Spending an Hour Without Devices Is Awesome!

An Hour Without Devices
16 May

Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank

Recently, I decided to do something new on the WriterSanctuary YouTube channel. As a group, we are using “Find Your Calm” cards to combat anxiety. And this week was all about spending at least an hour per day without using various devices.

So far, it has been quite a liberating experience in a variety of ways. In fact, I’ve found it much easier to sleep at night and it has helped me de-stress a bit throughout the day.

Why Spend an Hour Away from Devices?

in a world where we are connected in a plethora of ways, it’s hard to step away from technology. Computers, smart TVs, phones, and more saturate our lifestyle today.

Yet, it’s important that we take a few moments for ourselves to be human. I suspect it’s much easier for those of us who are over the age of 40. Most of us grew up without technology being at our fingertips.

Many didn’t have the money for some of the more grandiose tech of the era. Hell, I remember when the first 42″ widescreen TVs were upwards of $14,000!

Negative Side Effects of Too Much Screen Time

A lot of studies lately have been pointing out the negative effects of staring too often into a screen. And while most of it is more mental, there are some physical side effects as well.

For example, too much screen time can lead to sleep deprivation, weight gain, reduced cognitive function, and a variety of health conditions.

How is weight gain linked to too much screen time? Actually, it’s more of a byproduct. When you’re glued to computers, game consoles, televisions, and even your phone, you’re less physically active.

Well, that really depends on the tech. After all, I get a great cardio workout playing the Xbox Kinect. Still, how often are you jogging while looking at Twitter on your phone at the same time?

Social Media Leads to Stress, Anxiety, and Depression?

Social media has been gaining all kinds of flack lately due to the studies showing how it can negatively impact your mindset. And although some platforms are trying new things to reduce this impact, it’s still an ever-growing problem.

I know several people who have quit social media altogether because it is somewhat of a cesspool and dialed up their anxieties to eleven.

Studies often show how social media is linked to depression as well as a variety of other mental issues. This is especially a problem for the younger users who have the misconception that likes equate to self-worth.

This is partly why I don’t even bother looking at how many people follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. I could care less, to be honest. I just interact, share what I want, and move on.

But I can tell you, spending an hour away from those devices and social sites has made a huge impact over the past week.

How Did I Spend an Hour Without My Devices Every Day?

With how integrated I am with technology, it’s often difficult to get more than 10 feet away from one device only to have another readily available. One thing that makes it exceptionally difficult is being a freelance writer working from home.

Everyone has instant access to me.

However, making a conscious effort to have “you” time is worth every minute.

As I said, though, I think Generation X and older has a much easier time spending an hour away from various devices. That’s because we didn’t have all of the tech that’s available today.

If we wanted to be social, we hung out at the mall, swimming pool, movie theater, or Denny’s parking lot.

Reading a Book for an Hour Without Devices

Yes, this means reading a real paperback or hardcover book. Using an eReader or your phone kind of defeats the purpose of getting away from tech.

I tried quite often this week to read a book. The biggest problem is being able to read the print itself. I am in dire need of new glasses, and trying to read a book puts a hell of a strain on my eyes.

I can get through a few pages, but am unable to go the entire hour.

Reading is probably something I’m going to keep around, though. It’s nice to lay back in bed for an hour with my cup of Sleepytime Tea and enjoy printed works. Well, after I get new glasses, anyway.

Relaxing in the Backyard

One of my favorite pastimes is hanging out in the backyard at around dusk with a nice glass of wine. I haven’t lit the firepit this season yet, but it’s definitely on my list.

This is among the many reasons why I prefer living in a house rather than an apartment. Sure, I was able to sit on the small patio on the third floor. But it’s nothing like being able to bust out the golf clubs and practice chipping from 20 yards out in the yard.

Or, I can lay a blanket out in the yard and stare up at the night sky for hours on end.

Practice Chipping

So, unless you’re a golfer, this one probably isn’t for you. But I have a Callaway foam ball practice set for chipping. This is something else I can spend a great deal of time doing as I enjoy golf and honing my skill.

Although this particular set comes with three foam balls, I did go out to Walmart and buy an entire bucket. I can chip to my heart’s content.

The cool thing about using the foam balls to practice chipping is that I can do this inside or out. Though, there is a bit of risk when chipping a foam ball in your living room…which is why I do it down the hallway.

In any case, golf is something I do to unwind and relax in the first place. So, being able to do this at home is something I quite enjoy.

Otherwise, it’s nice to head out to the golf course. Besides, I’ve found that I can easily burn through a few calories by going to the driving range.

But like I said, it’s something you probably won’t appreciate as much if you’re not interested in golf.

Cleaning House

One of the easiest ways to spend an hour away from your devices is by cleaning the house. If you really dive into the activity, time just melts away quicker than you realize.

Normally, I’ll try to squirrel away 20 solid minutes of vigorous cleaning just as a workout. You can burn quite a few calories when you’re moving as fast as you can while cleaning.

So, not only am I working towards enjoying a clean home, but I’m also burning calories to lose weight. That’s because I gamify cleaning and see if I can break personal records for my average heart rate.

Yes, I am a dork with a spreadsheet and keep track of this kind of data. How else would I know that vigorously cleaning the kitchen burns more calories in 20 minutes than a good walk around the neighborhood?

An Hour of Yard Work Without Devices

Every year, I grow pumpkins for Halloween. So, it’s quite easy to melt an hour in the garden. I’m also working on snow peas, blueberries, and herbs. Not to mention caring for the small apple trees I just planted.

I guess a lot of this has to do with how I was raised. I spent a great deal of time in Grandma’s garden and greenhouse. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing, and using fresh basil in turkey noodle soup in winter is amazing!

Currently, the battery for my lawnmower is charging. And when it’s done, I’ll attack my hard and mulch it down. Though, I think you get more interested in yard work when you start getting older.

I don’t remember having this much fun mowing the lawn when I was 12. Then again, I didn’t have an electric mower that could puree a brick back then.

Going for a Nice Evening Walk

Lastly, and perhaps one of the easiest that anyone can do, is going for a nice evening walk around the neighborhood. For me, this often includes a trip to the nearby lake.

Walking is a great method for getting a bit of cardio. So, not only are you working on your mental health by spending an hour away from your devices, but you’re also improving your cardiovascular system and burning fat.

In fact, walking is how I lost a very large portion of my weight thus far. Between walking and playing the Kinect, I’ve lost 80 pounds.

It’s All About Caring for Your Mental Health

The bottom line is that science shows how technology can interfere with our mental health. Sometimes it’s nice to just step away and enjoy the world around you.

Because it’s had such a positive impact on my daily routine, this is one that I’m probably going to keep doing. It made a massive difference stepping away from work, social media, and creating content.

You gotta take time for yourself.

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