Taking a Technology Break – Guest Post
Teachers are highly wired professionals. Technology is a huge part of our job. We have to answer e-mails from students, teachers, parents and administrators, input grades and attendance in programs like gradebook and blackboard, update our class blogs, plan with and incorporate educational technology into our daily teaching. Then when we get home, we’re on facebook, we write personal e-mails, and we read our favorite education blogs. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it.
In a technologically driven profession like teaching, an intentional technology break is essential. If we don’t make the break intentional, we’ll default to checking facebook or e-mails when we have any downtime. We know that even when we take a walk there’s the danger of looking down at our smartphones or listening to our mp3 player instead of looking up at the sky and listening to the sounds of nature.
The technology break has to be intentional so that our minds can rest. Glenn Gould had a theory. He said that for x amount of hours he spent with people he would have to spend x amount of hours alone. I would say the same about technology. For x amount of hours you spend on your laptop you have to spend x amount of hours with human beings or by yourself apart from technology.
Here are four suggestions to build a peaceful mind on your technology break:
- Sit or lie down and let your mind wander. Get into a technology-free place (not at your computer desk), and let your mind go where it pleases. Don’t stop it, but notice it and let it go. Notice what you notice. Catch yourself thinking.
- Breathe. I learned this technique as a teenager from Dr. Weil. He calls it the 4-7-8. I practice this a little before bedtime as it is a relaxing exercise. It’s easy and it works:
· Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
· Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
· Hold your breath for a count of seven.
· Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
· This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
- Red tea. I discovered red tea (a.k.a. rooibos) when I was looking for a salubrious decaffeinated tea. I drink this at night. According to South African Rooibos Council, red tea’s chemical properties may help alleviate digestive problems, allergies, and anxiety.
- Walk. Take a technology-free walk. Walk with another beloved human or a pet. Leave everything else at home. Notice what you notice.
Now it’s your turn. How do you spend your technology break? What suggestions do you have for those of us who can’t pull ourselves away from a screen of some sort?