringer.  Turn off notifications.  Tell others you’re going to be unavailable for _______ hours or days.  Plug your mobile phone in another room at least an hour before you go to bed.  Don’t go straight for the phone to check your messages the moment you wake up.  Stop playing that game-phones are for communication and not entertainment!

How to Disconnect From Social Media

This is a challenging one these days as there are SO MANY OPTIONS available to us now.  Unless you’re an influencer or employed by a social media company, there’s really no need for you to be on there every hour or even every day.  It’s so easy to waste time on social media with entertaining posts, status updates, photos, and videos about cooking and startling cats. 

Stop concerning yourself with what others are posting-it’s not important right now!  Just like with the internet and being online, step away from the computer and put down your smartphone.  Try using only one device for your social media accounts.  Turn off notifications.  Take a look around you and talk to your family and friends in person!

Woods at sunrise - How To Disconnect - Gone Minimal
Woods at sunrise

How to Disconnect From the Work

For some the workday is Monday through Friday, 8-5.  Disconnecting before and after work is easier because you have to be somewhere at a certain day and time, otherwise your time is yours.  Even then you probably find yourself thinking about work.  Make a conscious effort not to check your work email, don’t talk about work, don’t think about work.  Occupy your mind with something else.

Some have a different work schedule that doesn’t fit the one previously mentioned.  As long as you have somewhere to go for work, you have some ability to disconnect in the physical sense.  You should still not check work email or do anything work related unless you are physically at work.

Working from home is especially challenging because finding that separation is challenging unless you set up actual barriers.  Make an effort to set up an actual home office space and only utilize it during working hours.  

All it takes is a bit of discipline and the desire to improve your life.

How to Disconnect From Everyone Around

Sometimes we just need solitude, so find a way to disconnect from the people around you.  Go for a walk or jog, a long bike ride, or to a scenic spot on your own.  Spend some time with yourself.  Take the time you need to be alone to disconnect and reset.  Let others know you will not be reachable for a period of time and you just need some time alone.  This also allows you the opportunity to get to know yourself better and figure out what makes you happy and fulfilled.  

How to Disconnect From Everything for a While

Sometimes we need a break from everything for a full reset.  This is one reason why we accrue vacation days.  Whether you travel somewhere with your family members or alone, go some place you find relaxing and spend quality time in nature or someplace different.  This will disconnect you from work as long as you stay out of your email.  

Person sitting in the sand - How To Disconnect - Gone Minimal
Person sitting in the sand

Helpful Insights on Disconnecting

How Do I Completely Disconnect?

If you’re a Gen Xer or older, you remember a time when there were no cell phones, no internet, and not everyone had a computer.  It was a much simpler time, wasn’t it?  For younger generations, all you’ve known is technology and internet so it can seem impossible to disconnect. 

Take steps to disconnect from technology, work, and your stressors for thirty minutes a day to start out.  Silence the phone and step away from it.  Close the laptop and walk away.  Turn off the television and go outside.  Do something that makes you happy and helps distract you from your work and online life.

How Do You Unplug Mentally?

There are a few ways to mentally unplug to get a break from all of the stressors of work, life, kids, and technology.  What you may find surprising is that all you really need for a mental unplug and reset is about ten minutes per day.  Here are a few suggestions for a mental break:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Sleep/naps
  • Journaling
  • Read a book
  • Spend time in nature

Try several of these at least a couple of times and see which works best for you.  You may only end up using one or even several, as long as it helps you unplug.

How Do You Disconnect With Someone?

There comes a time when we need to disconnect from people or a certain someone.  This is really challenging, but there are ways to do it.  Start with asking yourself if your expectations are too high.  Why do you want to disconnect with that someone?  Communicate with them about what you’re feeling and if it’s time to go your separate ways.  Utilize boundaries and don’t feel guilty for letting them go.  If they’re not bringing something positive or useful to your life, they’re probably causing you stress.

How Do You Solve a Social Disconnect?

Social media is one of the worst culprits when it comes to social disconnect.  We are presented with images that are edited and enhanced, our friends and even celebrities tend to only share the “good stuff”, and we compare our lives to those of others.  This can lead to some serious disconnect. Lately people seem to be sharing more of the “not so glamorous” and even negative occurrences in their lives, which may help a tiny bit with presenting actual reality. 

However, one of the best ways to solve this disconnect is to take a break.  Step away from social media and mainstream media.  Take a look at your own life and what’s around you.  Know that there’s a higher power at work that brought you to this place, and it’s yours.  Connect with that and your family and friends to strengthen your own social connections.

Person relaxing listening to music - How To Disconnect - Gone Minimal
Person relaxing listening to music

Things to Disconnect From – From Real People

I talked with family and friends, polled them, and learned in what areas of their life they’d prefer to disconnect from. Here is what they shared:

Thing/Activity To Disconnect From# of People that Listed It (out of 10 people)
People in general/Society7
Video games1
Social media/News5
Unreasonable expectations4
Comparisons to others2
Extended family1

We are so connected all of the time it’s no wonder we have stress, illness, and a great desire to disconnect from work and others.  It takes a bit of work and dedication, but we can make the choice to step away from our connected technology. 

Other Resources:

Whether it’s once a week or once a day, disconnecting can help us improve our free time, our sleep quality, and our mental health.  Don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to disconnect?

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