Can Taking a Break From Tech Reduce My Fatigue?

Can Taking a Break From Tech Reduce My Fatigue?
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What would happen if you switched off all of your devices for a day?

Phones, tablets, laptops, TVs — all of them switched off. Could you do it? How would it feel? What would you do instead?

My husband suggested we try a tech-free Saturday a few weeks ago.

We all suspect our phones are bad for our brains, which probably doesn’t help our MS symptoms. So, I decided to give it a try, and we had our first “tech-free Saturday,” with the mission of taking back control in a chaotic world. 

Tip: It helps if your entire household agrees to do this, otherwise it can become distracting and pointless to do it alone. 

On Friday night, we notified our families, switched off our phones, and put our tablets out of sight and our laptops in their bags. We put all of our devices in a cupboard out of the way. Out of sight, out of mind! 

What happened next was interesting. 

On Saturday morning, I woke up and realized my phone wasn’t in its normal charging port downstairs. I tried to figure out what was next. I’m the type of person who likes to wake up to a plan, and I purposely didn’t make one this time.   

At first, I had no idea what to do with myself. It was super weird. We rely on our devices so much — far more than we realize. 

My regular Saturday morning consists of a 15-30 minute yoga session at my favorite channel, “Yoga with Adriene.” Then, after making a decaf tea, I snuggle up on the sofa and watch a food program or an episode of “Modern Family” on Netflix. 

After that, I’d probably find a recipe online and bake something. Spotify usually plays from my laptop all day, as we don’t have a TV. I’ll draw, sleep, and walk my dog. (I do this alone, because my husband usually is busy doing something else.) Throughout the day, I’d be Googling every question that pops into my head, such as, “Do dogs feel the cold?” “What language is spoken in Brazil?” or “How do I make a gypsy cake?” 

I knew I couldn’t search for recipes online on a tech-free day, so I opened one of my gazillion recipe books.

I’d also ordered a new self-help book: “You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, which is a great book. I was ready. 

Rather than turning on a radio that plays news every hour (which I find irritating, as I don’t listen to the news), I dusted off our jukebox CD player and started working through all of our old CDs from when we were teenagers. We even played our collection of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll CDs that we bought at some long-gone January sale.  

I picked up my new book and read it for a couple of hours. I drew for the next couple of hours. When my husband finally woke up, we sat and spoke to each other, played random board games, and reminisced about the memories the music prompted. Our dog, Lucy, got a long walk with both of us (because there wasn’t much else to do, and it was a beautiful day). We played with her more, too. 

Our ideas started flowing. My husband wrote out several frameworks for his business, and I had many ideas for illustrations. 

By the end of the day, I felt so energetic that I didn’t want the day to end. Maybe my phone was causing me more fatigue than I realized

Being unreachable for 24 hours was a weird kind of freedom. I know it’s not for everyone, and some people need that interaction. For me, though, it worked brilliantly to have a break for just one day. 

Waking up on Sunday morning knowing that the tech-free day was over, I felt hesitant to use my devices again. I didn’t want technology to suck me back in. 

I enjoyed feeling so much freedom for 24 hours. We’ve decided to do it every week in our house now. We get a special dinner as a treat, and spend time together as a family playing games, listening to music, and thinking up crazy ideas. 

Tech-free Saturdays are now our go-to thing for the end of 2020. 

One important note: Make sure to tell those close to you about your tech-free day before you do it, so that they don’t think something has happened to you! 

Our experience was like the ultimate self-care activity. I recommend challenging yourself by giving it a try. See if you can do it, and see how it affects your energy levels. 

Do you dare to try out a tech-free Saturday to see what happens? 

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jessie is the host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast and author of the “ENabled Warriors Symptom Tracker” book. She’s also an illustrator working with MS charities and magazines worldwide. She’s interviewed paralympians, radio DJs, chronic illness bloggers, marathon runners, and more. Jessie, based in the U.K., was diagnosed with MS at 22 years old and was told by a doctor to “go home and Google it” to find out what MS was for herself. Her own experience of being newly diagnosed so young was negative and scary, so she fills the internet with positivity for other anxious MS Googlers to stumble upon.
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Jessie is the host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast and author of the “ENabled Warriors Symptom Tracker” book. She’s also an illustrator working with MS charities and magazines worldwide. She’s interviewed paralympians, radio DJs, chronic illness bloggers, marathon runners, and more. Jessie, based in the U.K., was diagnosed with MS at 22 years old and was told by a doctor to “go home and Google it” to find out what MS was for herself. Her own experience of being newly diagnosed so young was negative and scary, so she fills the internet with positivity for other anxious MS Googlers to stumble upon.

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